01. October 2015 · Comments Off on Navigation · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

When I began this memoir in 2013 I had no clear plan for how I would proceed.    On my opening page, The Big Picture, I describe what pushed me to even attempt such a daunting project.

After my son went off to school, I thought it was time to find out more about my mother’s world.   Researching and writing a novel based on her time and culture would be a good way to do it.

When I told my husband that I wanted to write a novel he did what he could to help.   He built me a self-sufficient apartment above our garage with bookshelves lining the walls.  It had its own entrance in the yard.  It was a room of my own.


4 R

Back of house with studio above garage at far right


After years of research and several abandoned starts, I still had not produced anything like a novel.    I was getting impatient with myself.

My husband says don’t worry about it.  You have no datelines.  The world is not waiting for your novel.  You are doing what you always liked anyway, traveling and talking with new people, fiddling with your computer and reading several books at a time all over the house.

Then he says I know writers.   You are not a writer.   You are a lover.

I saw instantly that he knew what he was talking about.

I am a lover of the present moment.   I will stay with the moment.  I will sometimes get carried away in the moment wherever it takes me.

When my mother was on her deathbed she said to my older sister take care of Doreen because she is wild.  I was only eight years old then but I sensed that my mother knew this about me.

Very early on, I left my camera at home when I traveled.  I found that taking pictures often interfered with the moment.   I wanted to be there rather than record it.

Still I am grateful that other people enjoyed taking pictures and shared them with me.  Often the pictures remind me of happy things I have forgotten.  However, no picture measures up to my memory of being there.

I did not feel compelled to write, and certainly not about reincarnation, until the events I describe on my opening page, The Big Picture.


How to start?  I decide to simply tell my life story from the beginning, chronologically as I remember it, and see what comes.

The memories of my childhood just pour out and all but write themselves up to and including my first year in the United States.

Then it becomes complicated.   To tell the true larger story I realize that I have to write in themes.

Beginning with the segment (Category) “Staying Alive” that is what I do.

If you read the subsequent Categories from the top down you will still notice a certain order but it is not so much chronological as re-enforcing a few central themes.  Sometimes I repeat and retell events in a new context.   That is how my memory actually works.

Eventually, hopefully, these themes and patterns also become clear to those of you who are still reading.

This is the best I can do by way of a Site Navigation map.


The title of this category, “Trajectory” sums up the flight plan, so to speak, that brought me to my husband, an essential partner in my journey.

The psychic said that in this lifetime I was to learn two things, wealth and service.   That is just how it happened.

It was through work, specifically service jobs that led to my meeting my husband.

I was born in a time and place in colonial Asia to a family with old money values.  Doing manual chores was never expected of me.  At that time doing manual work for pay was still considered a kind of fall from grace and “loss of face” for families like ours.  It was something to be avoided at all cost.

Unlikely as it was that I would learn service and continue in that path it is exactly what happened, beginning with my arrival in the United States.

I was sixteen years old.

My coming to the United States at age sixteen was extremely unlikely.  But the psychic also said that my life is in sixteen year cycles (see “The Reading”).   That also turned out to be accurate.

30. September 2015 · Comments Off on Keep Your Money · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Jasmin and I are both at Edgecliff College.   At Christmas break we go job hunting together.   What can we do?  We know that we can arrange flowers because people ask us to do this when they want something special.

We go to a popular local florist.  After testing us, they hire us on the spot.   We lucked out.

It is a wonderful time to work here.  The store windows are decked out for Christmas.    As you open the door, bells jingle.   People come in smiling.

Jasmin and I stand side by side at a large work counter.   They bring us a stream of fresh flowers, containers, baskets and customers’ wishes.   We make up each arrangement choosing quickly from the huge supply of baby’s breath, greens, pine cones, berries, ribbons and trimmings.

It gets busier and busier.   We work overtime.   Finally, the season is over.

When I open my envelope I see that they have even given me a small bonus.

From now on, keep the money you earn!

Why did I have to hear that from Muriel?


29. September 2015 · Comments Off on Muriel · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Muriel met my sister in Paris when she accompanied her uncle on a world tour.  They shared a table at an overcrowded bistro.  Muriel sends me a letter because my chatty sister told her that I am going to college in Ohio.

Muriel appreciates that I left home half a world away to pursue a college degree.   She herself had once left home for college back when precious few women gave a hoot about getting a college degree unless it was a Mrs.  She is a proud member of a club called University Women.

Muriel and I write back and forth.   She and her husband Bill live in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.  Last year, they lost their only child.   Frankie was just four.  He drowned while they were visiting Bill’s relatives in York, Pennsylvania.

Would I like to come and visit during Thanksgiving break?   She assures me that having a young person around is just the tonic they need.

Muriel sends me a roundtrip plane ticket.

Just before Thanksgiving break, a huge snowstorm blankets the whole Northeast and grounds all the planes.   Never mind, writes Muriel, trains are still running.  She encloses train tickets.

Muriel says you look about sixteen.   That old conductor carrying your bag, I never thought I’d see that.

I didn’t ask him.

If you had, he would have informed you it’s not his job.  Your sister was right on the button when she said people came out of the woodwork to help you, you’ve got that look.

I’m not as lost as I look.   Anyway, they say that God takes care of children and fools.

Muriel has a hearty laugh.

Your sister talked a lot about you.

Uh oh.

I heard nothing bad enough to scare me off.

Muriel drives a big old car with chains around its wheels.    We grind and skid on snow and ice up and down too many white slopes, but we keep moving.   I see snow plows but almost no other cars on the road.

Bill can keep his Chevy with its flashy tail fins, she says.   I will hang on to this old tank.   First car I ever bought.   It was a used car when I bought it, but it’s seen me through many winters.   We’ve got plenty of snow in Canada too but not hills like these.

The joke around here is that you can tell a native by his legs – one is shorter than the other.

Muriel and I stamp the snow off our boots on the porch mat and walk in the door laughing.

Bill pushes himself up from his winged armchair.   He looks confused.  I don’t think that there has been any laughter in this house for a long time.

Muriel finds something open we can go to each day – a floral show, a chamber music recital.  Bill stays home.

He shut down after Frankie died.   He made Muriel put away all Frankie’s things.   He doesn’t want her to display even a single photo of him.

Bill needs time, she says.  He was watching Frankie play with other small children by the river.   Then someone yelled out to him – Bill!  Touchdown!    He ran in for just a minute.   When he came out, the children were gone.

Frankie fell in the water and the other children panicked and scattered.

By the time Muriel came back from the grocery store they had dredged Frankie out, but it was too late.

Muriel married for the first time when she was thirty-seven.  She knows that Frankie was her miracle child and there would be no other.

Bill has two grown daughters from a previous marriage that ended in divorce.   And yet, he has been taking Frankie’s death harder than Muriel.  She understands why.

She says that when Bill was coming out of surgery, her colleagues told her that he kept muttering Frankie, Frankie, daddy will take care of you.

Just before it is time for me to go home, Bill asks Muriel to show me Frankie’s photo.  He means their favorite studio portrait that usually sat on the console in the living room.

I see a darling red haired boy with freckles and a happy grin.   It’s enough to break your heart.

They leave the photo on the console.   It is a hopeful sign.





Chevy with its fancy tail fins

Chevy with its fancy tail fins

28. September 2015 · Comments Off on A Step to Independence · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Muriel asks me how I manage my finances.

I don’t.

I can’t begin to explain that when I left home at sixteen, money was abstract to me.   It is even harder to say why I avoid dwelling on the subject to this day.

