"LIVIN' LIFE AT THE UN PLAZA" LIFE AT THE "UNITED NATIONS PLAZA" BY LESLIE SIEGEL!
UNITED NATIONS PLAZA "LIVIN' LIFE AT THE UN PLAZA" LESLIE SIEGEL NOVELIST LESLIE SIEGEL WROTE LIVIN' AT THE UN PLAZA ABOUT LIFE AT THE UNITED NATIONS PLAZA WHERE THE OSBERG FAMILY LIVED AT THE UN PLAZA IN NEW YORK CITY DURING THE 60's & 70's! LESLIE SIEGEL WRITES ABOUT THE UN PLAZA THE MANY CHILDHOOD ADVENTURES THERE with Johnny Carson, his wife Joanne Carson, Cliff Robertson and his wife Dina Merrill, Robert F. Kennedy & Ethel, & Truman Capote!
"LIVIN' LIFE AT THE UN PLAZA" LIFE AT THE UNITED NATIONS PLAZA AS A KID BY LESLIE SIEGEL NOVELIST!
"LIVIN' LIFE AT THE UN PLAZA" TRUE LIFE NOVEL BY NOVELIST LESLIE SIEGEL! THE OSBERG FAMILY LIVED AT THE UN PLAZA IN NEW YORK CITY DURING THE 60's & 70's! LIVIN' AT THE UN PLAZA IS ABOUT THE OSBERG FAMILY WHO LIVED AT THE UN PLAZA & WHOSE KIDS ROY, RICHARD, ELIZA AND GLINDA HAD MANY CHILDHOOD ADVENTURES IN NEW YORK CITY SIEGEL LIVED WITH Johnny Carson his wife Joanne Carson Cliff Robertson Robert F. Kennedy Truman Capote and many more celebrity types who visited the Osbergs through the years!
ANOTHER CHILDHOOD UN PLAZA RESIDENT "LIVIN' LIFE AT THE UN PLAZA"
My claim to fame at the UN Plaza when my family lived there in the 1960's was that I had a big spotlight and used to shine it at the tugboats on the East River. One of my neighbors on the 23rd floor was Walter Wriston, recently passed away, was a very famous banker, head of Citicorp. There was Mr. Cummings (changed his name to be waspy) had a bunch of kids at Harvard, 25th floor. Up on the top we had Fleichmann family, very nice people they owned Kennedy Galleries on 57 Street, maybe they still do. In West Tower did you know Mitzi Lynn and Laura Lynn went to Dalton. Ricardo (Ricky) Silberblatt? Think he went to Columbia Grammer. In my tower, we had Jeannie MacAllister not sure where she went to school I want to say Spence. Nobody in that place went to PS 59! In the garage, I remember Levi- had a Jamaican accent, Smitty (the boss) and Steve (tall guy). When Smitty went on vacation, it got a little sloppy down there, as I had some busted tail lights on my 1971 Grand Prix as
evidence. Peter Kalikow (construction family, now runs transit in NY) had five
cars, including a Ferrari got hit by a cab first and only time he took it out.
I got going a little bit here, I guess procrastinating from other stuff. In West Tower, there was a girl Jennifer? And Peggy Kahn, I am pretty sure she went to Columbia. Then there was Todd Schneider and twin sister Beth! Wilder family? They had kids they had a duplex up on 37 or 38 in West Tower. Remember David Susskind- the original talk show host, back in the 1960s, very erudite and Harvard educated? He was on 37/38 and he had a son- Andy Susskind who I think went to prep school someplace up in New England. In East Tower (870), we had Dr Jarecki up on the top, he was a shrink with a Kissinger like accent who was the Chairman of big commodities outfit Mocatta Metals. He drove a littel two seater Mercedes with wreckless (sp?) abandon. Then we had two twins Shelly and Robin Platzer a little older than me, their dad was a big wheel in the diamond business. Do you remember the super, Mr. Titland? (what a name, I could not make it up, not sure if he was just East Tower or both towers). He did have a daughter- poor girl ( I mean with that last name!) who went to PS 59 amazingly.
Your Novel is like the "Nanny Diaries" and the other was straightening out their real estate guy explaining that Johnny Carson lived in 860, Truman Capote was in 870Bobby Kennedy was in 870. OK, enough of this stuff. I am very excited about your book, partly for my own nostalgia, connecting with the past, etc etc and also for my Dad-who will just love this stuff even if you changed the names of some of the people. When I am visiting in Florida my Dad wants to just reminisce and the book will absolutely make his day. I have to tell you, the summer of 1977 they had a bad blackout, I was home-people got really out of control and at that time I realized that in spite of all the veneer, the human instincts were the same as everyone else. My parents sold the apartment that Autumn.
I am seriously procrastinating on my very boring work (number crunching
of exceedingly esoteric financial calculations). It is absolutely unbelievable that we are dialoguing about all these insane people of my past life at the UN Plaza when I was a kid. My experience with Cliff Robertson was that there was some kind of a
strike, maybe summer of 1975 or 1976, and we had apartment owners manning the front desk. So guess who the lucky person was who answered his drunken request for "where are my flowers, I ordered goddam' flowers?". Dina Merrill during the same episode was ordering coffee for all the volunteers. Cummings whom I mentioned, OK guy but sometimes a little obsessed with keeping the place running- I think he was Pres of the co op owners association, was getting very hyper trying to organize the service elevator to go from here to there and I think some key was required that he obviously didn't have.
One other person had play dates too. You had more playdates with people in the building than me. I had one friend in your tower named Stig, tall Nordic accent, sort of Eurotrash before the word existed. Back in those days, HBO was just starting. The East Tower (870) was a test case, so the people who least needed a handout in the whole planet got free HBO while they got the kinks out of the technology! I think because there was a good antenna angle from the Empire State Building (WTC antenna not yet erected) to the top of the building. So, then around 1970 the Knicks made the playoffs and Stig was a big fan. So Stig used to come over and we'd watch BBall on free TV and drink beers that I bought from Beekman Deli, on First Avenue at 50th - 51st Street. In Beekman Place, across the street, there were some wild people also, but we'll save that one. OK- rates beckon. I think it is fabulous that you are writing the book. WOW, it brought me right up! Continuing with book!
HERE IS THE NOVEL "LIVIN' AT THE UN PLAZA"
LIVIN’ AT THE UN PLAZA
LIFE AT THE UNITED NATIONS PLAZA
1966 – 1976
By: Leslie K. Siegel
It was 6:00 p.m. as the Bill-Dave youth center van drove down FDR Drive. Eliza, her sister Glinda and Brother Richard sat in the back seat. It was winter and as they zipped in and out of lanes. Eliza’s eyes were going snow blind and bugging out from all the white snow whizzing by out the window as the green van sped by huge piles along the curbs and streets New York City.
They’d been in Central Park all day, after school. Eliza’s fingers were dirty and just now thawing out from the afternoon’s activities in the park. Lenny, the obnoxious but experienced driver was constantly gunning the engine and making them lurch forward along with 10 other kids riding in it too. Some of the ‘diehards’ enjoyed the rumpus ride comparing it to a rollercoaster, but Eliza hated it and it showed on her pale face.
Eliza was fighting car sickness and tried to put the first memory of throwing up out of her brain. Eliza was a 1 year old fussy baby in her crib! Someone was teasing her and shaking the contraption and the 10 year old still recalled the fuzzy memory of being on all fours vomiting. She even remembered what it looked like ... baby food, vegetables mixed with formula clumps, Oy Vey!
“Are you going to get sick again?” asked a cute pixy looking black girl sitting a few seats away from Eliza.
“I don’t know Sheri.” Eliza turned to Lenny. “Can you slow down?”
Lenny quickly gunned the engine again and imitated Eliza… “Can you slow down….Oh, no, boo-hoo, boo-hoo!”
“Stop it Lenny!”
As they teased poor Eliza, another memory took hold in the cute little girl's sharp mind. It was of her father placing her on an amusement park ride between her 2 brothers. The ride had been a terror, traumatizing the 3 year old, but she had said to her father that she wanted to ride with her brothers so her dad obliged her against the wishes of their mother Lena. The ride had only aggravated the car sickness mode Eliza would fall into when riding in a bus, car or even a park ride.
“Are you going to get sick Eliza?” he asked using a little girl’s voice as the trickster guy weaved in and out of New York traffic erratically with one hand on the wheel. He really was a very good driver and had his license since he was 12 and he knew he had full control of the van. It just was so easy and tempting to tease poor Eliza.
“She’s going to be sick, she’s gonna’ lose her cookies,” said another little boy riding in front, a good looking imp of a rascal named Cyrus. Everyone took his cue and began mimicking Eliza. Even the usually quiet Gaby and her little pudgy fat sister Lauren who was always sucking her thumb were a bit hyper too.
“Eliza’s gonna’ get sick, she’s gonna loose her cookies!” They made it into a chant and kept it up, a sing along like ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’.
Glinda felt sorry for her older sister and seemed to bare the ride fine and same with the shy and quiet Richard. “Why don’t you leave her alone!” she yelled at the kids, but to no avail, the banter went as they sped up 2nd Avenue, Lenny gunning the engine.
At that moment Eliza wished she could be her older brother Roy who didn’t go to the youth center because he was at a different school and therefore on a different schedule than the other 3 Osberg kids, so he was spared the rough ride home back to the UN Plaza.
The second oldest Richard was introverted, shy and remote and didn’t say much due to a slight stuttering problem mixed with an overbearing mother with good intentions, of course, but sometimes the way Lena doted on the boy could have contributed to his quiet nature as well. He actually had an afro, his brown hair frizzed out like Don King. He even had a large afro comb black kids at their school used to "pick" their hair and it was sticking out of Rich's back pocket like a wallet. A few children in back whispered about it and were kicking the seat. Rich ignored them and pretended to be somewhere else looking out the little windows of the rickety van.
It wasn’t all negative like this, and Eliza knew more positives than negatives in her 10 years! All the Osberg children did! Sometimes, if not most times, their lives were a picnic filled with fun, surprises, fine arts and candy! That’s why Eliza couldn’t wait to get home to their apartment at the UN Plaza where they’d lived for just over a year.
But to the Eliza and her Osberg siblings the UN Plaza was this huge playground of sparkling crystal and glass. The revolving door was their merry-go-round, the elevators were fun rides at Disney; the hallways were bowling alleys and the children were gaining quite a reputation for themselves in the year they’d lived there. Other tenants constantly complained about their noise and uproar, their conduct and rabble rousing antics through the cavernous lobby. Usually it was Eliza instigating it in some form! People got used to it and conditioned to it and Eliza was sometimes blamed even if it was some other kid.
Lenny spoke up trying to get Eliza’s mind off the ‘an up-chuck’. “Are there really 6 bathrooms in your apartment?” He smiled at her, his big white teeth glowing slightly in the waning light of the day. He wasn’t a bad looking guy, but he had a rough, kidding side that sometimes showed his Irish roots. It was a bit much, but always at the end, he stopped and gave the ‘sorry speech’
“You kids know I’m only kidding around with you,” but sometimes he would take it too far, too rough and tumble; pushing it just a little too much, just enough! There was something about Eliza that made Lenny want to speed up and make her feel off balanced. It was just Eliza’s personality, which was a bit hyper, yet inquisitive and bold even when she was quiet and subdued. Even when the girl was calm, her silence burst in the air like fireworks! "...just the... What was that word Lenny was looking for that he’d heard at a James Taylor concert in Westbury, NY last month … 'the vibe', yes, that was it."
“Yes, and 4 bedrooms,” said Glinda proudly.
“Sounds nice and roomy with all those rooms,” said Lenny in his calm voice!
"I guess so," said Eliza, looking down at her penny loafers. Lenny wasn’t so bad when he wasn't pissed off. All she could think of was a nice hot bath in their nice bathroom up on the 23rd floor of the UN Plaza.
"Hey, it's not easy making you kids obey even though deep down inside I care about this job and all of you kids," said the usually joking Lenny. He wanted them to learn and he wanted to teach them, but the man could be a bit gruff.
“Yea, and we have a den, living room, even a maid’s quarters, kitchen and dining room,” bragged Glinda, seeming to be the spokesperson for the Osberg kids at the UN Plaza.
“Hmmm, the whole nine yards I would say!” Len drove onward into the city.
Now everybody was making fun of Eliza. Then Lenny felt he had to take control, “… and who knew, maybe the kid would complain and he’d lose his job!” He looked out the side of his light brown eyes and saw tears rolling down the curly-headed tomboy’s face. He didn’t want her to think he cared and was a ‘tough love’ sort of counselor even at Camp Wineko where he was during the summer.
“Hey,” he said as they approached some traffic as he turned and put his large hands gently on Eliza’s curly mass of curls as he was prone to do. He had to slow down. “Eliza, come up front okay?” He had second thoughts about teasing her when he realized she might even vomit in the back and he didn’t want to spend his Friday evening cleaning the van. He also began joking with the other children trying to get their minds off Eliza. But now that everyone was quiet in the van at the traffic stop Lenny could still hear the chanting in his ears.
Right in the slightly wet street Lenny opened his door, came around to the side hatch and opened it for Eliza. For an instant, due to Eliza’s fear of the heavy traffic, her adrenaline pumped up, the nauseous feeling was dissipating for the moment. “I can walk from here,” said Eliza, knowing she could if he’d let her.
“Right, sure, sorry Kiddo, no dice.” He pointed to the van.
As Lenny made sure she was secured in the front seat, Eliza remembered a few months back the kids had riled Lenny up so badly and he really had gotten very angry, that the driver actually pulled over way up on 3rd Avenue and 99th Street and got out of the running van and left them sitting there. Everyone was quiet for about 3 minutes and just about the moment Glinda was about to lose her little mind, thinking they’d been abandoned and she’d never see her mother again, Lenny appeared and got back in the van and slammed the door hard. No one dared question him and for the rest of the ride no one said a word.
This time other kids complained – “Why does she get to ride in front?”
“Because I said so,” barked Lenny to all the kids in general. “Besides, I can keep my eye on her and if she loses her cookies, I can roll down the window faster.” Everyone agreed with a nod.
They drove further into the city and dropped off kids at some very ritzy New York City addresses – The Excelsior, The Pierre Hotel, The St. Regis and even the Waldorf Astoria where Lenny dropped off twin siblings Gordon and Gwynne and Jamie and Mary respectively.
Lenny knew that living at the UN Plaza was very exciting and upbeat with gleaming black limos, fancily dressed doormen, immaculate elevator men, glittering celebrities and foreign dignitaries milling around the lobby and grounds, which were sprawling and elegant. He always hoped to see some of the ‘Well knowns’ who lived there; Johnny Carson and his wife Joanna Carson, and even famed “In Cold Blood” author Truman Capote roamed around. The distinguished and dapper Robert F. Kennedy with wife Ethel and their 9 children lived there too! That must be interesting. Eliza told Lenny once that the Senator had spoken to her once or twice, even joked with her for a split second before he was whisked away by men in black coats and ear phones and she was gently pushed aside by security and a report was made that she’d spoken directly to Kennedy, whatever that meant!
“It means you’re in deep trouble,” joked Lenny, as usual. But he sounded so serious even with his jovial clown-like features plastered to his face. In the end, Eliza waited for the cops to come and get her, but they didn’t.
Eliza was quiet and trying to fight her growing restlessness and nausea. She couldn’t wait to get home and away from the van and cold air and smelly odors of the city as twilight settled in and the air got nippy.
Suddenly Eliza started to talk to Lenny, and it helped her growing woozy feelings. "You know, we live on the 23rd floor of the UN Plaza!
Lenny took on an old Jewish woman's voice. "Yes, that's where Eliza Osberg and her family live.
The tomboyish oldest daughter sat in the van trying to transport herself to her bedroom she shared with her 8 year old sister Glinda.
"You should see the window view we have. It's a full length directly out into the General Assembly Room at the United Nations Building," bragged Eliza for the first time.
"Hmmmmm. Nice," said Lenny trying to imagine it all.
"And it's very warm and cozy!"
"Lots of rooms with white walls and interesting paintings and drawings and we draw our own stuff too. My daddy said one of the paintings on our wall in our room is called ‘Hands meet with flowers’ and it's neat," said Glinda.
"I'll bet it's a nice room done up in expensive wall paper," wondered Lenny.
"Yes, a lush, deep orange wall to wall rug," said Eliza.
Their beds were side by side and sometimes they would make a tent out of the bed spreads and sleep in it with Rich. It was great fun and they had flashlights. It was such a relaxing bedroom.
The van continued riding through the city, Lenny even allowing Eliza to crack the window for air even though it was very chilly out. He was tired of maneuvering the van through some of the worse traffic in weeks due to the snow that seemed to come from nowhere and dumped a good 2 feet on the city. He wanted to get home and wished everyone everyone out of his van so he could zoom lightning fast to that same old familiar 2 room squalor apartment in Brooklyn to relax and have a cold beer and watch the tube. He switched on the radio. A scratchy barely audible version of the the song “Lion Sleeps Tonight” droned on, “…In the jungle, the mighty lion, the mighty Lion sleeps tonight!” That song always calmed Eliza’s spirit and made her think of the outdoors and fresh air.
It was obvious Lenny was really getting a bit sloppy in dropping off all these sassy rich kids but he’d usually saved the Osberg children for last. It was fun driving into the UN Plaza and watching the doorman scurrying about. He knew one day he’d spot Johnny Carson or some other movie celebrity passing by his van.
“Are there really 4 bedrooms up there?” asked Lenny, although he already knew from what other people told him.
“Yes, and a lot more, we even have a hiding place behind the wall in the den, and no grown ups can fit in there only us kids, so it’s like a club house,” said Eliza, for once proud of it.
Lenny nodded with interest.
The UN Plaza Apartments were laid out in two sections – East Tower and West Tower. A red velvet lobby with crystal chandeliers, marble tables and floors was only scratching the surface of this residential opulence. It was, in Eliza’s Osberg’s opinion, “humongous”! 38 floors with each hallway on each floor decorated differently.
Lenny felt just a bit empowered as they finally drove down the driveway of the large apartment buildings although his stomach always seemed to flutter and that was unsettling sometimes for him.
By this time, there was a slight drizzle and the doorman was bundled up like a World War II soldier with gold tassels on either side of his shoulders of the dark blue jacket, and plastic around his doorman’s cap. His nose was red and when Eliza got out of the smelly van, she got a whiff of Sam the Doorman’s odor which was a pleasant smell of winter snow, expensive tobacco, jacket and cologne. Fog was coming out of his mouth as he hailed a cab. Eliza could detect the slight odor of Clorets Gum as Sam waved Lenny away after the kids were safely on the curb. He knew Lenny the van driver well and did not like the crass man, so he said with body language “get the heck outta’ my territory now!” But sometimes, on a warm evening, he talked with Lenny and found the driver pleasant enough and then Lenny would drive away feeling good as Sammy joke about him to the Osberg kids, which would break the tension in them, especially Eliza, he noticed. She seemed to be the worst for wear in the year he’d helped her out of Lenny’s fume infested coach! And to think that the Osbergs gave this guy Christmas money!
Sam always knew that the Osberg kids treated the hired help at the UN Plaza like pals they met in the schoolyard and that gave them a certain charm to the workers at the UN Plaza. It made working there so much more bearable because their family was so intriguing in so many ways and no one really knew what to make of them sometimes, so that made the job more fun because in the break room they all discussed the Osbergs, and even the service elevator guys got in on the action and it made them feel like a real union or something like that. The kids even joked around with the guy who ran the service elevator. “Hey Dum-Dum,” yelled Glinda and Eliza if they saw him peeking around the corner looking bored. They lit up his world in a funny way, but they were disruptive and the building could not ignore that. The Osbergs had been living at the UN Plaza on the 23rd floor for almost 1 year. It was getting really very turbulent and the times called for more protests at the UN Building, the Vietnam War, Hippies, drugs, pot and even Israel and Palestine! It was starting to make security at the UN Plaza a bit tighter than usual, and so that is probably why the kids were singled out sometimes.
Sammy the doorman could not resist Eliza, and was constantly bantering with her and all the Osberg kids, they were so full of life and news and questions. But how long would management at the UN Plaza put up with it? It all depended on who was on the side of the Osberg’s side! For now the kids came and went and it was actually lonely and quiet like a church when they left for a long vacation with their folks, but then they’d clamor back home and Sam would smile and pretend indifference when he saw Tom the Deskman looking at him from inside the building where he sat at a huge mahogany desk you’d usually see in airports.
“Hey kids,” he said like Santa Claus.
“Hi Sammy,” they answered back.
Eliza’s nauseous feelings dissipated as the doorman led them to the revolving doors. Once in the beautiful, richly smelling lobby any discomfort Eliza felt melted away, her rosy cheeks returning. Her nose picked up more expensive perfume, leather, glass even the cigarette smoke aroma was pleasing and evenly fresh.
They ran to the elevators laughing and carrying on as usual. A bank of 3 elevators stood like pylons to the sky. Glinda pushed the up arrow button. John McGrath was on duty and took them up to the 23rd floor. Fresh, sweet perfumed smelling warm air was coming out of the elevator fan hanging discreetly above. Eliza put her face up to catch a whiff, like the odor of a brand new car. It felt good on her face and felt revived to be back home. And at least Central Park had been fun and she’d gotten cotton candy for her treat there. The remnants dotted her faced and lips. Eliza also had some cotton candy stuck in her matted curly hair.
“Yup,” said Richard, who didn’t converse very much, but liked John, so made the effort to speak a few words and show recognition. “We played soldiers.”
“I’ll bet,” he said as he straightened his name tag.
“It’s really nasty out there,” said Eliza.
“Where you kids coming from?”
“The youth group.”
“We were playing in Central Park!”
“Oh.” He stared down at them with a huge smile on his big gentle looking face. His black uniform made him look more official than what the position of elevator operator was, but the kids had always treated him like he mattered to them and was important in their eyes. They looked up to him and that’s what he liked most about them. Mrs. Osberg was very generous around Christmas too.
“Where’s Roy?” He asked.
“Probably upstairs by now and sipping hot chocolate,” said Eliza
John slowly reached into his front shirt pocked.
“More sports pins, John?”
John nodded knowingly and retrieved a pin with a little football attached to it. “Oh yes!”
“Wow, why does he get that?” asked Eliza.
“Because he is the oldest and he loves football!” said little Glinda.
“Give him this, Rich, okay?”
“OK,” said John placing the little trinket in the palm of Rich’s plumpish hand.
Finally they reached 23 just as Eliza’s ears popped.
“Bye kids, be good!”
“Bye John,” they all said in unison.
They walked to their apartment and rang the bell. The door slowly opened and Roy was there smiling at them. The little dark haired oldest Osberg smiled. He wore braces and glasses but was dressed immaculately in a white tailored shirt and black dress pants with shiny men’s shoes that always made Glinda and Eliza laugh when they talked about them because their next door neighbor Mr. Ackermann wore the almost same ones, except his had little designer holes in them.
“Hey you guys,” he said excitedly as he let them in. He could be a handsome boy one day when the braces came off and the eyes cleared up. But for now he wore them like badges, not seeming to mind or notice, and he even had to go through getting his wisdom teeth out at a very early age in his teens. It would probably make the robust looking kid stronger when he got older. There was also a barely visible scar on Roy’s left thumb from when the boy ran through a plate glass door when they lived in a house in New England. He’d almost lost that thumb if not for the quick thinking paramedics that responded.
“Roy!” said Eliza, happy to see her older brother. She hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Here, this is from John,” said Richard, handing Roy the football pin.
“Hey, thanks.” Roy looked at the little pin and hooked it on Eliza’s shirt lapel.
“Roy!” She wore it like a metal and this one was special with a little golden plated football attached and it was the Washington Red Skins.
“Look, it’s Indians,” said Roy, knowing full well his kid sister’s love for the Indians!
“Thanks so much!” said Eliza.
The kids walked into the beautiful co-op. It smelled like fresh flowers and their mother’s expensive cologne, plus Mr. Osberg had come home tonight and everyone was in the den and Eliza could smell him clearly with his Aramis Cologne and expensive suit smell mixed with rich cigarette smoke. Sometimes she got a whiff of his breath after he’d had a few bites and sips of his Vodka and Herring delight he so loved; and it was comforting, not smelly nor offensive. He was such a fastidious man and was so clean shaven and put together so right, even with a toupee.
“There’s a lady here who is going to take care of us now,” revealed Roy.
“No more Vera the terror?” screamed Eliza.
“Nope, she’s gone!”
“Really?” asked the disbelieving Glinda, even getting up and looking out the den door into the long hallway leading to the maid’s quarters.
“This new woman’s in the den with mom and dad talking. She’s really nice, I met her!”
“Wow, neato!” said Rich.
They all walked into the cozy den. This room was decorated in very expensive brown intricate wallpaper and a huge Marc Chagall hung ever so exquisitely above the expensive Italian couch. The windows faced toward the tip of the Empire State Building, as well as the PanAm building to the right, and the Chrysler Building’s twinkling church looking lights to the left. The East River was lit up all around, and the George Washington Bridge stood to the foreground, cars flashing like stars. Trash and tugboats slowly drifted on the water, their little portals shining and cozy looking! When they came in and were seated, everyone sat quietly for a moment looking at the view that never seemed to get tiresome. In fact, it exuded their parent’s tastes.
Each child kissed their dad and sat on the couch. Mrs. Osberg was in the French chair dressed to the nines. The apartment itself was immaculate and glamorous. Mrs. Osberg was very particular about her decorators and furniture.
Lena Osberg could have been someone! With her almost Broadway career behind her and the contacts she stayed in touch with it was easy to still entertain with the idea of being known and ‘in the know’. The way she dressed and carried herself was very elegant and well put together. Blond long hair in a bun, her trademark cherry lipstick, signature white outfits and nifty flat heeled shoes in all colors and styles. The smell of Chanel #5 or A’rpeage French cologne at $100 an ounce. She shopped at Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and even I Magnin. The glamorous woman knew a lot of well heeled, high placed people and celebrities, singers and character actors. Her charity work and past paired her with many a surprise actor or singer who had even babysat them when they stayed at the UN Plaza apartment.
Their Mother Lena loved glamour! That mixed with the need to be different than all the rest, and know she was sparked with a special aura about her. Mrs. Osberg was gorgeous; she knew it. Lena was elegant, she knew. The woman who loved wearing all white and mink was outspoken and to the point; everyone around her knew that. Lena was simply smashing, gorgeous and vivacious. She didn’t smoke nor drink, except sometimes socially. She’d taken good care of herself through the years of having so many children. If all had went as planned there would have been many more kids, but she did have a few miscarriages. She and Victor had been busy, as the Kennedy’s were.
Lena could carry a conversation on for hours and absolutely lived for being in “The Know”. She was smart and raised well, fine bred in the Fine Arts, she sang opera like it was a walk in the park; Lena could play the piano and once had aspirations of either being a concert pianist or singing in the opera, but after a stint on Broadway, she met Victor Osberg and her mothering instincts overcame loving living out of a suitcase. But on the other hand, Lena used her theatrical background to her advantage; her public speaking skills took her to various forums and panels, as well as at parties in the “industry” both media and music, plus movies. In many ways it was rubbing off on Eliza, but more so with Glinda. Some called her over-dramatic, many called her beautiful and a great opera singer and the woman could raise funds for just about any cause related the The Arts!
“Kids, I’d like you to meet Gemma,” said Lena.
A young, petite light skinned black woman sat on the chair and smiled brightly.
“Kids, this is Gemma, our new housekeeper!” added Victor.
“Hello,” they all said in unison.
“She’s going to take care of you and cook, clean and keep our apartment orderly,” said Mrs. Osberg.
“I’m from Jamaica,” said the bright eyed lady.
Eliza remembered the sneering, ugly, old white face of Vera, and this new lady seemed anything but terrifying, Eliza could sense that right away!
“Wow,” they all said again in unison.
“You kids are cute, Ras…!” exclaimed Gemma, using the word “Ras” as in “Wow”.
“And she cooks!” said Eliza’s mother. “And I know what you’re thinking Eliza! You can tell right away that Gemma is a really sweet person, unlike Vera,” added Lena. She turned to Gemma. “That’s the lady we’d made the big mistake of hiring last year before we moved here to the UN Plaza, so things were a bit hectic.”
Eliza would always be haunted by Vera and remembered the incident with her younger sister getting her mouth washed out with Phisoderm nursing soap by Vera. Eliza recalled Glinda’s face turning beet red and she was screaming in terror, they both were.
Eliza stared deeply into Gemma’s twinkling brown eyes, and saw only kindness and depth she never saw in Vera’s dark grey winkers.
“I only have bad memories of Vera,” said Eliza.
Little Glinda and even Roy nodded. They would always carry the harsh memory of Vera the Terror, as they all called her.
“It takes a lot to push Roy to lose his temper like Vera and her sister Loretta did to the kids behind our backs!” admitted Mrs. Osberg.
Eliza cut in, “He ended up chasing them around the apartment with a steak knife until they locked themselves in the den bathroom.”
“They’d rile the kids up and tease them, and then claimed it was Eliza who was riling them up. Once Eliza had a terrible ear infection,” explained Mrs. Osberg.
“The school called and Vera come in a taxi and practically dragged Eliza by her sore ear to the cab and home,” explained Mr. Osberg easily remembering the incident and how they hadn’t seen how Vera was at first. “An aide saw the whole thing out the window and phoned us both!”
“Instead of trying to relieve Eliza’s apparent pain she told my daughter to go straight to her room, undress and get to bed with no t.v. on,” said Mrs. Osberg. “She told us that Eliza had been sent home from school for pretending to be sick, so at first of course we believed Vera…” She shot a loving glance of guilt toward Eliza and this had not been the first time Lena hadn’t believed her daughter hurt or ill. It’s just that she didn’t want her kids hurting, and sometimes she assumed they were playing wolf.
“But eventually by that evening the truth was out about Vera. Now that’s wrong and I should have seen that one coming. Luckily I called Fern and she and her sister flew in and took care of things for awhile until we found you Gemma!”
“Fern?” asked Gemma curiously.
“Oh, yes, we employed 2 sisters Fern and Ginny, wonderful women, to care for the kids years before Vera came into our employ,” said Victor.
“Remember, they have their own families,” said Mrs. Osberg.
But Eliza knew that Fern and Ginny just can’t stay away from the Osbergs, and the pay was very lucrative and the work was very fulfilling and busy, plus they get the fringe benefits of staying at the prestigious UN Plaza when their services were needed!
Mrs. Osberg added easily, “We would never ask them to uproot.” She leaned forward as if telling a secret. “The bottom finally fell out when Vera got so brazen as to steal my Bloomingdale’s charge plate and bought a $90 coat. She told everyone that my husband gave her permission!”
“Me Ras!” said Gemma almost dreamy-like as her cheery eyes took in the elegance of 23E.
“She was unceremoniously fired and we’ve never heard from her again and if we do the police will be involved. I did make a complaint!” said Victor.
Eliza didn’t mention that the kids had seen Loretta, Vera’s redheaded sister. She said Vera got another job on Park Avenue for some family and was making big bucks and that if “you kids want to come up to my place, I’ll make you a nice spaghetti dinner” to which the kids never accepted. As she walked away Eliza and Glinda would make fun of her.
Now this wonderful, young, friendly lady, eyes dancing with fun, stood before the kids laughing and carrying on with them.
After that, before dinner Eliza started to run her bath, Gemma came up and a said, “We’re gonna’ have so much fun, ras child! She even helped Eliza run her bath, and then washed her tangled naturally curly hair for Eliza which was a luxury. Even Glinda hopped in the tub as Gemma began to wash their hair and laugh with them. The Jamaican’s hands were supple and gentle and her demeanor kind. She had 4 children of her own and lived in Brooklyn with her husband Lev, whom Mrs. Osberg ended up getting a high profile job working at the UN Garage.
“Gemma, I like you,” said Glinda as she rinsed off.
“Me too!” added Eliza as she dunked her head under the warm cloudy water in the tub and all the grim and dirt of playing in the middle of Central Park came off of her like a second skin! It felt great to be clean and warm. Her fingers were still a bit frozen and were thumping, but soon that would subside once she was dry and in her night gown watching the latest t.v. show this evening.
It’s going to be my first night staying with you kids!”
“Yea,” cried both girls.
Gemma would sleep in her quarters and all the children were looking forward to it. That evening Eliza’s parents left for a glamorous party upstairs where Mr. and Mrs. Glass lived.
Gemma said, “I’m going to make ya’all hamburgers and French fries – a real treat for you!”
It looked good and all the kids were talking and conversing. “We’re so glad Vera is long gone. Gemma can you be a real ‘Gem’ to us?” asked Eliza.
Gemma smiled nicely and nodded.
They all watch TV in the den. Then Glinda fell asleep on the couch and Gemma ended up carrying the cute pixy to bed.
“Good night Gemma, thanks,” said Eliza as Gemma tucked them both in.
“Sure Sweetie. Kiss me dede,” she said kissing them each on the forehead.
CROW’S NEST ON THE 23RD FLOOR – UN PLAZA VANTAGE
The next day rose into a bright sparkling winter morning as the sun lifted slowly into the sky. It’s orange rays bounced and climbed over the East River winding its way around the various scrubby green parks dotting the streets of the lower East Side of Manhattan! The famous Twin Towers were in the foreground the 2 gleaming and sparkling like a contessa of diamonds all 110 floors of them!
Cars, buses and brigades of yellow cabs made their way up 1st Avenue as day overcame the twinkling lights of The Big Apple. And on the opposite end of the World Trade Center buildings, facing The Western Front across the street from the United Nations Building stood 2 tall, brilliant buildings rising up over Tudor City. The UN Plaza Towers stood alone in all their own gleaming glory!
Eliza, the curly-headed rambunctious 10 year old stared down at the long rows of shiny black foreign delegate cars lining up in front of the UN Rose Gardens. They looked like her brother’s Match Box collection, so small, yet so dignified even from that high up, over 20 stories!
She awoke to the slight commotion beginning at the UN Building, just a slight ripple of a clamor with men running to and fro, and even police cars taking positions on all 4 corners. “Wow, something is really going on today,” she said aloud. Eliza caught the slight strains of the scratching sound of radios and walkie talkies drifting all the way up to her bedroom!
The East River glistened in the background, with the 59th Street Bridge to the left and the George Washington Bridge in the distance picking up the slack for a spectacular view. It was always breathtaking, especially when something big was about to go down at the United Nations, which faced Eliza and Glinda’s bedroom.
Senator Robert F. Kennedy along with his family lived in on the 14th floor in the other tower and brushed by Eliza like a normal everyday thing. Eliza even remembered the Senator coming in the elevator and actually meeting her gaze and looking straight at her big feet, probably wondering if she were a boy or a girl! It was hard to believe he’s been assassinated not even a year ago. Then on the day of Kenney’s funeral, Eliza had full eye contact and a conversation with Ethel, who at that time was dressed in all black and heading for her husbands funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where even Eliza’s mother and grandmother attended and sat in the front row.
Her father and brothers and sister were upstairs in their dad’s den watching it on t.v. scanning for them in the crowd. Meanwhile Eliza had sneaked away to the other tower through the large lobby that connected them. She followed all the wires from t.v. cameras and broadcast equipment right up to the elevators. Elevator 3 opened and she walked in with a bunch of people in dark suits. She hid to the back and was not noticed. The elevator slowly made its way up to the 14th floor and Eliza stood transfixed as Ethel Kennedy walked slowly into the elevator. As the elevator traveled down to the lobby Eliza boldly went up to Robert F. Kennedy's widow who was dressed in all black. Eliza said directly to the woman, “Don’t worry, everything will be okay, Mrs. Kennedy!” Eliza said trying to imitate how her dad said it to her when she was very ill last winter. It calmed her then and she hoped it would steady Mrs. Kennedy.
“I know, Dear,” said Mrs. Kennedy curiously looking down at Eliza. Mrs. Kennedy was now a widow and Eliza looked into the black veil and spotted a single tear making its way down Ethel's smooth young face! She smiled at Eliza and everyone in the elevator were transfixed for a split second, until the doors opened on the Lobby level and she exited with her entourage in tow as a million and one flash bulbs and camera lights shined on her. Eliza had stayed in the elevator with Juan the operator. The clamor followed Mrs. Kennedy’s exit out the revolving doors and into a big black stretch limo. Eliza rode the elevator with Juan back up to 23, and thanked him. “Do you think Tom will tell?” asked Eliza speaking of the head front desk man who had been with the UN Plaza since it was built.
“I don’t know, Miss, you know him pretty well!”
“We’ll see, thanks Juan! By the way why didn’t they make the UN Plaza an even 40 floors instead of 38?” the imaginative, creative kid asked the old Cuban elevator man.
“I don’t know that one ‘neither, Miss Osberg,’ said Juan sweetly, but with dignity.
"Do you think it could have something to do with the 13th floor, look it’s even listed on the elevator panel?” Eliza pointed to the fancy board of round yellow lights. “Most of my friend’s buildings don’t even have a 13th floor.
“Well, I hear that most large buildings in New York City skipped the number entirely,” said Juan as Eliza left and skipped away. She was a whippersnapper that was for sure…
Now Eliza sat on the window sill pondering where Ethel Kennedy and her kids had gone, which later she found out was Virginia, or Cape Cod. They used to live in the East Tower on the 14th floor!