So Muriel asks me what jobs I have done.

I worked from the day I arrived at Grailville.

You were just a child of sixteen, weren’t you?

Yes, I had my birthday on the boat.

From the first day there I served large groups of people, cooked, cleaned rooms, did laundry, canned food, milked cows, raised calves, pitched silage, mended fences, baled hay, painted houses, and did too many other chores to name.

Your sister said you had servants at home and never washed a dish or made a bed.  Did anyone tell your family what you had to do at this so-called school?

No.  They thought I was going to a finishing school similar to the one my cousin went to in Switzerland.

I didn’t really mind the hard work so much.   I know that most Americans do chores at home.    A few of the girls I worked with really enjoyed cooking or caring for animals or even turning messes into rooms fit for meditation.   Their spirit was contagious.   They taught me how to be efficient, how to take pride in a job well done.

Once, for a few weeks the staff sent me to their city center where they have something called Family Service.  After a course on caring for babies I went to people’s homes to take care of families while the mothers were in the hospital.   I really liked that.

Was that a free service?

No, the families paid the center on a sliding scale.

Were you ever paid?


What about those paintings that got you the scholarship?

I don’t know what happened to them.   I was told to create six large paintings with an Easter/Passover theme.   All I have are a couple of sketches.

I was surprised when they told me that a college offered me a scholarship.   Since I was not allowed to put my name on anything, I don’t even know how they found out I was the artist.

I don’t think of myself as an artist.   I just produced art on demand, such as greeting cards that were sold at their gift shop.  Sometimes I was asked to help other artists with reproductions of their work which they sold.

So, they dole out to you only what they think you need or you did without?

You know, they are religious people.

Muriel will have none of that.

Listen, she says, I learned a hard lesson from my own uncle who is a minister.

My father was a country veterinarian.   He paid for my nurse’s training.   When I decided to get a college degree, I knew I had to pay for that myself.

My uncle was celebrated for his sermons and was much respected.  He and his wife had no children.  They always held themselves aloof and a bit above the rest of our family.

However, when they heard that I was going to put myself through college, they said they admired my ambition.  They began to do nice things for me.   They invited me to their home.   I went to church with them to hear my uncle preach.   He really could move a congregation.

They showed me off to their friends.  They took me out to dinners and an occasional show.  They bought me clothes and little luxuries.

They were so kind that I sometimes brought a friend along and got her a new dress too.

After I earned my degree, my uncle and my aunt handed me a summary of all that they had spent on me.   There was my share of all the dinners, the shows, shopping bills, even bills for telephone calls and laundry.    Every penny was accounted for.  This is what you owe us, they said.

I was flabbergasted but I did not protest.  Something told me that if I made a fuss I would be put in the wrong.   I swallowed my disappointment.   It took me quite a while but I paid them back every penny.

Look, Muriel says, you don’t have to explain another thing.   I get the picture.    I understand why after so many years you don’t even want to talk to your own family about what happened to you because it’s demoralizing.   It shakes up people’s faith.

Well, by some miracle they didn’t break your spirit, so you are right not to dwell on it.   You are still young, but you have to take a stand right now.  I have no reason to think that your situation is going to change unless you stand up for yourself.

Next time you earn money, keep it!

Don’t be afraid.   You have us now.  Bill and I will help you whatever happens.



27. September 2015 · Comments Off on Bottom Line · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Arlene takes me aside.   When Gertrude became ill and was sent back to Holland, Arlene came to take charge.

She has something to say to me.  She goes straight to the bottom line.

Since you are going to college and not contributing full time here you must pay for your room and board.

I knew that soon they would notice that I did not turn over my earnings from the florist.  Still, her bluntness shocks me.

What about the years I spent working for your benefit?

We gave you the chance to develop your talents.

You mean talents like cooking and cleaning, hard farm labor –

Arlene cuts me off.

You are being emotional.

She turns and walks away.

26. September 2015 · Comments Off on Bittersweet · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

When I tell Arlene that I am leaving in a few days, I am met with a stony face and an inscrutable silence which persists as the official position.   The staff will not acknowledge that I am leaving.

My friends and I say our goodbyes in our rooms.   All the girls got together and bought a travel chess set to wish me god speed and to remember them by.   Who can forget?  The jokes, the pranks, the mishaps, the rehearsals, opening nights, we did too many things together.

It will be hard to forget Jasmin, who sang in our choral group, who worked the Little Prince marionette in our production of the Grail legend, who worked with me at the florist, who was in my French class and helped drag me down the hall to the infirmary the day I got sick.

What will I do without Jo, who never ran out of ideas for things to do, who transformed dull dinners into luaus and festivals, who gathered us around her portable black and white TV for episodes of Playhouse 90 and Twilight Zone, and whose witty zingers made us laugh and brought us down to earth.

Jo held down the best job.  She was the person Gertrude could ask for help when her face suddenly broke out like a teenager’s.   Jo bought Gertrude what she needed, including makeup.


The night before I leave, Jo comes into my room with a new, white Samsonite carry-on.   Then she hands me an envelope which I am not to open until I am on the plane.

On my way to Pittsburgh, I am overwhelmed to discover that Jo has given me more than two weeks of her salary, enough to pay my tuition for a whole semester.

25. September 2015 · Comments Off on Working my Way Through · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

By the time I decide to transfer to this new college, the scholarships have all been given out.   The dean tells me that I can take a competitive test for a scholarship next year.

Most part-time jobs I can get pay pretty much around minimum wage.   Waitressing pays even less, only half as much because they figure in the tips.   But what I earn waitressing depends on where I work and how much effort I put into the job.   It has possibilities.

Muriel helps me find a good restaurant not too far away.   They need help for the dinner hours.   The manager lives nearby.   He throws in the offer to pick me up me on his way to work and drop me off after.

I learn to serve customers, and I make a decent amount of money.  It is a good feeling.

Muriel teaches me how to open a bank account, how to write a check, how to have exact change for the bus, how to buy discounted train tickets, and many other things I should have learned by now.


24. September 2015 · Comments Off on Throwback · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Muriel hands me the phone.  It’s Howie.


Doreen!  I’m Howie.   You know, your cousin’s cousin?

Oh of course!  What a surprise!

Never thought I would get a call from him, of all people.

When I was still in high school, he was at a college in New York.  It was from his letters and the music records he sent our cousin that we got the latest raves and college fads.

I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, a hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap, barrel and a heap and I’m talking in my sleep about you, about you…

Funny how a voice on the phone can evoke a catchy song heard years and years ago.

Howie is doing a stint as city editor at a Pittsburgh newspaper.   There he saw a photo of me dancing with a young man in an ad for a school benefit.

I meet his wife Lana and their infant son at their apartment.

Talking about college life, I say I am not doing as much dancing as you might think from that photo.  I posed for that ad with someone I didn’t know, to benefit a student organization I don’t even belong to.  They asked, and I was just doing my bit.   Truth is I have very little time for dances.

I tell them that I was at a girls’ college in Ohio where I had a four-year scholarship.  There I had all the time I needed to keep up with my courses as well as big sister luncheons and daisy chains and performing with my choral group.  The college was fine, but there were other, personal reasons that made me suddenly decide to transfer.

It was too late in the year to apply for a new scholarship at this university.   Now I’m working my way through.   I stay with friends in the suburbs, and I work as a part-time waitress.

Howie rolls his eyes.   Working as a waitress?   Don’t you know that you have to die first?