Eliza was eagerly joined by her sister and two older brothers Richard and Roy.
“Can’t you tell that there’s something really big going on today?” said Eliza looking out at the great expanse of the city with the East River simmering with tug boats, tour boat company Circle Line and even barges hulking with trash sifting back and forth.
As she was thinking about Robert Kennedy, and the day she met him and they had a “moment” in the elevator, a vibrating sound shook the window.
Suddenly, out of nowhere a roaring black helicopter flew by. Eliza’s eyes almost popped out of her skull when she saw it. They all jumped back startled.
Eliza wondered if other tenants heard the commotion or made any big deals about it after so many years.
“I hope it doesn’t wake mom up,” said the concerned Richard, always worried about his mom Lena.
It was Tuesday morning as their mother Lena Osberg slept like a log, not even an atom bomb could disturb her deep sleep, in the sprawling master bedroom. Their father, Victor Osberg had flown to where he maintained a lace factory in New England and manufactured lace and odd women’s underwear with no cotton crotch. They were innovated in Victor Osberg’s mind, so he was trying to make them all the rage and that included his daughters wearing them! Lena always wore them; she had them in 3 different colors and designs and didn’t mind that there wasn’t a solid crotch.
Eliza’s father spent 3 days there at his two bedroom apartment, and then he’d rent a seaplane and fly back to New York City for 3 days. He usually rented the smaller plane, but sometimes flew commercial.
The Osbergs received the best tables in the restaurants, the best service, #1 seats in the theaters and the best rooms in hotels. It was in Mrs. Osberg’s nature to strive for the big things in life. She got it, but not quite like it should have been! But an interesting life for Eliza lay ahead and was destined!
The 4 of them watched out the bedroom window as the Black Hawk helicopter hovered slowly down to the front lawn of the UN and landed. People passed by it as if it was another every day occurrence. As the roaring rotors stopped their twirling a few Secret Service agents flooded the perimeter around the copter. Nothing happened at first. The kids got impatient and had to get ready for school.
“Wait, hang on,” said Eliza. “Just one second!”
“Nothing’s happening!” answered Eliza’s older brother Roy. “Who cares anyway?” He got off the window sill. Eliza knew that was standard for her older brother, who seemed to lose interest before she or her sister and other brother Richard did. He’d gone back to his bedroom he shared with his brother and was dressing for school. The oldest Osberg sibling attended a different one than his brother and sisters and there was talk about sending him to a ritzy boarding school in Upstate, New York somewhere, which sounded very exciting to Eliza, who sometimes wished she was a boy!
“Do you think Darrin or Dum-Dum know what’s happening?” asked Glinda, spaeking of the UN Plaza elevator men they knew like uncles, and Glinda felt a bit scared.
“I’m sure they’ve been briefed since they do work in the building,” said Richard trying to sound like a policeman he so loved and respected.
Just then, as Eliza was about to give up herself, the helicopter doors opened and 3 men got out. They surrounded a cloaked figure dressed in black and grey Arab uniform, with his ‘signature’ turban.
“Look, its Arafat,” yelled Eliza, her nose glued to the window.
Gemma, their Jamaican housekeeper breezed in. “Time for breakfast,” said Gemma in a thick West Indies-like lilted accent. She’d been with the Osbergs for almost 3 years and was hired soon after they moved in to the well known UN Plaza Apartments. She had quickly become almost desensitized to the Osbergs constant clamor and energy, which was very high and it wasn’t just stupid kids talking like parrots.
They brought up interesting facts, and asked many questions. And not just run of the mill questions… Questions that deserved an honest and long drawn out answer. These kids drew you out of your shell which Gemma had put herself in at first. She retreated by locking her bedroom door at the UN Plaza and watching her t.v. and ignoring them at first, especially in the evenings after she’d looked after and cleaned up after them. But as the months passed she became very involved with the kids, and that was mostly due to Fern, a very close family friend who cared for them even longer before Gemma had arrived. Not that Gemma was ignoring her duties, she knew how to handle things, and the kids did mind her.
Gemma could just imagine how the school teachers dealt with this group!…A smile came to the sweet Jamaican woman’s lips… Her big white teeth were wide and strong. She looked, at that time, in her crisp white nurses uniform and white shores, like an angel with a twinkle in her soft brown eyes. She put in many years at the Osberg residence and would probably always be there for years to come. Just then the apartment phone rang. Gemma answered. It was Tom the desk man who had been there since the building opened in 1966, and it was amazing how he ran the front lobby, like a clock. He didn’t take any crap. “Just want to remind you to keep a sharp on those kids today, Gemma,” he said briskly. Yassar Arafat is around and there’s going to be demonstrations and a big ruckus and I know I’m sticking my foot in my mouth, but keep the kids away from there, please!” he pleaded.
“Yes sir,” Gemma answered in that soft voice she used to soothe Glinda when she was crying or fussy.
“I’m talking about when they go off to school. They’ll have to leave out the back entrance of the East Tower…Have them use the service elevator down to the cellar, then wall down the hallway to the other tower and get on do as instructed. I’ve called the school and the school van and they know of this situation,” said Tom officially.
Eliza attended PS 59, otherwise known as Beekman Hill School.
“But Mr. Shelley,” said Gemma. “They’ve been taking public transportation rather than being picked up.”
Tom’s voice was livid. “What? You mean to tell me they are not being picked up by the usual school bus van or limos like the other kids in the building and surrounding area?”
Gemma was silent then avoided it all by saying, “I will make sure they make it to the bus stop far from the UN Building, Mr. Shelley.”
“Please do!” He hung up.
As Glinda and Eliza got ready for school they laughed and joked with each other as Gemma went to the kitchen and started breakfast and started explaining the plan to the children who saw it all as a game like on TV!
“Just like on the Mod Squad, I wanna’ be Peggy Lipton,” shouted Eliza.
Roy ran in and turned on the little black and white t.v. set in the kitchen. It was a “special report” which always intrigued the kids because of the seriousness of the situation and that it directly affected them because they lived right by the eye of the hurricane!
“Do you have all your school things?” Gemma breezed out of the kitchen and into the girl’s bedroom down the hall.
Their Aunt Dorothy decorated their bedroom in shades of orange, black and white. Ripe stripes of color ran above along the upper walls that were wall papered the expensive way. There was bright “orange” wall to wall shag carpeting with the two beds on either side of the bedroom. And of course the Orange bedspreads and white wicker headboards, even a little white wicker elephant used as a nightstand blended interestingly. Some of the furniture in their bedroom was converted from their nurseries; a white wicker rocking chair and a delicate lamp with a statue of a white angel holding up the bulb. Pretty frilly paintings hung on their walls as well as the girl’s own artwork and scribblings.
Both girls were dressed and had grabbed their book bags and were in the kitchen where a nice nutritious breakfast of poached eggs, crispy lean bacon, lightly buttered toast and freshly squeezed juice awaited them awaited them. Roy and Richard were already at the round glass table chowing down. They all ate heartily and with gusto, but the Osberg children were reared on the ‘salad fork’, and showed much decorum at the dining table, except sometimes Eliza, who acted up and usually got a reprimand. It was Mr. Osberg doing the yelling about it, but he wasn’t around this morning.
And when he was gone, the Osberg children ran wild and their mother indulged them with money for Bernie’s Candy Store downstairs in the Delegates Lobby while she arranged big charity events and fund raisers for certain colleges and organizations! Her resume reads like a “who is who of entertainment”, but like most mother’s involved in The Arts, she also exposed her children to many things that were not on the menu of the other families at their schools and after school centers. But Lena was able to make many friends and occupied herself with family, running seemingly endless shopping errands plus her husbands anal demands to pick up his dry cleaning, have a certain type of dinner or just be ready to go out at the drop of a hat. She, Lena ran the household smoothly and with such formality in her even and electric way!
Victor Osberg took care of them all though and took them to vacation places and Europe with his wife in the summertime while the kids went to 9 week summer camps in Maine. He lavished everything he had on his beautiful, worldly wife Lena and his four children! Life was very good at that moment and neither would change a thing. Although, he had to admit that he was a little hard on his wife, her being from that entertainment Broadway crowd, raised by a daddy that indulged her every fancy, he could understand. His Navy background warranted it, so she put up with it, because they loved each other, and had actually met twice before, years ago before the fireworks burst in air in the late 1950’s after he’d gotten out of the Navy. But that is another story. Flash forward and here they were raising a family in the best apartment building on the Lower East Side in the Turtle Bay District. Lena had even attended the famed Julliard School of music which was virtually a stone’s throw from their digs. It was Heaven for Lena, and she indulged her children and encouraged them to read and take up hobbies and take a keen interest in The Arts, Broadway and The Theatre; taking them all to the Nutcracker Suite and all the Christmas and Easter shows at Radio City Music Hall hadn’t hurt them one bit.
Mrs. Osberg got a kick out of buying her girls books on which were loosely based on a little girl named Eloise who roams the halls of The Plaza Hotel. Her family was a bit more retro 1970’s than little French Eloise’s, but the books were fun to read to the kids. In fact, Lena loved to read the books out loud, which her children loved. And when they took the kids to the Plaza Hotel for dinner, there were huge posters of Eloise and everyone kept saying how much little Glinda looked like her, even though it was blatantly obvious that Eloise resembled Eliza more than Glinda.
Eliza was just too hyper for anyone to start to pay too much attention to her thus she would get too energetic, so most times they were trying to hold her down and make her quiet. Deep down inside they all knew Eliza was a special, creative little girl. Maybe with time she would be calmer. Maybe they would one day take Dr. Shipps advice and give her a pill to help her sleep. But then, maybe not.
The kids finished quickly, maybe a bit too quickly. Gemma was on to them!
“Listen to me, you kids march right down to the East Tower and out the back door and straight to the 1st Avenue bus stop. And to make sure you do, I am going with you!”
“Ohhhh, Gemma, no,” cried Richard!
“What about Roy?” asked Eliza.
“Roy’s bus is waiting outside by the East Tower.”
“Okay, Gemma,” said Roy, never misbehaving and always doing what they asked. But he asked so many questions sometimes, and it was usually questions he already knew the answers too but he wanted attention!
Though Richard was quiet and shy, he did have a very bad temper and he could get very riled up about things. Eliza was like the battery for it all to go. Glinda fussed and cried on a dime, but got away with it because she was just so cute. She looked like a little dolly crying and you just wanted to take her in your arms and rock her back and forth and sing an old Jamaican lullaby to!
Gemma got the kids ready, like an assembly line, but everyone had either a bagged lunch stuffed with goodies, or lunch money.
She walked them out the door, waited at the elevator, rode it down, and walked them to the back entrance of the East Tower. Roy’s van was there and she deposited him with no problems. Then she walked the other three to the bus stop on First Avenue where some other ruffian looking children waited. As soon as they spotted Gemma, they started laughing and making racial slurs, something Gemma never tolerated. She gave them a very disapproving look.
As the bus came down First Avenue, Eliza was eager to get on that bus. Once they got on the bus, Eliza saw that Gemma had gotten on and was talking to the bus driver, who was a black man and Jamaican like she was. She and the bus driver got out of the bus and gave the boys a real tongue lashing which quieted them down. They were Catholic school boys and attended John Holland School farther up on First Avenue.
“You kids better mind your manners!” scolded the bus driver as Gemma left without a backwards glance. Eliza watched the little, sweet young housekeeper they had grown to love more everyday walk back to the UN Plaza.
One of the kids hustled over to Eliza. “She seems really steamed, Man,” He slurred. Something wasn’t right about these kids today.
“Leave us alone,” shouted Eliza, sort of wishing she were on Roy’s bus and going to his school rather than the rough and tumble mixed school she attended now. Not that PS 59 was all bad, she loved school.
The kids backed off when they spotted the bus driver giving them a ‘Voodoo’ eye. “Sit down boys or you’all be walkin’ to yer’ fancy school!”
The boys sat down without another word and the rest of the trip passed uneventfully. A few women got on headed uptown to the financial district were talking about the helicopter from what she’d seen on the news this morning. Eliza joined in on their conversation saying that she and her brother and sister saw Arafat and the whole thing unfolding.
“We had to go out this secret entrance that they only use in extreme emergencies!” Eliza hyped up, just to see their reaction.
Glinda laughed sweetly. Richard turned around shyly smiling and looking out the bus window.
“Where do you guys live?” asked one woman, a blond bombshell dressed in a very short mini skirt and wearing a long maxi coat.
“The UN Plaza,” said Eliza proudly.
“Wow, ritzy,” said another lady.
“Ever see any movie stars?”
That was Eliza’s cue!
“Yes, Johnny Carson and his wife!
“What’s Johnny like?”
“He’s mean!” stated Eliza simply, and knowning it was true.
“What are you saying? Johnny Carson is mean?”
"Yup, it's all an act with Johnny! He hates kids and doesn't like people!" ranted Eliza.
"He seems so sweet on his show," said one of the ladies who almost seemed crestfallen over the sudden news.
"Well, he's not, and he's yelled at us a lot, and his wife called my mother and told her we were brats for running through the lobby!"
"Really?" asked another blond, who really seemed shocked.
“Hey, shut up Eliza,” said Richard.
"No, it's true, he is mean," said Eliza. "I spilled grape soda on his golf pants by accident," admitted Eliza.
"So he had a reason to be mean! If you did it to me, I'd be mad too!"
"Well, he's mean, take my word for it! The whole deal he does on his show is a big lie, I know it for a fact," said the talkative Eliza.
“Well, this is our stop kids, if you see Johnny and he’s not acting mean, tell him I’ve got a singer he’s got to hear, okay?” She handed Eliza her card and the three women laughed and hooted and left the bus.
Eliza took the card and put it in her front pocket.
“You are not going to give it to him are you Eliza?” asked Richard.
“Maybe, maybe not!” she answered.
They would ride the city bus all the way up First Avenue. At 57th Street they would walk three blocks to 3rd Avenue where their school was. They were rarely late.
As the bus made its way down the street, the bus driver asked, “So how long has she been with you?”
“Oh, about 3 years,” answered Eliza, suddenly thinking back to when Gemma had
first come to them out of the blue after a horrible stint with a housekeeper they named Vera the Terror. All the kids were glad that Gemma was there with her sister and they were also getting to know her better each month that passed. She was a good lady and had a family of her own. Two boys and two girls, plus maybe more.
“She’s happily married though,” said Eliza.
The black bus driver sighed but handled it well, probably having many girls of his own, maybe even a wife.
“Do you love Gemma, Mr. Bus Driver?” asked Glinda.
The bus driver seemed to get shy but laughed nervously. “Nooooo, ‘course not… I have a wife,” he said, trying to sound miffed.
“She’s married too, and her husband works in our garage at the UN Plaza!”
“Now that’s fine, just fine…hmmmm,” acknowledged the bus driver as he maneuvered around multiple yellow taxis and many Town Cars clogging the bus lane.
“We love her so much!” said Eliza.
“I can see that kids!”
“She’s very nice!”
“I can see that easily,” he said. “How did you find such a…a … a … a Gem?”
They all laughed.
“I think someone recommended her because the one before Gemma was this really mean older lady.” They made a face thinking of the horrible Vera.
“Well, you’all lucky to have a lady like Gemma!”
“We know, we know,” they all agreed.
Eliza thought back to the time she had first met Gemma and already the housekeeper was like one of the family.
ELIZA’S LEGS BEHIND HER BACK TRICK!
Eliza was always very flexible. She’d be able to take her legs and fold them behind her back which would amaze even amaze the biggest and meanest of all bullies.
The curly-head, hyper girl has a fine tuned memory and could recall as far back as being 3 years old and falling asleep in the Yoga Lotus position. Mrs. Osberg would check on her daughter and would be aghast at how she folded herself all up in a round ball… Mrs. Osberg made a big problem out of it and forbade Eliza to sleep that way, as if Eliza didn’t have enough worries as it stood.
In school, starting at first grade, Eliza noticed by accident that could she could do that; the folding of her legs behind her back trick… otherwise known as, “Hey Eliza, roll up into a ball!!!!”.
But that would bring attention to her odd looking fingers, which only had 2 knuckles, instead of the customary 3 everyone had on each hand, and a few of her fingers were bent to the right, the ring fingers and the pinky on the right hand. This brought mostly “unwanted” attention to her, and that along with her crazy antics of bending her body like an Indian Yogi didn’t dull her presence that seemed to thrive on some underlying need for attention!
Then there was her keen love for the American Indians. She was so into them. And Eliza so easily had become a full fledged Far East Student as well … She would have excelled at Yoga if her parents had only allowed her even though she did have a lot of freedom of expression thanks to her mother and father.
Her dad had much experience with it when he did a stint in the Navy in the early Fifties. He’d taken a liking to the Oriental culture and art, and had many things Oriental.
They were not encouraging her to do the Yoga, and seemed dead set against letting Eliza try it. They warned her not to do it. But in school Eliza was more popular when she did the Yoga antics. It sort of empowered her and led them to change her wardrobe from the cute little dresses to the little boy’s Danskin outfits.
It should be noted that Barbara Streisand mentioned in her semi autobiography that she too could do that same trick as Eliza could do, putting her legs behind her head and rolling up into a ball, so that fueled even more antics at school. Streisand is quoted in the book to the extent of this: “When I was a kid I remember I could do this little trick for attention. I would gather the other kids around me and would plop down on the ground and roll my legs up behind my head and roll up into a ball. I got a lot of attention, until my mother found out, and knowing I was wearing dresses… Oye, oye!’
But Eliza had her limitations too. Due to her missing knuckles she could not grip the jungle gym bars, and she could not make a full fist so later on in her lifespan she would also take a high interest in Oriental things, especially Karate, which allowed her to learn open handed jabs and techniques. That along with her flexible body would take her far when she’d finally joined a Karate school in college, which would be years from now!
Eliza had a natural enthusiasm that bordered on hyper activity but they had never given her any meds of any kind, except when she was very ill as a child and they had given her a mild antihistamine. Some wondered if maybe Eliza Osberg was out of control. In first grade she jumped up excitedly because she knew the answer to the riddle in the workbook, which came to her mind quicker than most of the other normal students in the large classroom. Mrs. Slusskin was standing over the child and suddenly Eliza jumped up and knocked the teacher with the top of her little curly head, clocking the teacher in the chin, making a bloody mess! At first they thought perhaps she may have hit the teacher on purpose out of an anger outburst, but a little German boy saw it all and saved Eliza from the gallows! It was the shy, quiet boy who still donned the traditional German suspenders and leather chap looking shorts and intricately woven top!
Roland & Eliza! They made a great pair, like Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney. Captain & Tennille. Minnie & Mickey Mouse?
When Roland and Eliza met, the two became inseparable. They ate together, played together, talked non stop and tried to sit together in class. Mrs. Hamilton made it her ‘life’s blood’ to keep the two lovebirds apart, which is what it was becoming. Roland got a great kick out of kissing Eliza, and watching her roll up into a ball, so did the other kids, but when Roland’s brother Daniel asked Eliza to do her leg trick for his sixth grader buddies and kiss Roland for them, the couple agreed readily. Any attention for Eliza in her mind was good attention. So at recess practically the whole sixth grade made a beeline for the little couple, who usually sat together under in the sandbox building things with excess cinder blocks they’d found. The kids made a circle around them! Eliza and Roland did their ‘thing’!
“Now kiss!” Every coaxed.
They kissed, holding each other close.
“Woooo, what a kiss,” said one boy in awe.
“Now do that trick Eliza, do it, do it!”
Everyone began chanting, “Do it, Do it Eliza, Do it!”
The whole crowd was chanting louder and louder until the usually distant 9th graders across the fence over at the High School of Art & Design even looked in.
“Do it Eliza, Do it, Do it, Do it Eliza, Do it, Do it!”
And she did, very well indeed. Everyone screamed with glee, some others in shock, this girl Eliza could really tie herself up…”Wow!”
But ‘acting’ principal Averberg had been looking out from his “parapet” at the whole incident from beginning to end, and he was going to take action. He called Mrs. Hamilton, of all his staff, in and said, “Go see what that’s all about!”
“Yes, Mr. Averberg,” said Mrs. Hamilton, loving the authority that her job lended. She went outside and walked up to the group, with her hands on her hips. She spotted Roland and Eliza on the ground in full swing! They were not acting dirty or causing bad things, but on the contrary it was making everyone laugh, so much so that some students who were usually bullying were rolling around laughing and holding their stomachs in glee over the trick Eliza did and how the 1st grade couple would kiss and show cute love for each other, budding love, not dirty.
Mrs. Hamilton watched with eyes squinting in rising anger as Eliza jumped up and down then put her legs way behind her head so effortlessly that it was like being in a circus!
Mrs. Hamilton ran into the crowd of kids and grabbed Roland by the collar and pushed him away. “Stand there,” she yelled. Eliza looked up from the ground. She’d been laughing and carrying on then saw an upside down Mrs. Hamilton glaring at her and for a second she saw Marla’s ugly triangle face mixed in there, but there was something else in Mrs. Hamilton’ eyes, pure unadulterated hatred, maybe even slight racism rearing its ugly head during that time. The woman did have access to school records, and her daughter let her know where Eliza lived and all that that entailed. So Mrs. Hamilton must feel a mixture of things that would breed such a scathing attitude that had been building all through Eliza’s years at Beekman Hill School.
Eliza realized then that she was in big trouble. The plucky little tomboy nimbly got to her feet, dusted herself off and faced Mrs. Hamilton pretending she was famous Apache war chief Geronimo, an Indian that she so admired through her love and study of American Indians!
Mrs. Hamilton grabbed Eliza and shoved her over to where Roland stood stiffly. He unconsciously put his skinny arm around Eliza.
“You two are a menace and should not be together,” ranted Mrs. Hamilton as she came over and pushed the two friends apart again.
Eliza spotted Marla, who stood in the crowd of kids looking on and smirking. She stuck her little pink serpent-looking tongue at Eliza. The other girl ignored her and said a prayer and just smiled back as if Marla stuck her tongue out for a joke.
“I’m glad you are not my mother,” said Eliza to the irate Mrs. Hamilton.
“Girl, get, git’, git to the office now!” Mrs. Hamilton proceeded to prod the kids through the terrace and into the hallway toward the principal’s office like a prison guard. “You should be glad you ain’t my child!” She had them each held in her clamped down bony, long finger-nailed hands. The older woman took hold of Roland and Eliza’s shoulders and continued directing them like prisoners roughing them up just a tad, just enough she knew she could get away with. They walked down a long hallway to the principal’s office. She made a big point of acting like a prison guard and that’s how she treated her own kids! At that moment Eliza was grateful Mrs. Hamilton wasn’t her mom, but she did not feel anything for Marla at this point. They reached the principal’s office.
“Sit down, you here,” directed Mrs. Hamilton like a Nazi SS man. Almost like a Gestapo officer, Mrs. Hamilton goose-stepped down the hall and out of sight.
Across from them Eliza spotted the boy who had earlier shot a rubber band at little girl sitting in an adjoining classroom across the hall from where he’d been sent out for being unruly. His weapon hit its mark from almost 30 feet away, by shear luck and had struck the girl square in the eye. The boy began talking to them non stop and even wanted Eliza to “roll up into a ball!”
“No, I can’t,” said Eliza exasperated. She was a bit nervous over things.
“Do you guys really kiss?” asked the unruly boy, with the ruffled black hair, dark freckles and dancing mischievous eyes darting this way and that way!
“Yes,” said Roland matter of fact. “But not for you, kid!”
Mrs. Hamilton had left them all there without another word or backward glance. She had other “fish” to fry! In her mind she’d done her job, so she returned to her post on the recess floor out on the terrace.
Roland came over to Eliza and took her hand and squeezed it. “Don’t worry, it will be okay,” he assured. His big blue eyes were soft and his blond hair ruffled over black thick rimmed glasses a bit askew upon his cute little German nose, but Eliza loved his outfit of suspenders and leathers. She also loved his lunches of ham sandwiches, Chocolate Snack pack and dried apricots that his mom packed him every day.
“You know what Eliza,” said Roland.
“One day we’ll get married and they’ll never separate us!”
“They’ll never keep us apart, Roland, no they won’t,” agreed Eliza as the rubber band boy looked on in awe and interest.
“And we’ll elope, right?”
“Can I come?” asked the bad kid, just for a second seeming to want to.
“No,” both Roland and Eliza said with finality.
“Yes, I’ll get a long ladder up to your apartment!” Said Roland, already seeing it in his little 7 year old mind’s eye.
“You guys are talking doo-doo!” The boy actually shot a rubber band he’d hidden in his shoe at them.
“Shut up kid! Said Roland who dodged the flying projectile easily.
“You shut up,” he spat back, even spitting a wad at the couple.
"Hey, stop it,” Said Eliza. “We’re in a lot of trouble too kid!”
“Yea, shut your mouth!” Roland grabbed the rubber band and stretched it until it broke and then threw it back at the boy.
At that second the principal came in. He looked at the children sitting there. Eliza and Roland were arm and arm. He shook his head in a ‘tsk, tsk’ fashion.
“Roland, Eliza,” said Mr. Averberg.
“Yes sir,” they said in unison.
He took them in the office, but he couldn’t be hard on them and already stories about Mrs. Hamilton’ tactics in the recess yard were becoming distressing. He knew Mrs. Osberg and knew the families, even Roland’s. His mother is a doctor, and both children were bright. But this was very troubling. “You can not continue to make a spectacle of yourselves,” said Mr. Averberg sternly.
“We are so sorry,” said Eliza.
“I don’t’ want to hear any excuses. If you continue to be unruly and continue to act out of hand, I’ll have to take steps,” warned Mr. Averberg. He was already planning to leave Roland back one grade, not just because of his closeness with Eliza Osberg, but he’d seem to be having problems. Maybe that would quell their friendship.
“Now I have a pressing matter to deal with here,” he said. “Did you see that boy out in the hallway?”
“Yes,” they both said in unison again. They were a very cute and intelligent couple.
“Well, that will be the last time you will see him, he’s being expelled for shooting a rubber band at a girl. That girl is in the hospital and they are trying to save her eye!”
“Oh, how terrible!”
“So I want you both to calm down and be like the ladies and gentlemen I know you can be. I know both of your families and this is not respectable for Beekman Hill School!”
“Good, now get on with you to class. I will have a chat with Mrs. Hamilton too!”
“Okay, thanks sir!”
“It’s okay kids, just don’t get into trouble and stay calm!”
“We will. We’re going to elope!”
“What? Now don’t be talking like that kids!”
“It’s true, Mr. Averberg!” Said Eliza.
“Get back to class now, and stop talking such foolery!”
The two left the office. The boy outside leaned forward in expectation, wanting to know his fate. Eliza hesitated to tell him and bit her tongue, lest she get in more trouble. She so wanted to scream it out that he was getting expelled! Roland held her hand rather tightly which helped her stare straight ahead as the boy’s parents were running down the hallway to hear the bad news. They looked so normal it was hard to believe it was that kid’s parents. Roland and Eliza walked down the hallway and knew homeroom was about to begin so they headed to Mrs. Epstein’s class! She had sat them on opposite sides but they were always making ‘goo-goo eyes’ at each other so she put Eliza facing toward the window and Roland toward the desk by the door! It was heart breaking for the couple because they so enjoyed each other. The whole class knew this, but no one said a word, but many snickered in little groups usually just making fun of the couple that seemed meant to be together! Tragic is a better word, so most fed on tragic circumstances…
Mrs. Epstein was strict and if you were quiet, she would give you a piece of candy, usually a Hershey kiss and many wanted to play that game! Roland always gave Eliza his chocolate because he could remain very quiet and would do it for Eliza, because she was the opposite, usually getting a demerit for talking and carrying on. He knew she didn’t hit Mrs. Slusskin on purpose last year. He’d seen her jump up in excitement and she didn’t realize the teacher was standing over her. If not for him maybe Eliza would have been suspended! He’d also said that she should stop with the legs behind her back. She was getting in too much trouble and more than not they were separating her and him, and he didn’t want that. They talked on the telephone until Eliza’s mother popped on wanting to call someone.
But by the Fall of the following year right before school started for 1970, Roland was to leave the country going back to his homeland. Eliza would always remember their antics, how they would play in the sandbox at school and build little houses and temples with the blocks in the sand. Their favorite game was how Roland would play a white flying horse and Eliza would direct him all over the recess terrace. They would fight imaginary enemies and dodge other kids as they would try and pull on Eliza’s naturally curly hair. Then they’d wander over to the big kids playing the game “Ride a Buck” where they would jump on the backs of kids stooped over and ride them like a bronco until there were 10 kids popping up and down, bobbing and landing pretty hard on the terrace tiles! They never did it, except once Roland was coaxed into it and got a black eye from being kneed in the face by someone! Mrs. Hamilton actually tried to say that Eliza had hit Roland in anger and that the German boy was lying to protect his little girlfriend, but Mr. Averberg would have no part of that.
At that moment Eliza thought about the one time Roland and her had ended up in her apartment building.
But while playing and running through the building they stopped on the dim lit 13th floor of the United Nations Plaza Apartments. It was decorated in dark ‘Halloween’ colors but there was a very potent odor of potpourri or some type of bitter smelling herb conjuring up images of potions and aromas.
“Be damned if you lived on the 13th floor!” Screamed the German boy who had captured Eliza’s little 7 year old heart!
“The couple who live here are friends with my parents,” pointed out Eliza to Roland. “But they are so strange. She gives my sister these little Oriental pin cushions like Voodoo dolls or something like that…and the man has a lazy left eye and is just strange all together. He paints as a hobby and it was always just rows and rows of faces, happy faces, sad faces, round, blue, red and yellow, drawn like a little kid drawing an audience of faces at a baseball game. It was shallow, yet there was some weird thing about how he did it,” said Eliza easily to Roland who just smiled, so smitten…He leaned over as she was talking and planted a sweet kiss on her cheek and held her hand softly and with awe… “I love your fingers, they’re so different!”
But later on Mr. & Mrs. 13th Floor would come to dinner and as usual Eliza would cause a stir… which would almost been comical if the couple had not lived on the
13th floor! Who knows?
“I wish we could forward in time and then be together,” said Roland as they sat on the floor of the 13th.
“I know what you mean. We’ve tried everything, but I guess we’ll have to wait until we grow up,” said Eliza. She remembered they’d tired Astro Projection and it didn’t work. They were still in this time. So they tried to pretend when they entered this alley by the school and Roland said, “When we emerge from here, it’s going to be 15 years in the future and we’ll walk away from the school and start our life. Let’s try, okay?”
“Sure, let’s do it!” They’d made a strong attempt at it, prayed, tried conjuring up the image. Then as if it really would happen, they left the alley only to find themselves where they’d always been. “Well just have to keep trying,” said Roland holding Eliza tightly.
MRS. O’s GINGER ALE & CRACKERS
There were moments when Eliza and Glinda got equal treatment and that’s when it was time for bed and Mrs. Osberg would bring her daughters ginger ale and crackers on 2 elegant gold trays. Lena would sit with them and read them stories out of the many books on hand in their quaint bedroom. The girls loved it. It calmed them. As she read Eloise at the Plaza, her voice took on the characters French airs and it took the girl’s to far away Europe and even the Plaza itself, where they’d been many times with their Grandma Hazel for fancy tea, although Hazel preferred The Russian Tea Room.
As For Mrs. Osberg, she read in a clear, fresh almost operatic voice, the girls were taken right to the scenes and got very excited as their beautiful mother, who really did resemble Lana Turner, the actress of the 1940’s, read Eloise at the Plaza without a flaw… The two sisters sat back under their covers and sipped their chilled Canada Dry Ginger Ales and munched on simple saltines. They looked satisfied. And Mrs. O. smelled so fresh and good and elegant. In the night Eliza could still smell her mother’s expensive odor and that was long after she’d left their bedroom and went out, or retired for the evening.
The odor actually sometimes lulled Eliza to sleep because usually their mother would spend more evening time with them when their father was away at his factory. It was a simple arrangement and everyone sort of liked it, because Victor Osberg could be very strict, even on Lena, who was a ravishing beauty and held just as much, if not more stature than her hubby Victor O!
Sometimes instead of reading to the girls, Mrs. Osberg would sing to her daughters, but they absolutely loved when she would sing an opera standard called “Papers” about a Jewish concentration camp woman trying to escape and who is stopped by the Nazis. She is being interrogated by a German officer. “Papers, Papers,…What is your name, Magda Salone, Age 42…,” Mrs. Osberg would sing the words in a high soprano opera emotional stance… Sometimes it was overwhelming, but spectacular all the same. It was as if Lena became the concentration camp woman trying to escape. The emotion on her face, her facial expressions and the way she sang the opera with a lot of gusto and emotion. She thrived on it. She loved it and secretly regretted not singing in the opera.
She sang as if she lived it. Then the sisters would reenact the song and laughed their heads off as the song intended them to do, even though its theme has sad and tragic undertones. The girls would sing and mimic the words…so much Jewish emotion, which opera seemed to thrive on. How many children’s mothers were classical pianists and opera singers?
Eliza sipped her Ginger Ale loving the taste of it. It relaxed her. She would always remember how her mother would bring the Ginger Ale and crackers before bedtime.
Also on occasion, as her daughter sat listening, Mrs. O. would sing the same songs she’d played on piano for them. One of the Osberg Daughter’s favorites was when their mother sang and played a song about a big brown bear! The kids would go wild and even Lena would lose control and play like a bartender piano in a saloon, but only for a minute or two and then it was back to the classics.
The most interesting thing Eliza noticed was her mother’s thick Brooklyn accent, and then the woman would sing and sound totally different, so styled and classically trained, not a note off, not a NY accent out of place! Singing so beautifully her accent disguised and Eliza and her siblings and father heard a high soprano, 4 octave range.
“My wife Mrs. O., what a beauty. She really does look like Lana Turner,” thought Victor Osberg. People would stop her on the street to see who she was; on occasion she was mistaken for Carol Channing, and she’d really be Channing and the kids and hubby got such a kick out of it.
“Mrs. Channing, you didn’t say you had children or that your husband was so handsome???”
“Oh yes, these are my kids and husband,” Mrs. Osberg would play along, even autographing napkins and playbills. But she did it as a gag really. And now Eliza understood why actors like Paul Newman didn’t want to give out autographs. But they got through it and went onward.
Another thing Eliza loved about her mother was how every now and then she would do a magic trick at the dinner table, which was fun and light hearted. One trick Eliza remembered was when Mrs. Osberg had a napkin but it was a sheet of magnesium paper that glowed when she lit it up. It was great fun. In fact, if not for Eliza’s mom, their dinners would most probably have been more low key. Instead they were electric, fun and lively with candles, flowers and glamour. Mrs. O. knew how to entertain well.
Eliza had seen first hand how her mother could take over a room. All eyes went to her. As if she was some celebrity… And other than in school, Eliza was proud of her mom. Maybe because Eliza’s school was mostly poor blacks and Hispanics that she felt out of place when parent’s day rolled around and her mother came to the school. Unlike all the other parents, who stood to the side and dressed down and plain looking, so as not to startle or scare their kids, Mrs. Osberg was the opposite. She didn’t mean to do it in a negative way. Mrs. Osberg was a strong personality and she was what she was…
As the teachers put the kids through their paces, Mrs. Osberg went straight over to Eliza and sat next to her and prompted her. Lena wore a white Chanel suit, a long skirt with a floor length grey mink coat, a big whit e floppy stylish hat, and a Gucci purse, smelling like Neiman Marcus!
“Would anyone like to read?” asked Mrs. Greenberg.
Mrs. O. raised her hand … “Eliza… My daughter will read!”
You could have heard the tiniest pin drop out of an earlobe!
“Anyone else,” echoed another teacher taking part.
No one dared answer. The room was frozen all eyes, some averted but still gazing at the woman in white across the classroom!
Eliza just started it… She began to read clearly and just a tad bit shaky at first… It was like someone else was reading and she was watching from above. She felt a dizzy, a strange light headed sensation as she felt the urge of wanting to scratch an itch between her shoulder blades. She didn’t even realize what she was reading, maybe it was the Canterbury Tales, or maybe even Beowulf! She stumbled over one or two words. Her mother corrected her softly. All of a sudden there was a ringing in Eliza’s ears and she felt her face turning bright red, her whole body in a cold sweat but she read on not really comprehending what she was really reading. She could smell her mom’s distinct glamour odor. Out of the corner of her eye she watched her mother in the limelight as the other parents stood to the back of the classroom some trying to feign non interest, others looking boldly on in shock, and dismay… Some whispered quietly, eyes squinted, lips in a tight fake smile. It made Eliza so uncomfortable, so isolated, so apart from where she wanted to be.
Eliza realized her mother was no Princess Grace, but she felt what maybe Princess Grace’s kids felt… Or even the Kennedy kids upstairs from the Osbergs… They felt it too, but Eliza was dead sure that Ethel Kennedy did not go to her kid’s schools and sit beside them while they read, or make her kids feel different! There was a big difference… But Eliza felt what they may have felt… She was sure of it.
It was attention she didn’t want or relish. Usually the black kids picked on her constantly, but even they had gone underground about it after Eliza snitched on them in such an offbeat and odd way. It would be something that would follow Eliza the rest of her life in different forms. Not the snitching, but the way Eliza went about getting grounded again after such an event took place.
TRUMAN CAPOTE “DIRTY TOENAILS”!