That is a throwback question from a world so remote to me now it may as well be the Byzantine Empire.

Howie is teasing.   This is insiders’ gallows humor.   We laugh hard.   And yet, we are still whistling past a graveyard.

We knew only too well men who failed to save their businesses and fortunes and found the loss of face so devastating that they chose to kill themselves.  They thought it was more tolerable to leave their children to the charity of rich relatives.

I think of the first time I stood in a restaurant waiting to serve a customer.  By then I had done my share of serving meals at Grailville.   I took serving for granted.

But as I stood there, about to serve the public for pay, something rose up from my gut.   I knew instantly what it was.

Don’t you know you have to die first?


That was a gut reaction from the dark side of my upbringing.   It was like some secret buried treasure we knew when to dig up and use to save face at any cost.

I suppose everyone has a way out.   We just happen to have the pride and vainglory of old money buried deep.

But I am not that girl in my grandmother’s world anymore.  That throwback moment never happened again.

Listen, Howie, you were the first one to give me the idea that in the U.S.A. it is okay, even admirable, for anybody to do manual labor.  Remember how you said that lots of boys in your college worked like that?   I think you mentioned unloading trucks or something?

I guess he might have joined them for fun and maybe for being one of the guys.  Howie did not need money.  He is an heir to one of the largest fortunes in Hong Kong.

At the moment he does not seem to miss that grand lifestyle he always knew.  Their apartment is modest.

He says he is standing his ground in a family dispute.   Good for him.

When I tell Muriel that Howie is my second cousin from Hong Kong, she wants me to invite them for dinner.   Bring the baby, of course.

Muriel loves to meet people from foreign countries, but I can see that the prospect of having a baby to fuss over, even for one evening, excites her.

I don’t really want to invite Howie’s family.   What would they have in common with Muriel and Bill?  Besides, McKeesport is a little steel town quite a long drive from Pittsburgh.   I’m pretty sure they won’t come anyway.

Still, I promised Muriel that I would invite them.  So I ask Howie and Lana, but not before explaining that Muriel and Bill had lost a son and all that.  I even joke that Muriel’s cooking is similar to hospital food, and they should not come for the food.  I make it easy for them not to accept.

They accept.  They will bring their baby too.

I do what I can to help Muriel with the cooking while resigned to humming que sera, sera.

Actually, it all goes quite well.

Muriel carries the baby upstairs to the extra bedroom where she and Lana change and fuss over the little prince.   It makes Muriel’s day.

I even got rid of one or two misconceptions that I didn’t know I had about spoiled super-rich Hong Kong boys.

Afterwards Muriel says what a lovely couple.  Whatever keeps them apart from Howie’s family will be reconciled.   He is the only son, and now he has the only grandson.

You don’t have to read tea leaves to predict a felicitous outcome.

As Muriel foresaw, soon Howie’s father called him and said something like you’ve had enough fun, come home.

23. September 2015 · Comments Off on Dumb Luck · Categories: NMM.Trajectory., Romancing the Edge

On Sunday I go to St. Mary’s Church by myself, since Muriel and Bill are Presbyterians but rarely go to church.

It is a long walk.  The sky is gray and threatening and I take an umbrella, but it is not raining.

A polished blue and white station wagon glides by and stops next to me.   A smiling golden haired young man leans out the window.

Where are you going?

I say St. Mary’s Church.

That’s on my way.  I can drop you off.

I get into the car and we go down the road.

He is dressed in his Sunday best.  I wonder whether he goes to Muriel’s church.

He looks over and says, don’t be all scrunched up by the door.

I’m okay.

Move closer, over here.

There is something in his voice that is a little too insistent.

I inch a little towards him and I put my umbrella between us.

Suddenly he makes a turn.

I tell him St. Mary’s is straight down the road.

I know.

Then  he turns again and we are at a huge construction site.  There are cranes, bulldozers and piles of building material all around us.

There is no one working here.

He stops the car.

Come closer to me.

I don’t move.

If you do what I say I won’t hurt you.

I don’t believe him.

He moves towards me.

His face has changed.  There is something in his eyes that is bewildering.

Why are you doing this?   You’re young and good looking.   Lots of girls would go out with you.

He stops.

I go on.  You don’t have to do this.

He still has that look but something in his eyes changed.

I go on.  What about love?

He turns his face away.  I can’t see his eyes.

Slowly he moves back behind the wheel and starts the car.

We arrive at the church.   We weren’t that far away.  Parishioners are everywhere.

I grab my umbrella.

Can I see you again?

Sure, I say, as I open the door and jump out.

Suddenly, he guns the car and speeds away.   At that, my knees buckle.  I stumble and I barely manage not to fall.

I slide into a back pew and sit down.

Only then I feel the terror.

22. September 2015 · Comments Off on In Town · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

I move to Pittsburgh.  I don’t have to get up at six any longer to catch a bus to the train station, commute to the city, and then hike up the bluff in time for early biology lab class.

They tell me there is an upscale Stouffer’s restaurant a short walk from the college, and that if I’m lucky enough to get hired I couldn’t do better.  I get lucky.

It is a lovely restaurant with spotless white tablecloths, chandeliers and candles.   Besides regular customers from the many companies nearby, there are always folks coming in to celebrate anniversaries or a night on the town.

The large kitchen is all shiny stainless steel.  The food is excellent.  Best of all, I get to eat dinner here every evening before work.   Since it takes so little time to get around, I can work here for about five hours every weekday.




I am the only student working dinner hours.  After we eat our dinner, the supervisor gathers us in a circle.  I learn tips about grooming, such as how a coat of clear nail polish does wonders, the worth of that bothersome hairnet and other such disciplines.  Then we go through the menu, the specials, and the suggested goals.  We are like a sports team.   More than that, these women make me feel like family.

At the end of the semester the supervisor, Mrs. McCann, tells me about the dreamiest summer job I could have.  The company has just opened a new restaurant on the top floor of a skyscraper in midtown Manhattan.

You get spectacular views of the city from all sides.  They built this one with all the bells and whistles as good as the finest.   They’ve got maître d’s, sommeliers, bartenders and busboys, all men, of course.   Restaurants like that usually have waiters too.  This new one has Stouffer girls.  How times are changing.

She heard that they got a spiffy new uniform for the girls.   It is a crisp white blouse with faux stud buttons and a black skirt, red cummerbund and a modified red bowtie.  I think they’re hinting at a tuxedo.   Only the black shoes are the same ones we wear here.

I had to invest in a pair of those particular black shoes when I took this job.   For a stylish shoe with a solid mid-level heel you can’t beat these for comfort.

Mrs. McCann says the job in New York won’t be easy you will have to reach a bit.  But I know you can do it.   This is your chance to make much more money than you can anywhere else.   When they call me from New York, I will tell them that we think the world of you and they will too.

I thank Mrs. McCann.   I am thinking this is why everyone loves this woman.   But I don’t say it because I know that it would embarrass her.   I say only that I will do my very best if they hire me.

As I walk out the door she says bring your shoes they still look good if you keep them polished.

She didn’t have to say it again.  If your feet hurt your smile will tell on you.

I won’t forget essential stuff like that.



21. September 2015 · Comments Off on New York, New York · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

I hardly know this city.   I was here only once before at a one-day conference, but if you can count it’s easier to get lost in McKeesport than Manhattan.

I make my way to 666 Fifth Avenue at Fifty Second Street.