The first time Eliza had seen or noticed Truman Capote was one evening when the Osbergs were on their way to dinner at the Coco- Cabana, a new supper club in their neighborhood where the movie “The French Connection” was filmed.
Mr. Capote got into the elevator from the hallway on the 38th floor penthouses. He’d just come from visiting and drinking with Joanna Carson, and things were not going well between her and husband, talk show host Johnny Carson; it was well known in certain social circles and in the tabloids.
Capote always had been intrigued with emotional upheaval and immersed himself in it on purpose. It fueled his writing so when he saw the Osbergs, he was dissecting them closer even though he’d knocked down a few Vodka Sours with Joanna. He seemed amused when he heard a riveted Eliza whisper to her well dressed father, “Daddy, he smells weird, and why is his nose so red?”
“Shhhh, be quiet Eliza,” scolded Lena Osberg all decked out in a white sparkling gown and Barbra Streisand’s mink coat. There was something about this family that lended an underlying upstrungness that could not be denied! Things seemed to be swirling around them like bees to honey. It was a very high energy probably due to Mrs. Osberg’s personality and aura, which was so up and dazzling.
Anyone in the building with any sense could see that Eliza was a tomboy through and through. Glinda had cute looks and her smile was bright and glistening; the brothers Roy and Richard were clear faced, but slightly overweight in the cheeks, like you want to pinch them every second like a doting grandmother!
Capote heard at the meeting that Lena Osberg was an accomplished opera singer and concert pianist. He’d love to sit down and chat with her. She also did a stint on Broadway as well. Intriguing and interesting signals he received. The children seemed orderly but he’d heard stories from Joanna that they were rambunctious and loud. She had also filled him in on the Kennedy play day that went so awry.
“But J Dear, aren’t I as rambunctious and loud as the kids too! Capote wore a plain blue denim shirt with blue jeans, shoes with no socks. The elevator man seemed a bit overly friendly with the Osberg girls, and they were chatting non stop to him. It bothered many but not Truman.
The next time Eliza and Truman Capote crossed paths was the following Sunday when
the Osberg kids were on their way to the bike room in the East Tower, then over to the park next door to the UN Plaza.
He noticed Eliza’s huge feet. She smiled up at him, reminding him of Pippy Longstocking! Her sister was very petite and cute, pixy girl cute, like a shiny button! Capote wore his signature straw hat, dressed down jeans and shirt with an antique silver flask filled with the best Russian Vodka money could buy hidden in his shirt pocket. He was walking his bulldog Maggie, who was an unruly and unfriendly jealous animal that you only petted if you liked the sound of snapping teeth and a low grunting growl.
“Your nose is red,” said Eliza. She kneeled down and petted his dog.
“What’s the dog’s name?”
“Maggie, but she might bite you!”
“You smell funny,” said Glinda.
Both girls broke out in innocent laughter. Capote was not fazed, in fact, he found it quite amusing. It’s a good idea to get down to a kid’s level and try that on…
Maggie got nervous with all the talking and clamor of children in the elevator’s small space. She barked a hoarse whisper of a yelp and bared her crooked missing teeth and backed up against the wall.
Adolfo was on duty and joked with the Osberg kids. They were not like the usual indifferent children that lived at the UN Plaza. Those kids were snotty and aloof, but the Osberg brood was like the piñata swinging at a fiesta. It was fun to tease them and pretend the elevator was stuck, and then shut the lights out and say, “We’re going to go sideways!” Adolfo would do a funny ’23-Skado’ dance step when he said it! The kids loved it, but Eliza was scared most of all because of her earlier ordeal at the amusement park when she a mere baby.
Everyone who worked in the building joked around with the Osberg kids, some tenants not liking it. Having hired help fraternizing with the most nosiest and unruly neighbor’s children was like fingernails against a blackboard for some.
“Why is your nose so red?” Asked Eliza looking up at Capote, trying to suppress a grin.
“I’m Santa Claus,” he quipped back at her. Capote needed a comeback and observed Eliza up and down with his piercing blue eyes squinting merrily. He was looking for something. He found it and pointed to her sandaled large feet and said loudly and clearly “And you my dear have ‘dirty toenails’!’” He emphasized “dirty toenails”.
Everyone in the elevator, even Eliza, cracked up, including the operator who was supposed to be akin to the London silent guardsmen you tried to make laugh.
“Dirty toenails, dirty toenails, dirty toenails,” laughed Richard.
“That’s right,” said Capote. “Dirty toenails! Not mine, hers! Mine are clean he said removing his expensive Italian shoes with no socks.
Even Eliza started to laugh because her toenails were uncut and dirty. It wasn’t a very pretty site, and her feet were also oversized for her age, so the 10 year old tomboy stuck out like a sore thumb with a size 8 shoe!
From that time until they moved, when Truman and Eliza met he’d utter the 2 words that would have them cracking up and roaring with laughter. It became infectious, because most in the vicinity knew Truman Capote and what he wrote and stood for. After a few months it was almost like Capote and Eliza shared a strange friendship. Even when they’d spot each other in the lobby or when the elevator door opened they would acknowledge each other almost fondly. It was odd and many did notice and told Mr. Osberg. He would roll his eyes after they’d told him and left him standing dumbfounded in the elevator almost having to ride all the way back up…
It was almost as ludicrous as when Johnny Carson invited him to go skydiving in the coming months since they’d moved in the building. Victor had declined the offer and it was at a building party so Johnny had a few in him and Osberg brushed it off as they sat together talking about the latest issues. Carson thought Osberg had a good head on his shoulders and was interested in what made his lace mill tick and how he managed to balance his time and shuttle between New York and Rhode Island!
But it would a few weeks later when Mr. Osberg was out of town at the lace factory. It was during Eliza’s spring break. She’d gone by herself to the park when she bumped into “The Grass Harp” author who was about to drive away in his Aqua blue convertible Mercedes with Maggie in the back.
“Well, it’s the ‘Dirty Toenails Tomboy!”
“Hi Red Nosed one,” teased Eliza back at him, not batting an eye. Suddenly she felt like Tatum O’Neal in the new movie that was becoming the rage “Paper Moon” with Ryan O’Neal! Eliza felt like that character Tatum played. She sidled up to his car, the steering wheel on the opposite side than American cars! She boldly petted Maggie. “I want to have a ride,” she half demanded just as Maggie snapped at her fingers.
“I don’t know, Maggie doesn’t like you very much. She’s jealous…”
“Please, it looks like fun!”
Truman was debating with himself. He felt a bit drawn to this offbeat little girl. She sort of made him feel like a child again. Blurting out whatever came to mind, running wild through the elegant lobby, unknowing of the right manners or decorum or at least pretended not to. In a strange way his main character from “In Cold Blood” had a slanted innocence under the surface.
“Okay, hop in. I’ll tool you around the block….”
“Great, thanks!” Eliza climbed in and seat belted herself in.
Sammy the Doorman helped Eliza and shut the snazzy door of the vehicle. He knew very well how Mr. Capote drove and maybe that he might be a bit tipsy. “Does your mother know about this, Eliza?” He asked in earnest, only trying to protect the little girl.
“Yes Sammy,” she lied while sitting in the front seat of the Truman Capote’s blue Mercedes. He took off with a screech and picked up speed fast, leaving the doorman stunned and worried. Even Tom at the front desk stood up when he saw Capote driving off with little Eliza Osberg in the front seat!
Eliza’s curly, frizzy hair blew in all directions. Maggie began barking her whispery yelp, but by now Eliza was not afraid. Truman maneuvered the car expertly, but with more speed and gusto than more drivers out that day! He wasn’t a pro, but more of a speed demon. It was in his blood as well as expensive Vodka!
They raced up Beekman Place, and onto 1st Avenue, and then took a fast turn onto Riverside Drive. Eliza watched the picturesque towers from all angles and since it was the first time she’d driven in a convertible she was very excited and it showed on her exuberant flushed face, her curls whipping in the warm New York City wind.
“So,” yelled Truman, above the din of the engine and wind. “You lied so easily to the doorman!”
For some reason, Eliza trusted Capote. He had a very dry sense of humor but he right away seemed to relate when he started with the ‘dirty toenails’ banter with the girl.
“Yea, I lied to Sammy, but I wanted to go!” Said Eliza trying to emulate the Tatum O’Neal character Adie Prayer from Paper Moon!
“Look, even Maggie likes me now,” said Eliza. She was gently stroking Maggie's fur back and the dog was responding well. Truman was impressed.
“Hmmm, you must be ok then…If Maggie lets you pet her like that!”
They sailed along Riverside Drive at an even pace, then Capote suddenly gunned the engine and they sprinted easily by the UN Building in the flashy car, drawing lots of attention which was Truman’s intentions in the first place. They drove onward toward Tudor City where a virtually unknown Robert Redford lived. In that moment Truman Capote and Eliza were so much alike!
Capote would never be able to live it down, but he liked Eliza, more than he would have other children. Even the Kennedy kids were a bit droll after Capote met Eliza. They had a reputation, and could not be children, but more like mannequins. How sad.
Eliza had spunk and chutzpah and it’s the little kid enthusiasm she showed, more than most of the other snot-nosed kids at the UN Plaza had, and Truman liked that about Eliza. But it was time to get back to reality as he reached into his front pocket and retrieved a small silver flask and took a sip. He stared at Eliza and held out the flask.
Eliza really felt like Tatum O’Neal now! She related to that character and was the same age as Tatum in that movie! She pretended in her head that she was in that movie and it fueled her imagination to the hilt.
“What’s that?” Asked Eliza, already knowing, but playing cat and mouse.
Truman ate that up. “Magic juice!”
“Can I have a taste?”
“Well that all depends. It’s pretty strong juice for adults!”
Eliza seemed confident. “I can take it. My dad let me try his Vodka once! And
I also tried it at his dry bar and mixed my own Vodka drink once. I added Ginger Ale!”
“What? How could you! Ugh…”
“That’s what is in the flask,” Eliza said and winked, trying to emanate the confidence of Tatum!
“I know that.” She smiled brightly at the famous author as he smiled wryly at the girl
“If I give you a swig do you promise not to tell anyone?”
“I promise,” said Eliza earnestly.
“Now don’t lie to me like you did the doorman!”
“Oh, I won’t!”
His glassy blue eyes pieced Eliza’s brownish green ones. Slowly he passed his precious flask of grade-A Russian Vodka to the 10-year old girl. She took it and mimicked Tatum O’Neal’s character in Paper Moon deftly. She put the flask to her lips and took two huge big sips and swallowed with no problem, which surprised Truman Capote. Eliza felt the warm liquid go down her gullet and into her stomach. She immediately felt light headed and warm and uplifted, slightly drunk already.
“Okay Dirty Toenails, that’s enough for you,” joked Capote as he yanked the flask out of her strange looking fingers.
They both started laughing and carrying on as Capote drove back toward the Towers again and took another swig.
“Feeling tipsy, Eliza?”
“Oh yes I am Mr. Capote!”
“Know any good jokes?”
“Yes… Truman Capote,” she quipped.
“Very funny young lady!” He joked with her amiably.
“Ladies and Germs, can I have your attention!” Screamed Eliza at the top of her lungs as they passed a group of Japanese tourist about to enter the famed UN Building.
“Eliza, you are drunk,” he spat out. He gunned the engine to the hilt until Eliza thought it would burst into flames, but the liquor made her suppress the fears of her childhood.
“Yes, I am drunk,” she said tipsy-like.
“I better get you back,” he said, sort of not wanting to go back. He reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a breath spray. “Here, open your mouth little girl,” he said to the kid.
Eliza closed her eyes and opened her mouth wide. She enjoyed his attention. “Ha, ha, now I smell like you!”
“I don’t want your dirty toenails! And I’ll bet you can sing like your mother!”
“Wow, Mom can sing so well,” said Eliza absentmindedly. She was watching some small commotion with a taxi and a bus by the time the sun began to set behind the Twin Towers in the foreground.
The car sped back onto the UN Plaza driveway and just one last stretch along Mitchell Place. By this time Eliza felt just a bit woozy but also elated. She had made a new friend and would not betray him. She got out of the car and headed to the park first to see who was around. After playing in the sandbox for awhile, then sliding down the largest slide, she walked slowly toward the UN Plaza, stopping in the garage to say hello to Lev, Gemma’s husband who now worked for the building. He noticed she seemed a bit more subdued than her usual high strungness but said nothing. Eliza then ran up to the bank of elevators, pushed the button and rode it all the way up to the 38th floor. She got out and walked around the penthouse level where Capote lived. Cliff Robertson lived on one side and Johnny Carson on the other. It was quiet but the hallway was decorated very richly and smelled fresh and crisp. She wanted to see what Truman’s place looked like. Maybe one day. It was a strange friendship. She also had an urge to ring Mrs. Morralt's apartment and run away and hide just to bug the ex model. It was hard for Eliza to believe that the older, silver-haired ‘bitch’ was really a model on a runway with a smile planted on her pretty face. Eliza did not see Mrs. Morralt pretty and really put her in league with Mrs. Morralt, both witches and mean spirited.
She didn’t ring Morralt’s buzzer, but walked the patterns of the rug and slowly pushed the elevator button. Thank God the quiet elevator man Hugh was on duty and she did not have to talk. But the man was still sort of eerie and dark when all he would do was hum some useless ditty as if the tune was German or Dutch, or whatever Hugh was. Once back downstairs she played a great game of monopoly with her sister Glinda then watched TV and had dinner when she felt sick. She ran into the bathroom and threw up and Gemma gave her Pepto Bismol which worked.
HOW MUCH IS THAT KETCUP BOTTLE IN THE WINDOW?
It was no secret that Lena Osberg had a penchant for ketchup. Supposedly, her mother Hazel was such a rotten cook that Lena, as a child, had to dump ketchup on everything, even chicken! It became a running hilarity with her husband Victor and their friends. Ketchup jokes, ketchup bottles, ketchup gifts, ketchup made in glass and crystal of all colors and sizes, but the most blatant ketchup object of all lasted for the years that the Osbergs lived at the UN Plaza. A 6 foot blow-up plastic Heinz Ketchup bottle that hung in the kitchen window 23 flights up!
The ketchup bottle was visible within a few blocks to anyone who happens to gaze up at the glistening UN Plaza twin towers; Eliza knew that tourists visiting the UN must see it. The large, oversized plastic ketchup bottle was like a beacon drawing the eye to it. When Robert F. Kennedy was shot and the media converged on the towers, anyone with a keen eye watching the news must have seen that ketchup bottle in the window; postcards that came out during that time showed the UN Towers and the ketchup bottle was seen in the card. A few t.v. series shot at the Towers and when a long shot of the UN Plaza was flashed on screen the famed ketchup bottle was spotted!
The history about that ketchup bottle started when Herbert and Eva Glass purchased it at Saks Fifth Avenue as a gift gag, but Eliza’s parents got such a kick out of it that they ended up hanging it in the large kitchen picture window. Believe it or not it caused a slight furor in the building meetings when some tenants complained that it was more of a blight. It was discussed about, voted on and the Osbergs had won the right to keep it hanging. And it did until the family moved in 1976. Eliza would always remember that ketchup bottle. Her friends at school loved it too. And if not for the positive votes by Johnny Carson (who liked Eliza’s mother and father), Cliff Robertson, Dina Merrill, Ethel Kennedy along with Herb Glass and the husband of Lena Osberg’s friend Della Krenz (who was president of Bloomingdale’s at that time). The final count yielded a vote from famed author Truman Capote to keep the ketchup bottle in place.
“It’s like a work of art by my good friend Andy Warhol!” Said Mr. Capote. “And his Campbell’s Soup masterpiece will be worth a pretty penny one day, so I vote that the ketchup bottle remain in placed,” said the flamboyant author of “In Cold Blood”.
But on the other side of the fence there were the “non-fans” of the Osbergs sense of design. Truman Capote’s and Johnny’s neighbor on the penthouse floor Mrs. Morralt and of course the couple on the 8th floor the Marette's whose children avoided the Osberg kids like the plague. Mary Lasker also wanted it down. It was rumored that Lasker had another apartment across the street from the UN Plaza at Beekman Place, and that she was simply using her place at the UN Plaza to store and collect some of the finest art in the World. She was known to have filled her 20th floor apartment with works and masterpieces by many known artists.
“It isn’t very classy and looks bad,” the petite woman said in a low voice. “Mrs. Osberg, it certainly doesn’t reflect the high class and nuance you and your husband portray when you first applied to be a tenant here!”
“No taste, I agree,” said Morralt.
“It’s like bad advertising and low class-ish looking!” Chimed in Mrs. Marette. “They’ll airbrush it out of a postcard, say by Hallmark, then send ‘us’ the bill…I won’t pay it and I won’t take it!”
“I can’t believe you’ve all voted to have it remain! Has the world gone mad?”
“Oh shut up Ladies,” piped up Capote. “It’s different and breaks up the monotony a bit. And if they send us a bill, ‘I’ will pay it!
“So will I, Capote,” said Osberg.
“Me too,” said another man in the back who usually was quiet. It was Mr. Love who lived next door to Mr. Osberg. Love had broken through all the rooms and made it one big apartment, like a studio and it was rumored he was trying to get Willie Mays buy it or rent it maybe. Eliza got a fast glimpse of the baseball great the first time he’d looked at the place.
“I’d feature it as a gag on my show if I was in charge of that!” Said Johnny kiddingly.
“The building would not allow it, Mr. Carson,” said Mrs. Lasker.
“I figured, but everyone knows the Osbergs are good people.”
“Sure they are, we not disputing that, but since we are on the subject, I think the Osberg children conduct themselves atrociously in the lobby,” said Mrs. Marrate.
“Aren’t all children rambunctious at some point,” asked Mrs. Kennedy.
“To a point, yes, but I know for a fact that there has been a rash of complaints.”
“They throw things out of the windows and someone is going to be hurt,” said another snot-nosed wife of a banker.
“It’s got to stop,” said the manager Mr. Williamson, a swirl of cherry pipe smoke ringed around the rotund man. “In a matter of a few days I’ve got complaints about them and I’ve tired to talk to you Mr. and Mrs. Osberg!”
“Hey, hold’ up, is this about a ketchup bottle in the window or my kids?” Asked Mr. Osberg, growing a bit hot under the collar.
Everyone started to talk at once, some shrilling. Mrs. Osberg with her Soprano opera training made her voice heard as she began to protect her brood!
“Now just a minute, just a minute, who do you think you all are?”
“I agree, don’t get down on the Osbergs! Let them keep the damn ketchup bottle up!”
“Really, the children are another issue to be brought up at the next meeting please!”
Mr. Williamson pounded the gavel several times. “Meeting adjourned.”
So the ketchup bottle stayed, but the children were never really reprimanded for their behavior, partly because Mr. Osberg was out of town half the week, and he didn’t want to scold or dole out any spankings and would have rather played games and joke with them, or discuss things with them like adults even though they were just kids. He missed his kids when he was in at the factory, but the lace business was very good and he couldn’t stay away. But at least Fern was there to clean his apartment and they would drink coffee together and chat about his children mostly.