The elevator zips up faster than I expect, the doors slide open, and I am at Top of the Sixes restaurant.   Everything looks new.

There are large windows all around and no other building blocks the view.  Even though I am not near a window I can see that I am high over the city.

A receptionist tells me that the supervisor has not come in yet.  I will wait for her.   I take a seat.

A man comes out of the office and tries to discourage me.   He says that they only hire professional full time waitresses, never students, and they already have a long waiting list of applicants.

I say that I came all the way from Pittsburgh and I will wait for the supervisor anyway.

Hours later, the supervisor comes in.

The receptionist greets her and motions towards me.

I get up as the supervisor approaches me.   Standing there, we start talking.   She turns out to be a much smarter person than the man who tried to send me on my way.   We have an agreeable conversation where I agree to pretty much everything she proposes.

My job will be to fill in for all the waitresses during their vacations this summer.  This is a very large restaurant taking up the entire top floor of the skyscraper.   That means that every two weeks, probably just as I get the hang of the navigation routes from the lounge to the bar to the kitchen to my dining station, they will rotate me to a different station.

They also want me to fill in for the waitresses who work the cocktail and after dinner late supper hours.

That’s six days a week, from around six in the evening until after closing time, which is two o’clock in the wee hours of the morning.

The supervisor goes to her office to call Mrs. McCann in Pittsburgh.

She emerges looking pleased, but I have to pass one more acid test.

The supervisor and her assistant sit down at a table, and I serve them a full three course meal, with shrimp appetizers, Pouilly -Fuissé burgundy that I suggest to complement their beef entrees, then lemon soufflé and double espresso.




I start my summer job tomorrow!




I look down at the dusky spires of St. Patrick’s across the street.   Shops have closed and there are few pedestrians.  Nobody lives here.

Suddenly lights come on by the thousands, sweeping across Fifth Avenue and turning familiar landmarks into competing towering light shows.

Here is the city that never sleeps, transformed by gazillion extravagant lights reaching for the stars.

It takes your breath away.


Top of the Sixes

                                                  Top of the Sixes


Hungry crowds are at the door.   Our maître d’ greets the guests and directs the seating.   He is a master showman ready to accommodate and spoil, or charm and soothe as there are never enough window tables.   His name is Robert pronounced the French way if you please.

Robert says that they come for the view, for the novelty of eating high in the sky, maybe for the food, but in any case we want them to feel so pampered that they will write home about it and tell all their friends.

The first wave is the early diners and out-of-towners that must be served promptly because they have tickets for Broadway shows.

Robert’s lucky ones follow the seating hostess to their window table.   She discards the “Reserved” card with a flourish as though it has been put there just waiting for them.

All the window tables have “Reserved” cards on them and Robert always leaves one or two tables available for last minute calls from VIP’s.

Very quickly all the other tables in the restaurant are taken.   There is an overflow crowd waiting in the lounge and at the bar.  Cocktail waitresses hurry back and forth with trays of drinks.




Robert and his surrogates float around helping us pamper the guests.   Here and there they take an order, toss a salad or open the wine.   They are the only ones allowed to play with fire so they get to light up crepes Suzette.

I notice that some of the waitresses resent the maître d’ for doing too much because they are afraid that he will be tipped at their expense.  We are all tipped individually and do not pool tips.

I come back from the kitchen where I placed an order for the couple at my table-for-two.   The hostess is seating another party of eight at my large table.  This is full capacity for my station.  No one is expected to serve more guests at one time.

As I am asking whether anyone wants refills of their drinks from the bar, Robert comes by, greets my guests, passes out menus, and highlights the specials.

After serving all the appetizers I am feeling so grateful for Robert’s help that I don’t even mind that he sold the grilled trout so well I have three of them to bone at the table.

Nobody ever ate better trout than Bessie’s.  Bessie cooks nothing but trout all night long on a hot grill.  She serves a perfectly charred fish whole on a sizzling platter which she proudly hands to us from the window at her grill, one at a time.

I rush a garnished whole trout to my guest.   It is something to behold but a little intimidating.   I offer to take the bones out.  No one ever refuses.   I quickly split the fish open with a silver knife and fork.   I stick a tiny shrimp cocktail fork into the bone at the tail end and with one swift tug I lift all the bones out at once.

Bravo, bravo!  Robert acts as though he hasn’t seen this a hundred times before.   As he spoons hot butter amandine sauce on the trout I fast-walk back to Bessie’s grill.

There is another grill in the kitchen where Joe grills sixteen-ounce prime steaks to order.   All the rest of the food on the menu is cooked in the huge kitchen of the other Stouffer’s restaurant at street level and shot up in high-speed dumbwaiters.


High-Speed Dumbwaiter

High-Speed Dumbwaiter


Hot food comes up piping.  Cold food is always chilled.  The high-speed dumbwaiters are something to write home about, but we don’t tell the guests.  It would be like revealing the tricks and mirrors in a magic show.

Robert is working magic, no doubt about it.

At the right moment the sommelier appears with the wine menu.  Robert helps our guests choose wines as though they are connoisseurs with finely cultivated palates.

By the time Robert lights up the brandy and raises the flaming pan of crepes Suzette for all to see, our table is a celebration of happy gourmets and everyone is watching us like a floor show.

I get the biggest tip ever.   No doubt Robert does too.

After the two dinner sittings, the lights dim, and the pace slows down.






Then the after theater crowd trickles in for late supper with a simplified menu of mostly eggs and cheese dressed up as Welsh Rarebit, mushroom omelet and lobster soufflé.   Bessie’s grilled trout stays in demand all the way to closing time.

Gradually the lounges fill up, and the bartenders own the rest of the night.

The clock says two, the last guest has been shown out, and we’ve been on our toes for at least eight hours.  Do we rush out of there?

Someone comes out of the kitchen with a tray of Welsh Rarebit, spinach soufflé, and eggs Benedict.   Other trays follow.  Any trout left?

When we eat dinner before our shift, we can order anything on the dinner menu except the grilled to order steak and the trout.  That’s because Joe and Bessie do not fire up their grills until the guests are seated for dinner.  Joe leaves after the last dinner order.  Bessie keeps grilling until the last trout is gone.  They come in fresh every morning and are not used the next day.

There are never more than a few trout left at closing time, sometimes none at all.   They get snapped up fast.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Bessie motioning to me from her grill window.

She saved a trout for me.  I’ve boned three of them tonight and she thinks I deserve to eat one.  Big hearted Bessie is looking out for the newbie.

I am deaf to the where did you get that remarks, slip into a booth and eat my scrumptious trout.

Guys come from the bar with wine and beer.

Some guy is strumming a balalaika and singing a Slavic folk song.   There is a lot of talking, joking, laughing, but no one is dancing on tired feet.





A wise guy raises his arm and waves a large bill in the air.

He calls out Robert (pronounced the French way if you please)!

Robert, do you have a window table for me and my cow?

We are convulsing with laughter, Robert most of all.

Is it true, Robert that you make so much money you have to pay the restaurant to work here?

Robert just chuckles and keeps mum and mysterious as the Mona Lisa



Mona Lisa lego

Mona Lisa Lego, 2010 by marco pece aka udronotto

It is the end of the season.   They give a dinner for the entire serving staff, something they do to sum up the season and pep talk the staff for what’s coming next.

I have worked my last day, but they invite me too.

At the end of the speeches, a company executive stands up and says he will announce the winner of the competition to sell the most wine.   What competition?  Someone tells me it was announced at the last pep rally before summer.

The winner is Doreen Cotton!

Amid the applause, they hand me a magnum of Dom Pérignon Champagne.

I would never have won that without Robert’s magic.


When I began getting tips, I opened a savings account at a nearby Chemical Bank.  It was never crowded when I stopped in to make my deposits, so I came by often with untidy bunches of bills and coins.

I got to know one teller quite well.   As my tips grew larger, Mrs. Martin joked that she had the wrong job, but if she had my work hours she would lose her husband.

Just before I leave for Pittsburgh I close my savings account.  Mrs. Martin hands me a bank check for a hefty sum.

I have already paid all my summer living expenses and even bought clothes for school.

I can hardly believe it, but I still have enough money to pay for the whole school year.

Back in McKeesport, Muriel and Bill get the champagne.   Bill pops the cork and we toast New York where I got Mrs. McCann’s “dreamiest summer job.”

Only in New York!

Muriel says you certainly kept up the pace all summer without a break.  What did you do for your birthday?

I didn’t remember my birthday.  It was just another hectic day at work.  But I had a surprise.

It’s about three in the morning.  I let myself into the foyer of the brownstone where I share the top apartment with another girl.  I brace myself to climb up the five flights of stairs to my bed.

Wow! What is this?  The entire stairwell is festooned with ribbons and balloons and little mobile cutouts with Happy Birthday wishes.  Ribbons trail all the way to my bed where there is a hand-made card and a single rose.

I didn’t even know that Trina was in New York.  She had come in the afternoon and talked the super into letting her do this.

Muriel says you have the most unusual friends.

This wasn’t just anybody’s mobile.  Trina is a talented artist.  Word of mouth got out, and before I ever saw it, people and their kids had come by all afternoon to enjoy her festive artwork.

20. September 2015 · Comments Off on Another Step to Independence · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

I had taken a test for a scholarship, open to all students with at least a B average.   It was an SAT sort of test, a general test in all subjects.   The results are in, and I am one of eight students who made it.

With the results they send me a form to fill out about my finances.   My answers will help them determine the amount of scholarship money I would need.

Now that I know I can earn enough money, as well as having Muriel and Bill’s help in an emergency, for once I want the freedom of deciding what is important for me without worrying about grades.

I fill out the application basically stating that I can manage financially by working part-time and with some help from friends.

They award me a small amount of money anyway.

I use the money to collect books for a library of my own.

There are books I want that I can’t find anywhere.   I start with Simone Weil’s Notebooks.  I write to her publisher in London.   I think they bind them to order.

Months later, the two volumes arrive.   They are so new I have to slice pages apart.   I am amazed that they actually bound them for a single student.    Because I had to hunt them down, I feel triumphant as I add them to my little library.   Today they are old and worn by handling and many moves over more than half a century, but they are still with me like relics of a bygone culture.

Where did I get the idea that I need a library of my own?



Old Student Collection

Old Student Collection



19. September 2015 · Comments Off on Crossroads · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

I know I want to live in New York after graduation, but I wonder what kind of job I would get.

My pal Lorna tells me that TWA is interviewing for stewardesses and they are flying girls to St. Louis.  She thought it would be a lark and a great way to see the world before we settle down barefoot and pregnant and never get the chance again.

You can ask to be based in New York City, she adds.

TWA free



I arrange to postpone a couple of final exams.   They fly me to St. Louis.   I fill out an application and take a written test.

As soon as I meet the woman who is interviewing me, I know that I would not get the job.

You’re not five feet four, she snaps.

Is height an issue?   I say they measured me for my passport when I was sixteen and that’s what it says.

She is not interested in my passport.

From there it goes downhill.


Just before Graduation Day, Dr. Hazo tells me that I have been awarded an internship to Washington.

What is that?

It’s the Kennedy White House.  They gave out twelve internships to twelve colleges, and we got one of them.   You have been chosen.



INTERN~1 copy


This is President Kennedy’s Washington, being an intern there must be exciting too, even though the job is not in New York City.  How much do I really want to go to New York?


An airline ticket arrives in the mail.   A young man I know has gone to Southern California.   He writes that the weather is warm and sunny and so are the people.   He asks me to go and see for myself.

I don’t want to encourage him.   I can’t accept his ticket.

But it got me thinking about California.   I have relatives there. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to go there on my own?  Maybe I’d like it as much as New York.

In any case, there is no reason for me to remain here.  Muriel and Bill are gone.   Bill took early retirement.   They sold their house, put their things in storage and are traveling around the world.


Out of the blue, I get a letter from a girl I met in New York.  Mary Ann is an acquaintance, part of a group of young women I hung out with.   I think she is secretary to a lawyer.

Mary Ann says she is coming to my graduation.   Why?

She has always wanted to go to a college graduation and thinks it would be fun to come to mine.

Mary Ann flew in on a red-eye special cheap flight.  She convinces me that I should go back with her on the same return flight.   A friend of mine takes us both out for a little celebration till it is late enough, and then he drives us to the airport.

By morning I am in New York City and looking for a job.

Margaret comes by.  She heard through the grapevine that I am looking for a job and that I was a philosophy major.  She works at AT&T, America’s telephone company we all know as Ma Bell.  Margaret was a math major and now works with computers.  She says they are looking for philosophy majors even more than math majors.  Margaret sets up an appointment for me.

This is how it will go, Margaret says.   First, you will fill out an application.  Then you will be given a tour of the computer department where you will be given a written test.

I know nothing about computers.

It doesn’t matter.  These are just fun tests like games with symbols and mazes.

If you get the job, the Vice President will take you to lunch at Teddy’s.  That’s a favorite restaurant for business executives, and it’s just a short walk away.  There he will tell you the good news.

That’s the routine.  Good luck!


I have a business card that someone gave me two summers ago at the Top of the Sixes.

The hostess has just seated two men at my table.   Our PR guy takes me aside and lets me know that one of the men is a VIP, multi-millionaire industrialist, but more importantly he is a New Yorker.  Tourists are fine, but we want to build up a local clientele.

I hear the P.R. guy, but it doesn’t change what I do.  Since we are always working at near capacity, I had to find ways to cope so that I don’t neglect anyone.

By this time I have worked out a system for remembering people’s drinks by placing the drinks in patterns on the tray, and I have little maps in my head and timing routines so that I get their food to them quickly and accurately.  Hopefully things will go smoothly enough that I can move like lightning yet appear efficient and attentive.

While I serve coffee to the VIP New Yorker and his guest, he says we’ve been watching you.  We notice that besides a lot of energy you have some kind of incredible memory.  Don’t get me wrong, but you don’t belong here.

I tell him that I’m working my way through college in Pittsburgh, and this is the best summer job ever.  I graduate in a couple of years.

That’s what I figured.  Tell you what.   After you graduate, come back to New York and we’ll give you a job in our company.    We are a large public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.   He hands me a business card.

He is CEO and Chairman of Central Foundry Company.  I keep the card.

I call the number on the business card and the CEO’s secretary gives me an appointment with Mr. G. for a day after my interview at AT&T.


I go to AT&T headquarters in downtown Manhattan.


AT&Tbldg copy






I fill out an application.  After a brief interview, they take me to see the computer department.


This is size and look of a single computer

This is size and look of a single computer


They give me a sheet of symbols like these:

≥ ≤ ≠ ∇ ∆ ∏ ∐ ∥ ∦ ∩ ∪

Each symbol has its own instructions such as go forward two steps, turn left, go one step.  I have five minutes to memorize all the symbols and instructions.  Then they give me a maze with those symbols on it, and I must follow the symbols through the maze using the instructions I just memorized.