Mr. Osberg told Fern about the building meeting and what was said.
“Don’t worry Mr. Osberg, they are all bark and no bite!”
“I’m concerned,” said Mr. Osberg. “People were also talking about the kids, that and how they’re acting up in the lobby and some other incidents.”
“Oh, don’t let that bother you!” Fern sipped her 3rd cup of coffee that morning. “Those kids are all great. God has blessed you, Mr. Osberg.”
“Victor, yes. Those kids are alive and vital. Don’t get angry about it, even if there is some truth to the complaints.”
“For Godssakes, they want us to take the ketchup bottle out of the window.”
“Really? Well honestly Victor, we can only pray for them.”
“I would imagine.”
“Compared to what’s going on in the World now with Vietnam, they’re acting very petty. People are getting shot and are dying and they’re worried about a ketchup bottle?”
“Seems so… It almost sounds ironic!”
“They were not all against us.”
“Well that’s comforting,” answered Fern.
“Carson and Capote were in our corner and Mrs. Morralt and the Marrates were in the other,” he said. “Mary Lasker didn’t approve either, but Ethel Kennedy threw her vote for us, majority rules!”
Fern laughed a deep, almost baritone laugh. “That’s funny, Victor.”
“I know,” Victor smiled.
“So, no fisticuffs?”
“No, but Lena was fit to be tied, you know her.”
“Yes, I do.”
“She’ll fight tooth and nail for those kids!”
“I would too! But Mr. Osberg, I mean Victor, Eliza is a very special child.”
“I see that.”
“Yes, very bright, but the other kids have beauty too, but you should really focus on some things with Eliza. She’s got so much talent!”
“I know it, and I’ve always encouraged her!”
“I think she has a very good imagination and I saw her building this project with wood, and she’s got some interesting art talents too,” bragged Fern as if Eliza was her own child!
“Oh, yes, I’ve noticed. You know Fern, just because I’m away from home 3 days a week doesn’t mean I’ve not noticed.”
“Oh, I wasn’t saying that, but I just think Eliza is very gifted, as are all your children, Victor.”
Fern took the coffee cups and put them in the sink.
Meanwhile, back at the UN Plaza it was coming up on summer when the kids would go off to sleep-away camp. Before Eliza, Glinda, Richard and Roy left for their perspective summer camps in Maine, the 4 kids were playing around in the kitchen. Gemma was busy with her sister Marge making a rum drink with nutmeg. School had just gotten out so they were punchy and rambunctious, having thrown a variety of items out the window, made many phony phone calls and went through their mother’s scarves drawer when Roy saw the ketchup bottle hanging on a thread ready to fall down due to the heat of the sun.
The bottle had hung there for so long so Roy grabbed at it and it fell onto the kitchen floor. He began kicking it and Richard joined in, as well as Eliza. They were laughing and hooting when Glinda heard the commotion.
“You better stop that,” warned Glinda, who did have an inbred sense of being the snitch. “You know how Mom loves that ketchup bottle.”
They didn’t listen and kept up their play.
“Hey, stop that!”
Gemma and Marge looked up and didn’t realize what was going on. Suddenly Roy gave ‘Heinz” a swift kick, which knocked the breath out of the bottle that had hung there for years undisturbed. The 4 watched the coveted ketchup bottle deflate like the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz did.
“Ohhhhh, uh-oh You are in big trouble now!" said Glinda.
Eliza laughed and Richard left the kitchen, retreating to his bedroom. Roy was stunned and just stood there in shock.
“What’s going on?” Gemma and Marge stopped mixing their rum concoction.
“Kiss me dede, Ras,” said Gemma.
“Who did that?” Asked Marge.
“Roy!” Said Glinda.
“I did not, you did it,” argued Roy, trying to pin it on his younger sister.
“No way, you were kicking it, I was just laughing,” argued Eliza.
“Told you so,” piped up Glinda.
Roy picked up the now deflated ketchup bottle, his face on the verge of crying. “I didn’t mean it,” he said sadly.
“Wait until your mother hears about this, get to your bed, get to your bed,” screamed Gemma half-heartedly trying to chase them out.
Marge piped in, “Kiss me Grand Auntie Ferry, Ras!”
“Wait, I have an idea,” shouted Eliza. She ran to her bedroom lickity-split and got some scotch tape, clear. She picked up the plastic bottle and turned it around and saw a small hole in it. She deftly scotch taped the hole inside and out. Then Eliza gently blew air into its original shape. Roy was so happy he started jumping up and down cheering. Gemma got up on the window sill and re-attached it. “Okay, now be good, or get to your bed!”
Roy hugged his sister and Richard came in from the bedroom and was amazed Eliza had miraculously fixed it.
“You are so smart Eliza, thanks,” said Roy.
“No problem Brother,” said Eliza.
“Don’t tell,” said Roy to Glinda, who was infamous for squealing.
“I won’t,” she promised.
The 4 kids turned their attentions to Gemma and Marge who had gone back to their rum drinks. The smell of nutmeg and rum permeated the kitchen as they added eggs and milk and began mixing it with an egg beater. All was well again and Roy never even went near the ketchup bottle after that day.
ELIZA MEETS COLONEL KLINK FROM HOGANS HEROES
Victor Osberg could never sleep well so he stayed up very late watching the tube. Eliza too had trouble falling asleep and it was offhandedly because of her father, but tonight she still felt tipsy from the Vodka she shared with Capote. Her mind raced with thoughts of ghosts and monsters under her bed, and sometimes her imagination would run away with her and she’d think snakes were in between the folds of her sheets. Glinda would be comatose the minute her cute little head hit the pillow, as with her brothers and mom.
Because Eliza was traumatized by a trip to an amusement park where her dad put her all the fast rides so he could watch her better and not leave her alone while her brothers and he rode the rides. That extreme experience left the then 3 year old Eliza practically shell shocked and scared of her own shadow, especially when her father had brought her into the spook house at the park and that left her jangled and nervous at night, hence the insomnia the 10 year old experienced presently.
Her father had his TV on very loud and she kept tossing and turning until the sound of audience laughter floated into her dark bedroom chasing away the evil apparitions. She got up and headed for her parents room down the long hallway, passed her brothers who were snoring away. She popped her head in and saw her parents. Mom was sleeping like a dead woman, the TV noise not affecting her in the least.
“Dad, can I stay up with you for awhile? I can’t sleep.”
Usually Victor would shoo her back to bed, but this time he relented. “Alright, but then sleep, okay?”
“OK,” said Eliza, running for their big comfortable bed.
“Pop on in,” said Mr. Osberg, making room for her.
“What are we watching?”
They began talking and Eliza felt close to him, even though he did travel a lot and was not around 3 days out of the week.
Eliza recalled the first time she’d realized he was not at home and she told him as the commercials rolled on the TV.
She’d been having a nightmare soon after the amusement park incident. Worms were appearing behind her white wicker headboard and she was screaming and thrashing until Eliza felt mom’s hand rousing her awake. Eliza was crying hysterically so her mom tried to carry her and have her sleep in their bedroom. Eliza resisted until they got to Mrs. Osberg’s bedroom door and Eliza saw her father was not there. She slipped into her parent’s bed and fell fast asleep until morning when her mother told her that her father always commuted, but even if he was there he would have come and taken her out of the bedroom into their room in an instant.
As the standard Carson music opened up and Johnny started doing his monologue Eliza laid back and tried to understand the humor, which was obviously for adults.
Victor laughed at almost every joke and Eliza understood some of them, especially the ones about the Vietnam War. They watched the whole 90 minute show that featured Tiny Tim singing “Tip Toe through the Tulips.” Eliza and her dad laughed uncontrollably. Buddy Hackett, the comedian came on and cracked them up too, then Carson did a skit with Carol Wayne that hinted at sex and big boobs which Mr. Osberg got. Finally, as the show started to wind down Don Rickles came out and did his usual shtick! During commercials Eliza would ask her father questions, usually about current events.
Her father loved her enthusiasm and it was stimulating and fun to answer his daughter’s questions. They were very insightful as well as very creative and intense and Mr. Osberg did his best to fill her in on all her questions…. Eliza was always peppering everyone with “questions!”
During a commercial break Mr. Osberg asked, “Did you know he lives in our building?”
“Of course, I’ve seen him and I’ve talked to him!”
“Really, in what way Eliza.”
“Oh, dumb stuff in the mailroom and in the lobby…He's mean Daddy!”
"What are you saying he's mean?" Victor sat up. "Eliza, I hope you didn't upset him!"
"He's so mean, and on t.v. he is so funny and pretends he loves people, but he doesn't like kids!"
"It's t.v. Eliza, remember that he's acting, just like any other show on t.v., now stop saying he's mean!"
"I told these ladies on the bus that he was mean and they couldn't believe it!"
"Eliza, stop that and don't mention things like that! I raised you better than that, you are not some poor girl from the gutter, and saying Johnny Carson is mean is gutter talk, so stop it!"
"I'm sorry Dad!"
“I’m becoming a bit concerned about what they are saying in the building meetings, Eliza,” said her father sternly. He didn’t want to upset anyone and he knew better than anyone else how hyper his kids were. “Eliza, I don’t want any problems or I’ll ground you and your brothers and sister if I hear one more thing, do you understand?”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
“Dad, come on!” Eliza sat up ramrod.
“No 'come on, Dad…' I don’t want to hear about my children’s rap sheet in the meetings so you better not be causing trouble, or instigating it…”
“Well keep it that way.”
“OK, love you Dad,” said Eliza and when Carson was half over, she crawled out of the bed. She kissed her dad and he kissed her and gave her a bear hug. “Good night Sweetie, remember what I said, okay?”
"Yea, love you dad..."
Eliza returned to her shadowy bedroom and lay back down. Dad was now watching an old movie with the TV still blasting but she did fall asleep finally after pretending she didn’t hear it or just blocking it out until he had to turn it off around 3:30 am. Then before they knew it another day was dawning.
ELIZA MEETS COLONEL KLINK FROM TV SHOW HOGANS HEREOS
It was Friday night, right before the Osberg kids were to depart for summer camp in Maine … all 4 Osberg children went, and that would free up Gemma to enjoy her own family an summer when Victor and Lena went traveling to Sardinia and Europe, but it was to be a special Friday dinner and a very close friend of the Osbergs, Elle Moss, was coming by with her boyfriend Werner Klempner who played the Commandant on the TV show Hogan’s Heroes. Gemma was going all out to make the dinner elegant and classy, with the help of Mrs. Osberg. The table was set with the Osbergs most expensive silverware and crystal, except for Eliza who had plastic and unbreakable plates. Last year when they celebrated Roy’s 13th Birthday they’d pulled out all the stops with fine china, food and entertainment. Mrs. Osberg brought out her fine paper thin crystal. During the meal Eliza held the delicate wine glass and got Glinda’s attention by holding the precious expensive crystal glass between her teeth to make her younger sister laugh.
As they both carried on, Eliza pressed too hard with her mouth and a chunk of the $100 a glass crystal broke off.
Mrs. Osberg almost had a full blown cardiac arrest when she saw what had happened. Mr. Osberg rarely hit his kids, but he saw how upset his wife was and knew how much she coveted her china and dishes.
“What was that, Eliza,” he yelled.
“It was an accident Dad!”
He reached out over the table and slapped Eliza square in the face, which was startling, especially to the company that sat at little round tables around the dining room. Eliza’s cousins, Lauren, Dina and Stan were shocked as well as her Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Kelley.
“Go to the kitchen and eat the rest of your food there. Get out of my sight,” yelled Mr. Osberg.
Eliza got up with tears in her eyes and was crying and hiccupping. She did as she was told as everyone began to relax again.
So now she spotted the fake crystal and plates by her place. It didn’t bother her like it used to… And in the end it was better.
It was going to be some special dinner and evening of good food, and music. Werner was bringing his violin and Eliza’s mother was going to sing some opera and standard songs accompanied by Mr. Klempner.
The Osberg children adored the show Hogan’s Heroes and were looking forward to meeting the funny bumbling actor who plays the Commandant Klink!
The moment came around 6:00 PM when Elle showed up with her famous date. They stood in the hallway as the children filed out and were introduced to Werner, who looked like his character except he had a lot of freckles. They went to the living room after giving Mr. Klempner the grand tour of their wonderful spacious apartment, skipping Eliza and Glinda’s bedroom.
“Oh, that’s the zoo!” Said Roy.
Werner laughed. “I was the same way as a child. I was lucky to be able to find the right color socks.”
In the living room they all discussed the latest political situations, Vietnam and lighter issues about the lace business and what the state of Broadway was these days!
Talk leaned toward Lena Osberg’s stage career and beautiful Soprano Opera voice. They chatted and discussed the latest rages and talked drifted to Werner’s TV role of a Nazi Commandant.
“It’s just a part, nothing more,” he said, flitting his hands nervously too and fro, trying to make light of it.
“But you’re doing a Nazi, doesn’t it bother you a little?” asked Mrs. Osberg.
At first, but we’re in our 6th season and I don’t think much about it anyways. It’s a job.”
“Do you get fan mail?” Asked Eliza, totally intrigued with him.
“Yes, of course I do,” he answered strongly. “More than you’d think.”
“Do you answer back and send your photo with an autograph?” Asked Eliza on cue.
”Yes, sometimes, but not really,” he answered back cryptically.
“What’s Hogan like?” Eliza was on a roll.
“You mean Bob Crane?”
“He’s very likable and a very funny talented man, but he’s very intelligent….”
“Stop pestering him with questions Eliza," said Mrs. Osberg.
“OK. Just one more…. Can you say that one thing you say to Hogan?”
“What?” He feigned ignorance, but knew what she wanted, everyone did!
“Can you?” The company, even his girlfriend looked on eagerly, trying to hide it badly.
“No, I don’t think so,” he snapped.
“He turned away from Eliza and talked to his date.
Glinda sidled up to Werner. “Oh please, can’t you just do it once?”
“No!” He said it firmly.
“The kids were disappointed, but then dinner was announced and they all floated into the dining room decorated with burning white candles, white table cloth linen and fresh white flowers.
At the table they served wine and a before dinner appetizer and salads. It was scrumptious faire.
Everyone was talking and laughing and relating. Eliza asked Werner again between the banter. “Can you just do that thing once?”
“Will you stop pestering him,” scolded Victor Osberg sternly.
“It’s alright,” I actually get that all the time.”
“Sorry about that,” apologized Eliza.
“Can’t you do it please,” asked Richard shyly, his voice squeaking like a mouse in his nervous shyness.
“Is it fun being on Hogan’s Heroes?” Asked Roy out of the blue.
“Yes it is, but it’s hard work keeping up that energy my boy,” said Werner not missing a beat. He enjoyed it all. It was then that he turned to Eliza and said frankly: “Eliza, you have a very special effervesce! But you are all very special too!”
“Say thank you to Mr. Klempner, kids!”
“Thank you,” they all said together in unison.
“Dinner was excellent, Mrs. Osberg,” said Werner.
“Why thank you Mr. Klempner.”
Eliza came up behind him and whispered. “Can you do the Hogan thing please?”
“No Eliza I can’t,” he said seeming to get exasperated.
They all went to the living room to listen to Mrs. Osberg sing to Werner’s Violin.
He played the instrument with much fanfare and energy. Eliza remembered one particular episode where the commandant plays his violin for a fake record Hogan’s men are making.
“When you played in that one episode I didn’t realize you were really playing the violin!”
“Yes I was, and it was my idea,” he bragged.
All that evening all the kids were asking him to do “the Hogan thing”. He declined, even after Mrs. Osberg sang many opera standards that he played to on his violin. It was mystifying to Eliza.
“Kids, stop,” said Mr. Osberg.
“Leave Mr. Klempner alone children,” said Elle.
“In fact, get ready for bed now, it’s late,” said Mr. Osberg.
“Okay,” they all said filing out.
The children got ready for bed. They were all in their matching pajamas and had brushed their teeth. Gemma supervised. They filed back in just as Werner and Elle were leaving. Goodbyes were said and Werner complimented Mrs. Osberg on her wonderful singing.
“You are so wonderful Lena, I’m very impressed,” he said, every bit like his character on TV, just a little bit softer and not so stern and arrogant, almost shy.
“Thank you! My pleasure,” she answered demurely, the true social hostess.
“You have to come back again,” said Mr. Osberg.
“You play the violin lovely,” added Mrs. Osberg. “Very sweet.”
"Children, say good bye to Mr. Klempner,” said Mr. Osberg gently.
“Bye, good night. Thanks.”
“Oh, thanks, I had a marvelous time.”
“We did too,” said Eliza.
He bent down on one knee. “Good.”
“Mr. Klempner? Can you…” Eliza begged…
“No, sorry…,” he said, abruptly getting up.
“Please,” they all asked again.
“Not tonight kids, I’m tired.”
The Osbergs walked the couple to the elevator as the kids followed.
“Mr. Klempner, please,” they all begged.
“Okay,” they all said reluctantly, but still hoping against hope.
The elevator came quickly and Eliza tried one last time. She just said,” Please Mr. Klempner, Please????”
He acted like he didn’t hear and went into the elevator.
“Please,” yelled Glinda, then Roy and Rich and finally in a last ditch effort, Eliza yelled, “Do it Mr. Klempner!”
The elevator shut and just as it was going to engage, an arm came out and pushed the elevator doors open. A bald head popped out and uttered loudly “Hogan!!!!! Now get to bed kids!!!!”
All the kids laughed and hooted and Werner Klempner threw them a kiss and left.
“He did it, he did it yea! Can’t wait until I tell the kids at school!”
GHOSTS AT THE UN PLAZA
The first apparition Eliza saw at the UN Plaza was a man in a grey jumpsuit and construction hat. She’d just returned from Sunningdale and was adjusting to being back at the UN Plaza in her own bed. He was stooped over the dining room table one early Sunday morning Eliza walked by. She’d seen something out of the corner of her eye. Her heart did a flip-flop when she’d walked in and the man came up, arms raised with a strange distorted strangled look on his ashen face. He was wearing workmen clothes and what looked like to Eliza as a painters cap. It was his face and aura that freaked the girl out. She ran down the long hallway to her parent’s room crying and carrying on about a strange man in the dining room. Mr. Osberg had just gotten out of bed and was about to shower and shave. It was Sunday morning.
“What were you doing in the dining room?” Asked Mrs. Osberg.
“I was passing by and looked in and saw this man.”
“Eliza you’ve got to stop this. Your imagination is running away from you,” said Mr. Osberg.
“I’m telling you I saw him!”
“Don’t go in the dining room again. You might break the Venus D’ Milo statue.”
“It already has two broken fingers, Dad.”