Then they give me another sheet with the same symbols on it.  However, the instructions are completely different.  I must forget the old instructions and learn the new ones in five minutes and navigate through a new maze with the new instructions.

I try to discover a pattern in the instructions, find none and trudge through the mazes but I don’t finish in time.  These are Margaret’s fun games?  For mathematicians and maybe for analytical positivists which is not the kind of philosophy I studied.  Not the kind of work I want to do either.

To my surprise the vice president asks me to lunch.  While we walk to Teddy’s I am thinking, how did this happen, and how can I get out of taking this job?


Teddy's matchbook


The V.P. tells me that my test results were “borderline”, which I suspect is a diplomatic way of not saying “dismal.”

However, he says, you are articulate and personable, and we think you will be an asset to our company.  We want to hire you for executive training.  He gives me time to consider.


I go to keep my appointment at Central Foundry Company.   I may have seen a picture of the triangular Flatiron building which I recognize as a landmark, but I know I have not been to this neighborhood.


Flatiron building copy

Flatiron Building, New York City


Why do I have a feeling that I know this place, that I belong here somehow?  I am reminded of the strong feeling that mesmerized me as a child when I saw a photo of a building in ancient Greece.

Central Foundry Company is at 932 Broadway across from and behind the Flatiron building.   The old seven story building is not impressive.   It certainly does not look like the headquarters of a large company.

The lobby is tiny.  There is only one self-service elevator.  The company is on the second floor, not even occupying the whole building.

The interior is renovated and modern.

The receptionists also operate the switchboard, pulling out and plugging in telephone lines as they answer each flashing red light.  They are nimble as jugglers.



Switchboard     Getty Images


Mr. G.’s secretary comes and leads me down the long carpeted hall.   We turn and pass a row of several large offices.  Mr. G’s office is the last one.  It is elegantly paneled and has a tall ceiling with recessed lighting.

Mr. G. sits behind an enormous desk.  A man sits on an upholstered side chair.  Mr. G. introduces Mr. Morgan as a consultant.

It has been two years since Mr. G. gave me his card.  He seems smaller than the man I remember at Top of the Sixes.   Maybe it’s the power desk.   He tells the consultant that I am the student at the restaurant with the incredible memory and energy.

He says she reminds me of myself when I was a young man working day jobs and going to law school at night.

I notice sets of law books among the books lining one wall.  There are many framed photos on the paneled walls and they all seem to be of Mr. G. and groups of people, some of whom I recognize as celebrities.   There are numerous awards from charitable organizations.   On his desk there is a photo of two small children, probably his grandchildren.

When he hears that I have a job offer from AT&T, he says, we’ll give you executive training in this company.

We are the largest manufacturer of soil pipe in the country.  We also make artillery shells for Uncle Sam.  Our plants are in Alabama and we have facilities and warehouses in New Jersey and Queens and throughout the country.   We have thousands of employees and two unions, a fleet of trucks, board members and stockholders.

We’ll start you at the bottom and you work your way up.  You’ll get all the executive training you need right here because this is where we run the whole show.

Mr. Morgan says if I were you I’d take the job at AT&T.

He is a strange kind of consultant.

Mr. G. chuckles.  I listen to him once in a while, but you don’t have to.

AT&T is a huge place bustling with people and humming, beeping computers.

I feel more comfortable in this informal office setting.

Something about the neighborhood intrigues me.

The following day, I start work at the switchboard.

18. September 2015 · Comments Off on Up the Ladder · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

From the switchboard I move to filing, and then to the secretarial pool which brings me to the sales department.  I take evening courses in touch-typing, speed-writing and transcribing from a dicta-phone.

When I move to the accounting department the company sends me to a course on the workings of a new accounting machine.

There is a small group of people taking this course.   The instructor guides us slowly and carefully through a manual.   This course is going to last a whole week.

On the second day my boss in accounting tells me that the business machines people say that there is no need for me to go back because I have learned all that I need to know.  Truth is, it was all in the manual anyway, and I read it while standing around waiting for everyone to take turns getting to the next step.

I am feeling pretty confident.

I get my come-uppance when I get to post numbers on that machine all day long.

What is it with me and posting numbers that I am thinking if there is a place in Dante’s purgatory for me it would be a little corner where I must post numbers on an infernal machine until day 00.00

The only relief from this stultifying boredom is at the end of the fiscal period when we discover a small discrepancy in the accounts.   Then we egg hunt through the numbers till we find the last penny and balance the books.

Mercifully, I get moved again.


Mr. G. is notorious for being difficult to work for and for firing his executive secretaries.  My boss in accounting tells me that I am being moved to the inner sanctum to replace the secretary Mr. G. just fired.

I get a small office adjoining Mr. G.’s at the end of the hall, but my desk is in the hallway directly outside the door of his office.   My office holds Mr. G.’s personal files.

The office next to Mr. G.’s belongs to a Vice President who is also a director.  He owns a large block of stock in the company.

He is a jovial, pleasant man who spends relatively little time in his office.   He goes out for long business lunches and golf dates where he schmoozes with important people.

The office next to the Board Room belongs to a young man.  Mr. G. introduces him as his son, but they have different names.    I don’t ask why.   Mr. Grayson is the Secretary of the Corporation.

There are connecting doors between all these offices so that you can go from one to another without stepping out into the hallway.

One day Mr. Morgan the consultant shows up.

Mr. G. calls me into his office.   By this time, I don’t bring in my notepad for dictation unless he says that it is a legal document.

I come in and am still walking near the door when Mr. G. starts dictating.   Miss Cotton, please write a letter to so and so and tell him this, and this and this and so on.  After he finishes, he says will you please repeat what I said.

So I do.

Then he turns to Mr. Morgan, see?  What did I tell you?

Mr. G. is fond of making his point with a little drama, as though he were presenting evidence.   He hasn’t forgotten that Mr. Morgan had said that I should take the job at AT&T.

I’ve noticed that this kind of one-upmanship bantering goes on all the time with these guys, much of which is just fun and games.

Mr. G. hands me a company check he has signed and says take this to the mayor’s office.  It is a donation to some kind of scholarship fund and the mayor is having a reception for the donors.

The V. P. says why does she have to schlepp?  Give it to Al.  Al is the man in the mailroom who is also our hand delivery messenger.

Mr. G. says I want her to meet people and know what is going on.

Besides, she lends us class.

Mr. Grayson quips it’s that British accent because she speaks the King’s English.

That’s his kind of wit and also his way of cutting through the uh hyperbole.

I like him, but he is a bit of an enigma.

He is only the Secretary of the Corporation, but when the lawyers come by for a conference in an important case he is always included.  Not only that, but Mr. G. sounds him out before every meeting.

More than once Mr. Grayson zeros in on the weakest link in the case they are building.

I am surprised when Mr. G. makes the same observation at the meeting as though it were his own insight.   Mr. Grayson does not mind.

After a while, I realize that everybody knows who the sharp legal brain is anyway.

This puzzles me.   Why isn’t Mr. Grayson practicing law on his own?  This is a manufacturing company and there are relatively few lawsuits all of which are handled by the law firm Royall, Koegel & Rogers, our general counsel.

Mr. G. does not practice law anymore.  He just likes to keep tabs on everything that is going on.

He gives every company truck driver his private office number as well as his home number.   He tells them if you have an accident, whether it’s your fault or not, immediately call me collect, day or night.  Don’t speak to anyone before you call me.  They know he means it and they always call him first.


I get calls from Mrs. G. almost daily from their home on Long Island. She has trouble keeping staff.  Mrs. G. seems to need help with so many routine things that go with running a household that sometimes I think she just wants to talk to someone besides the maids.

Mrs. G. asks me to meet her for lunch.  However, she wants to keep our meeting secret from her husband and her son, Mr. Grayson.   I agree to set a date, but of course I ask the boss first.   He says go and we will say nothing more about it.

We meet at Schrafft’s Restaurant, a favorite with shoppers.   Mrs. G. has come into town to do some shopping with her sister but I see her walking away with her shopping bags.


Schrafft's, New York City

Schrafft’s, New York City


After the pleasantries, very quickly I see that Mrs. G. is asking me to be a kind of benevolent spy.   She wants to know what is happening between her son and her husband.   She wants reports on any conflicts between them, but actually I think that she really wants to know about her son.

I assure her that everything is fine between them as far as I can tell.

She says no, you don’t understand.

She says Mr. G. was always all about work.  Right after they were married he started his law practice with another lawyer.   The first month, his friend had a few clients who paid him while Mr. G. had nothing.

Well, the second month at the office was no better.   His friend started to worry.

Her parents had given them a house as a wedding present, all furnished since her father owned a fine furniture store.   Mr. G. had some money saved up which carried them.

After a while, Mr. G., who was a negligence lawyer, settled his first case for enough money to pay his share of the office expenses for the rest of the year.   Then he got another case, and another.

I am the one, she says, who urged him to go out on his own since he made so much more money than his friend.   He also worked harder than anyone I knew.   You should have seen his office.   He had a big chart on the wall showing every bone in the body.  He had so many medical books you would think he was a doctor.  You know how he is.

I sure do.

Can’t be easy working for him but I hear that you are very competent and smart and the proof is you’re still there!

She is attractive when she laughs.  I can see that once she was a beauty as everyone said.






I say I like my job.  It’s never boring.  There’s always something new to learn.

My husband became the most sought after negligence lawyer in New York.  Then they came after him.   They said he was “ambulance chasing.”   Have you ever heard of such a thing?

I shook my head no.  It actually sounds comical.


Ambulance Chaser

Ambulance Chaser image at ocweekly.com


I had to ask my brother Al.   He explained to me that my husband was raking in money from too many big cases and leaving little for anyone else.    So they ganged up on him.   Insurance companies, lawyers, politicians, they dug up a rule to nail him – lawyers are not supposed to pay anyone to send accident victims to them.   But many lawyers were doing just that.

They started with a newspaper article reporting corruption and demanding an investigation.  Then they accused about a dozen lawyers, including my husband.   They suspended their licenses for periods of time.

But my brother said people wanted my husband to handle their cases because he got the largest settlements.  Everybody knew it.   They were beating down his door.  He didn’t have to pay anyone to get clients.

Just the same, they got him disbarred.

He fought back.   Three years later after getting more than a thousand recommendations from lawyers, highly respected doctors, rabbis and other prominent people, he appealed.

More than a thousand recommendations?

You know him.  If one is good a thousand is better.

He swamped them!

We both laugh.

After that they said that he had been punished enough and they gave him back his license.   I told him, be careful.   Don’t take so many cases.

But he knows only one way of doing things and that is all out.  He can’t help himself.   He became even more successful.

They set him up again and this time it was personal.   He had just won a large settlement for the widow of a baker who was riding on a bakery truck and was killed by a trolley.

The transit company used the D.A.’s racketeering division to sweat and browbeat his chief witness, a timid young man.  They even got hold of this man’s mother, poor woman, and finally they got him to recant on his testimony.

Then they charged my husband with suborning perjury.  Again they disbarred him.   Again he vowed to fight back.   But it was more serious this time, and he knew it would be a much longer and harder fight to clear his name.   In the meantime he closed his law office and found something else to do.

Herbert took it hardest.   You wouldn’t know it now, but he has the same energy and drive as his father only not so rough.   He grew up different.   His father always wanted to give him the advantages he never had.

When Herbert was at Wharton, we went to visit.   He lived in a fraternity house.   He was in there with a lot of boys who came from money.   His roommate Freddie’s mother was one of the Fox sisters- you know the department store people?

Yes.  I know who they are.

That fraternity house was a mansion.   I never expected anything like that.



Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity House at University of Pennsylvania

Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity House at University of Pennsylvania


These were just boys, but they had a butler and their own chefs and waiters who wore white gloves.

You see, after the terrible things people suffered in the war over there in Europe, where they lost everything, they used to say that living well is the best revenge.   But making and having tons of money doesn’t mean that you will live well.

We saw too many young men with money to burn ruin themselves with boozing and whoring.

The fraternity had rules for how they should behave as gentlemen.   Of course if a boy did really bad things socially they kicked him out even before the university did.

Sometimes they kept one another in line.  Herbert told us how if anyone showed crude table manners the others would just pick up and move to another table.

Herbert doesn’t have the thick skin his father got scrounging his way up from the bottom.

He had a successful father who was recognized as one of the best in his profession, someone to be proud of when he was growing up.   But after the second time his father got disbarred, things changed.

Herbert still wanted to be a lawyer.    When he got his law degree, graduating at the top of his class, his father was so proud.

But then he said Herbert must protect himself and change his name legally.

Herbert said absolutely not.   It went against his grain.   He didn’t want to do it.   Oh how they fought.  In the end Herbert gave in.

It didn’t help.  People remember that my husband got disbarred twice but they don’t care that both times he was exonerated.



0 R



Legally changed name

Legally changed name


When my husband and his friends were taking over Central Foundry Herbert was in the middle of it, helping his father.

At that time like other young men Herbert and his brother went out with lots of girls.   We didn’t pay much attention until he brought someone home.    She was a lovely girl from a family like ours.   Her parents were very keen on their daughter’s marrying Herbert.

Even though the public company they took over was on the brink of going out of business, the old management fought to stay in control.

They brought a lawsuit.   They dug up the old business of the disbarments.   The court battles were in Alabama, but the Brooklyn newspaper which had started that first investigation published the accusations most people had forgotten.

Then Herbert’s girlfriend broke off with him just like that.

Oh, never ever tell Herbert that I told you about that!  Promise me.

I promise, of course.

She says I worry about Herbert.  I want you to tell me how he and his father are getting along.  They always say there’s nothing to tell you it’s only business you’re not interested in that.  That’s true.  When they talk business at the dinner table I always say don’t talk business.

You can tell me anything, I won’t say it’s you.  We women have to stick together!

I feel like a double agent but I’m never going to be a good spy.  I know investigators and spies are secret movers in the real world but something about it turns me off.   From me Mrs. G. will hear only assurances that all is business as usual at the office.


Mr. G. kept his word and never asked me about my meeting with his wife.

Before my lunch with Mrs. G., I already sensed that all was not well in this family.

I come in to work one morning and they tell me that Mr. G. has become ill while at a business dinner in town and was taken to the hospital.  They are keeping him there for a few days.

Before lunchtime he is on the phone.

Miss Cotton, do I have any messages?  I say nothing that can’t wait and then I ask him how he is doing.

They are doing tests he says in a weak voice that does not sound like him.

Miss Cotton, he says again in that weak voice, please go to the florist and pick out a large arrangement of flowers.   Send it to me here right away with a get well card.   Sign it from a friend and charge it to my account.