“That’s not the point Eliza,” said Mrs. Osberg. “Your father and I bought that in California from the Hearst Estate, so stay out of the dining room. “ Mrs. Osberg shut the doors leading into the brown paneled room.
Lena walked back down the hallway as Mr. Osberg took Eliza into the den where they began discussing spirits, ghosts and imaginations gone wild.
“But dad, I saw him!”
“I know you think you saw him, but it’s called a figment of your vivid imagination.”
“Nooooo, a ghost dad, a ghost.”
“Eliza stop talking nonsense now!”
“Dad, it was so real I could have reached out and touched him. I could even see his face.”
“What did he look like? And tell me straight,” asked Victor, getting drawn into it.
“His face was like he was surprised, like he was afraid too! But not of me, or surprised because I saw him. He was reacting to something else in that time frame!”
“Hmmmm, I see.” It made total sense to Mr. Osberg. His daughter may come off as an odd ball, but she was a brilliant girl, but too hyper.”
Mr. Osberg remembered a story he’d read recently about when they built the Brooklyn Bridge. Some construction workers lost their lives. Some said the impressions of these men were still visible. But he didn't want to say that to Eliza. Instead he called Fern and they discussed it after sending Eliza to do an errand.
“She’s always been different than your other kids, you know that!” Fern was sipping coffee and talking to Mr. Osberg from her cozy roomy house in Lyon Avenue, across the street from a small oil truck stop. Sometimes late at night in the middle of a raging blizzard, the oil trucks would pull up to the little rest spot, and re fuel, have a bite and a cigarette far away from the pumps….
“I don’t know what to make of it, Fern.”
“If she sees something than it probably is something in her mind.
“I don’t disagree with that. I just don’t know how to deal with it.”
“Just don’t discourage her enthusiasm, it’s so natural and fuels everything behind that gifted creative sense. Watch her as she grows….Just don’t judge!”
“I try not to, Fern. She comes up with some wild things.”
“Just monitor her. Sit down and explain things to her. And for Godssake, Victor, don’t give your sons hunting knifes!”
“How did you know…Oh never mind I know … Eliza!”
“Don’t be mad at the child. She cares deeply. She’s different than most kids, as well as all 4 of your kids, Victor. She’s a smart cookie. I think you already know that.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Listen, just try and calm her and don’t tease her Victor, and don’t let the others either. You remember when she fell at the club? No one believed her at first.”
”Falling is one thing, seeing strange men in our dining room is a whole other ballgame, Fern,” said Mr. Osberg looking out at the view of the East River and 1st Avenue.
“I know, but she can pretty much comprehend things better than the rest of the kids.”
“Yes, I realize that…”
“Yup, but open to knowledge.”
“Okay, I’ll agree with you on that,” said Mr. Osberg…
A few days later, Mr. and Mrs. Osberg had a small dinner party and had Mitchell the caterer do the food and favors as usual. Eliza and her siblings watched in the kitchen as Mitchell did his thing. Then later on when the company came, they made quick appearances then went to the boy’s room to watch TV.
The party raged on all night and to the early morning. Mrs. Oberg sang, there was laughter and Eliza heard a lot of men laughing and singing together. It was a good party that finally wound down around 1 AM. All was quiet by 2:00 AM, even Mr. Osberg didn’t put his TV blasting for once. It was silent. All of a sudden Eliza awoke from a dream she was having. She had sneaked into her parent’s bedroom and was watching them dress for a party. Her mother saw her hiding behind the love seat and began screaming at her hiding there. Then as Eliza stood up and ran from them in her dream she could hear drums and male voices chanting over and over, louder and louder. She suddenly woke up from the dream and it was quiet. She turned her head and looked to her right side of the bed and she spotted a man standing there, who at first looked like Mitchell the caterer to Eliza. Then he came closer to her bed. Eliza’s foot was sticking out of the blanket and rubbed up against the mysterious man’s lapel. He was tall with black hair and dark eyes. It wasn’t Mitchell. Eliza didn’t know who it was. The man turned to the side and Eliza saw his hair up in a bun like a Japanese Samurai warrior. He was wearing a black suit and stood close to Eliza’s. She could almost feel him breathing, but all he did was stare at her. She felt he wanted her to see his profile clearly when he suddenly turned to the side and came so close to her! Her foot was touching his jacket and she could feel the vibrations of her foot rubbing against the fine fabric, the friction. She tried to say, “…who are you?” but all that came out was a croaking sound. All of a sudden, drums beat again with chanting men and as the music got loud, the weird man popped like a bubble and disappeared. The room became quiet again. When the apparition Eliza saw disappeared, her voice came to life and she said to the darkness “Who are you?”
Eliza froze and couldn’t move for the longest time. She finally turned and pulled the hot blanket over herself and started to cry in fear. She knew she couldn’t bother her parents on this, but it was so real. She got up and ran quickly to her bathroom across the hall. Glinda slept through it just like when she’d slept through the hurricane when they stayed up in West Hampton at the Bath and Tennis Club!
Once in the light of the bathroom Eliza looked at herself in the mirror. She looked scared and panicked almost like the first ghost she saw in the dining room. How did Glinda do that? How did she sleep like a rock?
She went down the hallway and went into her brother’s room and watched them sleep feeling jealous. She went to her parent’s room and they too were asleep. Her dad snored like the lion (Oh the Lion Sleeps Tonight)! Her mother was the same lion but without the fire. Why did they all sleep so well and Eliza slept terrible. Well all except her dad, but this time her father slept soundly and she dare not wake him up because he truly deserved his sleep for once.
She slowly walked back into her bedroom, but decided to take her pillow and bedding and sleep in the bathtub. She went in and made a pallet for herself and fell fast asleep in the tub. She closed the shower curtains and closed the bathroom door and locked it. So if she over slept she could say she was in the toilet. She locked the door and lay down and soon was fast asleep. She felt much safer in the tub.
In the darkness of the dining room a flicker of an apparition, the construction worker Eliza saw … he was upset and riled up and had actually been killed when they laid the foundation of the UN Plaza.
The other ghost Eliza saw was also someone who might have been killed while the UN Plaza was going up. He’d fallen from the 23rd floor when a wind whipped up. He was the foreman. So Eliza did see the entities, but no one except maybe Fern believed her. She tired to explain to her sister Glinda and brothers, but they couldn’t totally grasp the concept. Neither could Mrs. Osberg and even Gemma guffawed it and didn’t want to discuss it. Eliza went in the bright dining room and stood by the Venus de Milo and stared at the spot she saw the construction worker. She made a mental note to find out if it could be true about seeing these ghosts. She would ask around. “I’m sure someone like Adolfo or an older building maintenance man will know, maybe Dum-Dum.
Eliza did ask and low and behold Dum-Dum knew something and told the girl that some men did get killed in the building of these towers. She told him about seeing the two men and his eyes got bright.
“Ya' know Eliza, I’ve been here since the building opened in 1966, and I saw some strange things too.”
“Can they hurt me, Dum-Dum?”
“No, just your fear can hurt you,” he said wisely.
“Yes, so remember this, as scared as you are of them, they are triply scared of you,” said Dum-Dum, who for once didn’t have that ‘Dum-Dum’ look on his face. He didn’t have his usual shot of whiskey yet either.
But to Eliza it made sense and she was relieved that someone understood and explained it to her. Although her father did, she liked Dum-Dum’s explanation better. And Dum-Dum believed her.
“Oh, don’t say nothin’ to no one about what I tells ya', Eliza,” he said.
“Oh I won’t.”
“I could lose my job and I can’t afford that. So mums the word, okay?” He put his rough hand out and Eliza shook on it.
“Don’t worry Dum-Dum, I would never tell,” she said, thinking of her excursion with Truman Capote and that day she got drunk with him and she’d kept her promise even though she was acting strange! And for once her personality hid her antics from her family, which for now was good!
MORE TO COME!
Here is the tale of PIRATES OF NEW PROVIDENCE published on Abet Music Label ABET MUSIC DIRECT LINK CLICK HERE!
PIRATES OF NEW PROVIDENCE DOWNLOADS CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO DIRECT ABET MUSIC SITE TO DOWNLOAD SONGS OF PIRATES OF NEW PROVIDENCE!
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Down Among The Dead Men CD
Fire Maringo (Download)
Dead Man’s Chest (Download)
Hills of Connemara (Download)
DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN
HAUL AWAY JOE (DOWNLOAD)
ROSEN THE BEAU (DOWNLOAD)
CAPTAIN KIDD (DOWNLOAD)
NANCY WHISKEY (DOWNLOAD)
ONE FOR THE MORNING GLORY (DOWNLOAD)
SAM'S GONE AWAY (DOWNLOAD)
New Providence is in the Bahamas Island where famous pirates Calico Jack Sparrow Rackham Anne Bonney Mary Read Blackbeard and many more to be named later. Our motto is EST TOTUS DE EPULAE.
The Pirates of New Providence came together as the story is told! It all began at The Drunken Mermaid Tavern, where any adventure worth having begins. Barracuda D'Morte was sitting at her usual table with a jug of punch in front of her. She had just returned to the Island of New Providence Bahamas from a treasure-filled cruise around the Caribbean and was feeling mighty pleased with herself. Sitting at her table were her cousins the battling D'Morte sisters, Bella d'Morte Donna d'Morte and Sweet Oleander d'Morte. She was trying not to listen to them argue when a strange man wandered into the tavern.
Roger (nicknamed The Red for his long curly red hair) Corcoran stepped through the door with a small bag of doubloons in one hand and a guitar in the other followed by his crew mates, Durty Lillie LaFey, Red Maria and Black Rory Harper carrying his lady, the Celtic harp. After a couple of tall ones, Roger began to play guitar and sing in his full baritone. Lillie began to blow a melodic harmonica. Rory put his arms around his lady and began to stroke the music from her strings. Barracuda liked what she heard and began to sing with them. Sweet Oleander, Bella Donna, and Red Maria added their unique harmonies.
Suddenly, Liberté Sparrow burst in from the room at the rear of the tavern with a bag of drums over her shoulder followed by a fellow carrying a stool and more drums. She started providing the beat for the ever increasing band. From behind the bar stepped the serving wench Tootie Flootie with her penny whistle, fife and flute.
Finally, from the darkest corner of the room, removing the black, hooded cloak that had hidden her Iron Bess the renowned swordswoman stood up and stepped into the light and opened her mouth. Her Celtic soprano was almost as good as her sword work and we welcomed her sweet descant to our songs.
Here endeth our story yet a beginning online Abet Music published Pirates of New Providence!
Down Among the Dead Men Down Among the Dead Men
Barracuda d’Morte (Amy Weyand)
Dictator Director, Vocals. I’m not mean, you’re just a sissy!
Bella Donna d’Morte (Deb Hicks)
Pirate Interpretive Language, Stage Manager, Chief Cook.
Widowed by nine husbands who all died during their wedding supper.
Black Rory Harper (Russell Chan)
Celtic Harp, Ukulele, Penny Whistle, Vocals.
There is only one Lady he cares to put his arms around.
Durty Lillie LaFey (Lillian Barnett)Harmonica
Loves to lock men in a trunk and throw away the keys.
Iron Bess (Sam Miller)
Celtic Soprano, Lethal Swordswoman.
Her father always said, “They’re gonna HANG that girl.”
Liberté Sparrow (Alison Alexander)
Beloved wife or stalker of Captain Jack Sparrow. Could be either.
Red Maria (Maria Blumberg)
Rain Stick, Vocals, Mastress of Ceremonies
Been there, done that. Bought the chemise, sold it for rum.
Roger “the Red” Corcoran (Brant Johnson)
Guitar, Vocals, Sex Symbol
He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
Sweet Oleander d’Morte (Zita Doyle) Vocals, half-sister to Bella Donna.
Sweet Petite Deadly.
Tutti Flutti (Monique Herrera)
Flute, Penny Whistle
‘Tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
Visit: Pirates of New Providence website
DOWNLOAD/CLICK ABOVE LINKS!
Down Among the Dead Men CD
Product ID : 64652
Fire Maringo (Download)
Product ID : 64652T1
Dead Man’s Chest (Download)
Product ID : 64652T2
Hills of Connemara (Download)
Product ID : 64652T3
Down Among the Deadmen (Download)
Product ID : 64652T4
Haul Away Joe (Download)
Product ID : 64652T5
Rosen the Beau (Download)
Product ID : 64652T6
Sam’s Gone Away (Download)
Product ID : 64652T7
Captain Kidd (Download)
Product ID : 64652T8
Nancy Whiskey (Download)
Product ID : 64652T9
One for the Morning Glory (Download)
Product ID : 64652T10
Parting Glass (Download)
Product ID : 64652T11
PIRATE OF NEW PROVIDENCE WELCOMES ANY SITE WITH PIRATE STUFF ON IT:
The history of piracy dates back more than 3000 years, but its accurate account depends on the actual meaning of the word ‘pirate’. In English, the word piracy has many different meanings and its usage is still relatively new. Today, some uses of the word have no particular meaning at all. A meaning was first ascribed to the word piracy sometime before the XVII century. It appears that the word pirate (peirato) was first used in about 140 BC by the Roman historian Polybius. The Greek historian Plutarch, writing in about 100 A.D., gave the oldest clear definition of piracy. He described pirates as those who attack without legal authority not only ships, but also maritime cities. Piracy was described for the first time, among others, in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey. For a great many years there remained no unambiguous definition of piracy. Norse riders of the 9th and 11th century AD were not considered pirates but rather, were called "Danes" or "Vikings". Another popular meaning of the word in medieval England was "sea thieves". The meaning of the word pirate most closely tied to the contemporary was established in the XVIII century AD. This definition dubbed pirates "outlaws" whom even persons who were not soldiers could kill. The first application of international law actually involved anti-pirate legislation. This is due to the fact that most pirate acts were committed outside the borders of any country.
Sometimes governments gave rights to the pirates to represent them in their wars. The most popular form was to give a license to a private sailor to attack enemy shipping on behalf of a specific king – Privateer. Very often a privateer when caught by the enemy was tried as an outlaw notwithstanding the license. Below we tried to outline a selective history of piracy, selective and arbitrary because there is so much that can be said about piracy and it is impossible to tell all. We hope that even this brief introduction will show the spirit and truth about the piracy the way we see it.
Well, it were only a matter o' time ...
... b'fore folks'd be singin' like pirates, too!
Pirate music podcast from The Theme Show - a 23-tune playlist of the best pirate songs ever (starting with Tom Smith's official TLAPD anthem, below), enough to fuel an entire Talk Like A Pirate Day party. Direct download link here. Warning: This is a *huge* file of high-quality audio, and it could take hours to download on a dial-up connection. Thanks to Tonya "Cap'n Ishtar" Taylor fer puttin'; it together.
The official Talk Like A Pirate Day Song
We're honored ... an' humbled ... an' all misty-eyed like, that the first song sent our way is from none other than Tom Smith, one o' the world's great filkers. Says Tom: "The melody's original, but you can hum it to almost any 3/4 pirate song, especially Steve Goodman's "Lincoln Park Pirates"."
It's Great to Be a Pirate
This tarrrrrrriffic pirate song was written by Richard Marcus and Johnny Caruso on spec for a never-produced sequel to Disney's Aladdin, and has been sittin' in their treasure chest ever since. Then Marcus read about Talk Like A Pirate Day, and decided to release it into the wild for our fans.
The Great Luke Ski
Sept. 19th, '06 brought a missive from The Great Luke Ski, comedy musician and most-requested artist of the 21st century on the Dr. Demento Show. (Luke is also one o' the background vocalists on Tom Smith's TLAPD Anthem, above).
He wanted to let us know about "You Don't Know Jack," an "original rock sea shanty" tribute to Captain Jack Sparrow, which he wrote earlier in 2006 and which stayed on Dr. Demento's top 5 countdown for 9 weeks straight.
"The Ego Has Landed," which comes with a three-song bonus CDR including "You Don't Know Jack.
You can also hear the complete song by crankin' up the Dr. Demento archives at http://drdemento.net/online.html - the song made its debut on June 11th, 2006.
If you or any of your piratical followers like it, it would mean a lot to this salty sea dog if you would let Dr. Demento know that you'd like him to play it again, by requestin' "You Don't Know Jack".
The Cardiff Rose - a traditional pirate chanty recited (with sound effects) by Viking Jim [.mp3]
Wooden Ships, Iron Men, a chanty by Bill Donohue [.mp3]
A Pirate's Life, by GRAMMY winner Marcy Marxer.
Pirates- by Brian Lockhart (lyrics only)
Pirates Home, by Brian Piontek (lyrics only)
Frankly the Pirate (lyrics only)
The IZOD Pirate(lyrics only)
The Gaudet Family Pirate Song (lyrics only)
Pirate Birthday Song by Rita "Calico Bess" Sherwood (lyrics only)
And, from Cap'n Slappy hisself:
I'm a Pirate (chantey for kids: [lyrics] - [YouTube video]
The Slappy Rap [YouTube video]
Available elsewhere, and recommended by our fans
A bunch o' piratized song parodies by John Small of Concord, Mass:
"The Argh Cheer & I-Feel-Like-A-Pirate Rag"
"Climb Up The Mast"
"Gangplank To Heaven"
"Step In Slime"
"Touch Me Peg"
"Walk The Plank Blighter"
The Ballad of Ann Bonny, by Andrew and the Bumboo Crew
Lyrics and chords to The Last Saskatchewan Pirate - by the popular Canadian band the Arrogant Worms (most-recommended song by visitors to our site).
Straight Outta Portsmouth - a pirate rap composed for NPR
Throw 'Em to the Sharks - by Stuart "Gumbo" Walker
The Worst Pirate Song, by Ceann na Caca, purveyors of Yankee-Irish Drinking
"Pirate, Arrrr" by Kevin Brennan
Frogbeard's Sea Shanty, by Cap'n Frogbeard (note: page plays music on loading)
Blymy the Pirate
Barrett's Privateers, by Stan Rogers (lyrics and link to his CD)
Pirate Encyclopedia: New Providence
The port of New Providence, located in the Bahamas, was once considered a pirate kingdom. In 1704, New Providence was abandoned as an English colony because of its susceptibility to Spanish and French attacks. However, what was considered a liability to the English became a haven for some of the most notorious pirates of the Caribbean. The port of New Providence would become home to such infamous pirates as Blackbeard, Jack Rackham, Henry Jennings and Samuel Bellamy.
Once the Spanish War of succession ended in 1714, pirates began to stream into the port of New Providence in droves. The port had several innate attributes that attracted pirates, for example the shallow waters enabled pirate sloops to anchor but prevented large Man of War ships to enter the harbors and attack the pirates. Another plus was New Providence's close proximity to trade routes, which allowed for a fresh supply of ships to be plundered. New Providence also supplied the pirate community with an abundant supply of natural resources, such as food, water and timber wood. New Providence was also very close to Nassau, the capitol city of the Bahamas, where pirates could spend their treasure on a variety of goods. Perhaps the greatest attraction to the port of New Providence for a pirate was the lack of a ruling monarchy. Pirates were able to plunder ships, spend their money in any fashion and never have to answer to anyone.
But eventually, Woodes Rogers a newly appointed Governor, dedicated himself to the eradication of pirates on New Providence. Rogers restored order through the granting of pardons for piracy, and his aggressive hunting of any pirate who refused his pardons. Once caught, the pirates were hung. After New Providence was rid of the pirates that once inundated the port, the island was changed forever. Today, New Providence benefits from the thousands of tourists that visit the Bahamas each year.
The roles of pirates and privateers are an integral part of the history of the Bahamas. However, in many cases, it is impossible to separate the facts from the legends. The activity of many of these pirates is well documented in what is now Nassau, but their activity in the “out islands” is less well documented. They came to these islands to rest and relax. They also came to these islands to careen their vessels in the shallow creeks, where they cleaned and repaired their hulls. They knew then as we do now that a clean bottom is essential for good boat speed. In many cases the success of a “cruise” depended upon the ability to speedily overtake their prey and out run their pursuers. Be assured that the pirates invested more effort to clean the hulls of their vessels than they did their own personal hygiene.
The distances and geographical features which made settlement and government difficult in these islands, also served to provide an ideal environment for those hiding from the law and authority. Charles Town, later Nassau, on the island of New Providence, became a major headquarters for buccaneers, pirates, and privateers.
For the purist, there are clear distinctions to be made between these various labels, however for the pragmatist, the line becomes somewhat blurred. Buccaneering arose spontaneously, among the French, against the Spanish. This unauthorized reaction was soon imitated, successfully, by the English. Sir Henry Morgan was one of the early successful “buccaneers” who made life miserable for Spanish shipping. He, among others made Nassau his home base. The Spanish, in reprisal for his successes, nearly demolished Charles Town (Nassau).
During war, this was considered legal so long as it was directed toward the enemy. Looting became legitimate, but few could contain themselves to their legal targets. Most believe the earlier Capt. Wyatt (1594) stayed for the most part on the legal side of that very fine line .
The first recorded act of “piracy” in the Bahamas occurred in September 1713. A French ship had sailed from Santo Domingo bound for France. The ship was loaded with sugar, gold, and indigo. The owner of the cargo was on board. Off the island of Inagua, a fire broke out. While the pilot worked to put out the fire, the master of the vessel ran her aground on a shallow sand bar, with no apparent damage to the ship. The master made no attempt to refloat the ship, but he just happened to have “friends” in the area who appeared in small boats to “save” the cargo. The owner of the cargo and the pilot of the vessel later complained in court. I’m sure you can imagine the difficulty of proving such allegations.
In 1714, the Spanish treasure fleet carrying the Royal taxes back to Spain ran into a hurricane and was washed ashore on the shallow reefs of Florida. While the Spanish authorities were attempting salvage operations, Henry Jennings catapulted his career as a privateer by attacking and robbing the poorly defended salvage divers. He then found it expedient to establish a “home base” in Nassau, where it was relatively easy to elude the Spanish Navy.
Jennings and many others of his “profession” found New Providence an ideal home base. The harbor was well protected and had two entrances, which made it extremely difficult for a single ship to completely “bottle-up” the harbor. Additionally there was an ample supply of fresh water, fish, turtle, and wild game for reprovisioning the vessels.
The island was well positioned between the westbound shipping lanes carrying needed provisions from Europe, and the eastbound shipping lanes taking gold and silver back to Europe. Other pirate captains soon joined Jennings and his band. The present site of Nassau literally became an impromptu city of two to three thousand inhabitants living in tents, huts, and onboard ships. Jennings became the unofficial mayor. The pirate economy prompted a significant “service industry” of traders, followers, and smugglers. In today’s jargon, they developed a significant “spin-off” industry, “fencing” the stolen merchandise. Redistribution channels included fellow pirates as well as legitimate markets in the Carolinas and the Spanish Main.
New Providence probably offered the wildest frontier of the entire New World. Yet these uneducated, unruly rascals seemed able to govern themselves with a kind of democracy unknown in the civilized world at that time! These independent minded outlaws possessed the same spirit of independence and sense of freedom which drove Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson down a more constructive path. Not only did these pirate captains run their ships democratically, but they also established a democratic society in New Providence. This sociological phenomenon is quite interesting when you consider the fact that these individuals were not reared in a society where voting was a household word! They also lacked intellectual contact with the outside world. There has been no satisfactory explanation of how this community derived its concept of self government. Jennings became the recognized leader of this motley band, but, relying heavily on a council of the other pirate captains, demonstrated uncanny “political sense”.
Edward Teach, alias “Blackbeard”, was one of those pirate captains who made a home base at New Providence. Teach was one of the few who rejected King George I’s amnesty offer in 1718. He chose to leave the Bahamas and pursue his career in the Carolinas. “Blackbeard” intentionally promoted his image as a brutal cutthroat, solely as an act of psychological warfare. Teach, a natural leader and politician, struck a business “deal” with Governor Eden of North Carolina. He agreed to pay the governor a percentage of his profits. From this new base, he continued his successful career, until Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia, commissioned Lieutenant Robert Maynard and Captain Ellis Brand of the Royal Navy to hunt down the infamous pirate. Lt. Maynard of the Pearl caught Blackbeard in shallow Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina. There, in a bloody battle, Maynard personally fought Blackbeard to the death. At “autopsy”, Blackbeard was found to have been shot twenty three times and had numerous cutlass wounds. During his life, he was credited with having fourteen wives. Some of his prowess can be credited to the conch he ate while stationed in the Bahamas!
Governor Spotswood of Virginia, who actually had jurisdiction over the Bahamas, was probably instrumental in persuading the king to send Woodes Rodges to New Providence as governor, to clean up the pirate situation.
Captain Woodes Rogers was an English sea captain and privateer, who had received much acclaim after his voyage around the world. In those days, it was unusual for a private citizen to embark upon such an adventure, much less complete it successfully. Not only was his privateering a tremendous financial success, but it came at a time when the British made heroes of fellows like Rogers, Henry Morgan and Sir Francis Drake. Part of his popularity at home can be attributed to the fact that he chronicled his voyage in what became a best selling book in its day, A Cruising Voyage around the World. In his book, he detailed the rescue of Alexander Selkirk a Scottish seaman found marooned in the South Pacific. This real life story became the basis for Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. One can’t help but speculate why such a man, given to writing and documentation, chose not to document so well his adventures as the first real governor of the Bahamas!
In 1718 King George I sent Captain Rogers to New Providence as the new governor. News of the royal pardon preceded Captain Rogers to New Providence because one of the pirate ships had actually captured a ship carrying a bundle of the reprinted proclamation, intended for distribution throughout the New World.
The entire population of the island was expecting him when Captain Rogers arrived with two warships, the Rose and the Delicia accompanied by two small sloops Shark and Buck. With this small fleet, Rogers was able to secure both entrances to the harbor at New Providence. This flotilla would not have been able to overpower the entire pirate community, but the Royal pardon had left the pirates divided. Some, including Henry Jennings, the founder of this pirate colony had already returned from Bermuda, where they had sailed to accept the royal pardon. Edward Teach (Blackbeard) had left in advance of Captain Rogers’ arrival to continue his career in the Carolinas with no intention of accepting the King’s pardon.
Only Charles Vane and crew were inclined to fight. Knowing that they were trapped, he accepted the pardon provided he could keep the stolen goods in their possession. Rogers, believing that the pardon was already sufficiently generous, declined to answer.
Vane, not inclined to part with his recently acquired wealth, and trapped in a small harbor by a much larger force, awaited darkness. They prepared their recent prize, an ex-French brigantine for a daring role in their nighttime escape. The guns of the French ship were loaded and pointed forward, toward Rogers’ Rose and Shark at anchor. The ship was then set sail in the general direction of the anchored ships and the ship was set on fire. The unmanned fire ship continued her course directly toward the Royal Navy vessels. As the cannon began to explode, the crews of the navy vessels were forced to cut their anchor rodes in order to save their vessels from a fiery collision. When the powder magazine exploded, the sky lit up enough to see Vane’s sloop escaping in the night. Vane then continued his pirate activity along the coast of the Carolinas. When in the Bahamas, he found safe haven in Green Turtle Cay. Vane later lost his ship to “Calico Jack” Rackam, when his crew voted him out.
When Vane was finally captured, he had shipped aboard a merchant vessel as an ordinary seaman. He was recognized by another captain and former pirate, put in chains and turned over to the authorities. At his trial, among his documented offenses was the taking of the sloop John and Elizabeth off the coast of Abaco. For his many acts of piracy he was hanged on March 29. 1720.
“Calico Jack” Rackam, who took over Charles Vane’s ship was another one of the few pirates who refused the pardon brought to Nassau by Capt. Rogers. Rackam is really best known because of two members of his crew! Anne Bonney and Mary Read both gained notoriety as the only two documented cases of female pirates in the New World. They each hid their sex, dressing and fighting as men alongside the other members of the crew.
JOHNNY DEPP AS JACK SPARROW PIRATE LOVES PIRATES OF NEW PROVIDENCE MUSICAL GROUP ON ABET MUSIC!
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl!
PIRATES MOVIE WITH JACK SPARROW STARRING JOHNNY DEPP PIRATES OF NEW PROVIDENCE HAILS THE MOVIE AS A SUCCESS!
Writers (WGA):Ted Elliott (screen story) &
Terry Rossio (screen story)
Prepare to be blown out of the water. more
Plot Outline: Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate "Captain" Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor's daughter, from Jack's former pirate allies, who are now undead.
British Empire / Pirates / No Opening Credits / 18th Century / Throat Slitting more
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 26 wins & 58 nominations more
Depp for Emperor?
(Cast overview, first billed only)
Johnny Depp ... Jack Sparrow
Geoffrey Rush ... Barbossa
Orlando Bloom ... Will Turner
Keira Knightley ... Elizabeth Swann
Jack Davenport ... Norrington
Jonathan Pryce ... Governor Weatherby Swann
Lee Arenberg ... Pintel
Mackenzie Crook ... Ragetti
Damian O'Hare ... Lt. Gillette
Giles New ... Murtogg
Angus Barnett ... Mullroy
David Bailie ... Cotton
Michael Berry Jr. ... Twigg
Isaac C. Singleton Jr. ... Bo'sun
Kevin McNally ... Joshamee Gibbs (as Kevin R. McNally)
Also Known As: P.O.T.C. (USA) (promotional abbreviation)
Pirates of the Caribbean (USA) (working title)
MPAA:Rated PG-13 for action/adventure violence.
Runtime: 143 min
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1 more
Sound Mix:DTS-ES / Dolby Digital EX / SDDS
Brazil:Livre / Italy:T / UK:12 (video rating) / Iceland:10 / UK:12A (original rating) / Malaysia:U / France:U / Argentina:Atp / Australia:M / Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) (original rating) / Canada:G (Quebec) / Canada:PG (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Ontario) / Canada:PG (Nova Scotia) (re-rating after appeal) / Chile:TE / Denmark:11 / Finland:K-11 / Germany:12 / Hong Kong:IIA / Hungary:14 / Ireland:12 / Netherlands:12 / New Zealand:M / Norway:11 / Peru:PT / Philippines:PG-13 / Portugal:M/12 / Singapore:PG / South Korea:12 / Spain:7 / Sweden:11 / Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) / Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) / Switzerland:12 Canton of the Grisons / USA:PG-13 / Greece:K-13
Filming Locations:Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines more
MOVIEmeter: 22% since last week why?
Company: Walt Disney Pictures
WILHELM SCREAM: Heard during the battle on the Dauntless between the Royal Navy and Barbossa's crew.
Goofs: Continuity: When Elizabeth has her hand cut in the first curse-lifting ceremony, the cut is made on the fleshy pad below her thumb. When she bandages the cut later, the bandages go down the middle of her palm, and wouldn't have covered the wound.
Young Elizabeth: [singing] Yo, ho, yo, ho/ a pirate's life for me/ Yo, ho, yo, ho/ it's a pirate's life for me/drink up me hearties, yo, ho...
Mr. Gibbs: [surprises her by coming up from behind her] Quiet, missy! Cursed pirates sail these waters. You want to call them down on us?
Norrington: [sharply] Mr. Gibbs, that will do!
Mr. Gibbs: She was singing about pirates. Bad luck to sing about pirates, with us mired in this unnatural fog... mark my words!
Norrington: Consider them marked.
Mr. Gibbs: 'Aye, Lieutenant.
[as he moves off]
Mr. Gibbs: Bad luck to have a woman on board, too. Even a miniature one.
Why was Jack Sparrow suddenly cursed?
Why weren't Will or Elizabeth Cursed?
If blood has to be repaid to lift the curse, how come Jack didn't have to do this?
I am nearly fifty years old. A sober grown man. With children. Children with whom I have now sat through hundreds of movies. Many of which I have enjoyed. And I am not completely hardened in my sophistication. The opening music to The Lion King brought tears to my eyes when my little ones were but wee tots. But still, these are after all just children's movies. In another life, I would never have seen them. And, really, one can't take such movies too seriously, can one?
And so, this summer, after the ritual badgering, I dutifully trudged into yet another Disney "adventure" movie. Named after that tired old ride in Anaheim I first went on in 1965. I mean really, how much can you expect?
And then, it happened. The swirling intoxication. The stunned feeling. What? Who? How? Was this a movie? Or a religious experience? Perhaps more like an addictive experience...
I cannot remember ever willingly paying to see any movie not starring a relative of mine more than twice, and I can count those movies on one hand. I have now seen "Pirates" four times. The only thing keeping me from seeing it again is the sense that this whole thing is just getting out of hand. I cannot get enough of it. It's like walking into a painting that you never want to come back out of. My children ask, with a note of concern in their voices, "Dad, you really like Pirates of the Caribbean a lot, don't you?"
And that Depp fellow. My God. I never had any idea who he was, but his name sounded like something created for a pubescent cover-boy for magazines published to hook thirteen year-old girls on make-up and bad music. Wasn't Depp the name of some hair-goo product back in the 60s?
I am a straight male. I have several good friends who are gay, but have never fantasized about any gender but the female. But now I understand how women can experience swooning crushes on male film stars. He is simply extraordinary. So sly, so seductive, so canny! I read an interview in which Depp said he went through a slight depression when he had to stop playing Captain Jack Sparrow. I can see why. His inventiveness and sheer pleasure in inhabiting the character come through in every frame. How can I admit to my children that I now troll through fan websites about a former teen heart-throb?
I often don't even watch the Academy Awards, and I certainly never have any emotional investment in who wins.
Except for this year.
And, in a time when many big-budget movies are little more than a hodge-podge of loosely- connected "money shots" this movie puts all the pieces together, with a sense of fun and light-heartedness in special effects that are simply dazzling. I find myself laughing with dizzy appreciation when Barbossa barks out, "You'd best be believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner, you're in one!" and the grinning skeletons come into view, with Badelt's pounding score keeping time to the beat of their maniacal deck-swabbing. And then there's the scene of the pirate-ghouls slithering up from the darkened sea on the mooring cables of the Dauntless, like infernal cats stalking their prey.
And now to the music. I can just hear the effete aesthetes dismissing this score, as Mr. Zimmerman anticipates with his winking "overproduced by" credit on the cover-liner. "Bombastic." "Overdone." "Absurdly Stupendous."
Well, perhaps it is, for those who spend their lives evaluating such things. To me, it is absolutely transporting. I first listened to it while doing a work-out on a rowing machine and found that I tripled my usual distance. It was like mainlining some hazardous tachycardic amphetamine.
Once again, the children were wondering, "What's up with Daddy? Is he OK?"
Perhaps I am just losing my grip, having an adolescent movie get to me this way. But when those final credits roll, and Captain Jack narrows his eyes and says, "Now, bring me that horizon. Drink up me hearties, yo ho" and the music swells ... it is difficult to put into words the effect it has.
At this point my children have to yank me forcibly from the theater, lest I persist in watching the credits to the bitter end, and bid good-bye to the little monkey once more, wiping tears of exultation from my eyes.
This is not just another "entry" in the summer blockbust sweepstakes. It is an exquisite work of fantasy and inventiveness, a true classic, on the order of "The Wizard of Oz." I do hope Depp's performance garners not just awards, but a place in the pantheon, something we old fogies -- and our gently fogeying children decades hence -- will show to our children and grandchildren like a revealed treasure. I cannot recall any movie having such an effect on me.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Why was Jack marooned?
Orlando or Johnny?
Captain Jack Sparrow and his coat!
The quirky ingenuity of Johnny Depp is on display in the new movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. It's not exactly as outrageous as his performances in the likes of Ed Wood and Fear in Loathing in Las Vegas, but he's still got his own distinctive touches on this pirate portrayal. The studio was concerned about him masquerading in ugly long locks, gold teeth and a goatee, but Depp refused to do the movie unless he got to dress his own way. Depp is one of the few Hollywood movie stars that upholds principles of creativity, the art of performance. As in any movie he does, he tries things with Jack Sparrow that haven't been done before in a pirate picture.
Hats off to PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END
As the summer of 2007 rolls along, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END has been quietly and steadily piling up box office receipts around the world. The latest take puts AT WORLD'S END's box office gross at $304.5 million domestic and a whopping $624.9 million international, for a worldwide total of $929.4 million. This places AT WORLD'S END fifth on the list of all-time moneymakers, exceeded only by TITANIC, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, its sister ship PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST, and the first of the Harry Potter films, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE. This is an amazing feat in a very competitive summer--congratulations to Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, and their marvelous band of pirates!
It's Captain Jack Sparrow vs. Davy Jones and the Kraken--at the New England Sand Sculpting Festival!
Just to show how thoroughly the influence of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films permeates popular culture, this year's New England Sand Sculpting Festival, held on Revere Beach in Massachusetts, features as its festival centerpiece an enormous sand sculpture of Captain Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl confronting the kraken and Jack's nemesis, Davy Jones. That's a bit of Davy Jones's face, rendered convincingly tentacley despite the decidedly non-slippery medium, in the thumbnail at left. To understand the size of these sculptures, check out this photo of Davy Jones with sand sculptor Deb Cutulle of Saugus, Massachusetts at work on the kraken tentacle behind him! Captain Jack implanted it forever in our imaginations.
百壑千山，匹马平川青山相待，白云相爱。梦不到紫罗袍共黄金带。一茅斋，野花开，管甚谁家兴废谁成败？陋巷单瓢亦乐哉。贫，气不改！达，志不改！ 主页博客|相册|个人档案 |好友 文章列表
呜呼吾意其蹉跎 2007-08-05 18:07
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