I decide to bring some mail and go there at visiting hour.

I am the only visitor.   There is only one (lavish) floral arrangement from “a friend”.   Where is his family?

The next day, he is back in the office in full voice.  I don’t think they did all the tests they wanted, more than likely he prevailed over his doctors and cut short his stay.


Mr. G. loves to tell stories about how far a dollar would go in the good old days of his youth.  On the lower East Side he says for twenty-five cents you could buy a hotdog with a serving of sauerkraut and a beer.  I heard that one more than a few times.

He is proud of being frugal.   Not frugal as in skinflint but frugal as in smart.    As a default position in running a business in the no frills plumbing industry being frugal is a necessary virtue.

Mr. G. likes to boast I took a dying company and brought it back to life!  Saving money for the stockholders is an obsession.

He and his group succeeded in a hostile takeover of this company when it was on the brink.  They did not fire any workers but replaced most of the management at the top.

Then Mr. G. cut the frills.  Instead of expensive offices in a prestigious building he installs the company’s headquarters in this building which he owns, at a reasonable rent.  He takes a low salary and keeps an eagle eye on all expense accounts, including his own.

After that dinner I served Mr. G. and his friend at the Top of the Sixes, our P.R. guy asked me what tip he gave me.  I told him.  He says cheapskate!    Actually, it was an appropriate tip.

Never mind that Mr. G. gives sufficient amounts of money to charity to be described as a philanthropist, he would still want you to know that he is smart about cutting costs and saving money.

But sometimes you see that it’s an old habit to a fault and not always smart.

The company’s Directors are seated at the conference table.  Mr. G. comes in and greets them.    As he goes around to his seat he looks out the back window.   Suddenly, he turns to the men.

Excuse me, gentlemen, he says, I’ll be right back.

And he bolts from the room.

I look out the back window and see two workmen securing a load of old boards and other trash on a pickup truck.   Mr. G. runs out from the building and shouts at them.

They help him up the back of the truck.  He jumps on the boards, compressing the load by a third.   He gets down off the truck and the workmen go for more trash to fill the truck.

I can’t believe my eyes.   I am relieved that none of the directors got up to join me at the window.

Minutes later, Mr. G. calmly walks into the room without comment and takes up the meeting’s agenda.

We have a WATS (Wide Area Telephone Service) line at the switchboard.  This is a long distance line that the company pays for at a fixed rate and which the operators connect to users all day long, mostly in the sales department.

The official closing time is five o’clock and the whole office clears out, including the switchboard operators.

But then, there is that WATS line not to be wasted, and I know how to connect it.  Mr. Grayson found out how to connect it also, in case I am not there.

But there is another good reason to hang around the office for an extra hour or so – avoiding rush hour.

The word gets out that there are always a few of us here.   And so people call up, come by with prospects and new ventures, conversations are less guarded, and the receptionist is not there to interrupt anyone.

The only other person in the building is Mr. Kronen, a grey-haired gentleman who keeps on working past five o’clock in the accounting department in the back.   He never leaves before us.

I see Mr. Kronen hurrying towards us down the hall.   He says in a hushed voice there are sounds back there near the freight elevator.  He’s afraid we have a prowler.

Mr. G. is in his office with Mr. Hanwell, our Treasurer, using the WATS line.   I wonder if I should knock.

Without a word Mr. Grayson heads towards the back.   I follow him but he turns and gestures to stay a few steps behind him.

He comes to the closed door of a storeroom on the other side of which is the back stairs.

He opens the door and immediately switches on the light.

There is a man standing across the room holding a knife pointed at him.   The man has the look of a trapped animal.

Mr. Grayson says are you looking for a job?

Uh yeah, a job, the man stammers.   He is still holding the knife.

Look, our office is closed now but if you come back in the morning we’ll give you a job.

Yeah.  Sure.

Be here about ten o’clock.

The man nods.   He has lowered the knife.

Then he sprints towards the stairs and he’s gone.

Before I can say anything, Mr. G. and Mr. Hanwell, and Mr. Kronen behind them, all come running.

What happened?  What happened?

Later I remark to Mr. G. how Mr. Grayson showed no fear.

Why should he be afraid, he says, he knows he can take the knife away from that bum.


The V.P. is out for a long lunch, which is expected.   From the hallway I see Mr. G. walking through two connecting doors into Mr. Grayson’s office.   Mr. Grayson is still out for lunch.

Where is he?  Mr. G. barks.

I think I saw him back there.

I’ve been telling little white lies since Mrs. G. put me into the middle of their family saga.

Look at that, Mr. G. fumes.   He doesn’t even bother to open his mail.   He’s more interested in that bimbo Marie who’s such a drunk he can’t even take her to a nice dinner party.

I say he goes out with other women too.   There’s Carol.    Mrs. G. knows Carol and she even met her mother.  She likes them.

What does my wife know about such things!

I am surprised that Mr. G. mentioned the dinner party.   It was a sit-down semiformal dinner given by the V. P.’s son and daughter-in-law.   No doubt someone has told Mr. G. that at the last minute I filled in for Marie but he doesn’t say it.

Mr. Grayson said that Marie, a sometime model, has been hounding him with her usual complaints.   It always comes down to her badgering him to marry her and his not wanting to get married.

Theirs is an on and off relationship.   She accuses him of never taking her to meet his uppity friends or his family and then the quarrel always circles back to her drinking and doing outrageous things which she then says is his fault because he drives her to drink and if she is good enough to keep she’s good enough to marry.

Marie promises she will stay sober if he gives her a chance and in a mad moment he agrees to take her to Richard’s dinner party.  By late afternoon she is soused.   Would I go with him?

There is some kind of unwritten rule that you don’t date people working in the same office.   Something based on common sense that if you date and you break up then someone has to change jobs.

But this is not a date, he insists, it is a rescue.   And it is just this one time.   So I put on my chicest little black dinner dress and go with him.

Everyone in the office still calls me Miss Cotton, but after that dinner Herb and I are more comfortable with our first names.


Mr. G. comes down the hallway followed by a man with his whole head covered with bandages, some of them slightly bloodstained.   Why isn’t this guy in the hospital?  What happened?

It’s Herb!

You should be in bed, a hospital bed.

I’m okay, he says.

Last night Marie was in a drunken rage and split his skull open with an ashtray.

Sixteen stitches.

He refused to stay in the hospital and drove himself home to Long Island.

He came into the office to escape his mother’s fussing over him and most of all to stop her probing questions.

His father made me order in lunch for him.

When I tell this story to Liam he says what Herb did was crazy he could have passed out and died and from then on he referred to him as “the crazy one.”

Herb healed fine and you couldn’t tell if there was a scar under his hair.


We are almost ready to leave the office.  I am gathering up some papers on Mr. G.’s desk.

Look, he says, don’t you think I want to promote Herbert?  He is my son.

Did Mrs. G. bring this up again?

But I can’t do it he goes on.   This is a public company.   With his attitude, if I promote him everybody would say that it is nepotism.   I can’t do it.

This is interesting.  I put down the papers and sit on a side chair.

I say he is certainly qualified.  Maybe he needs a more demanding position to stay interested.

That’s not it.   He just doesn’t care.   Look at him.   Look at the way he dresses.   He hasn’t bought a new suit in years.   He should give his overcoat to the Salvation Army if he can get them to take it.

You don’t pay him enough to buy clothes like yours.

No, that’s not it.   He has plenty of money to keep an apartment for that bimbo even though he lives at home where he has no expenses whatsoever.   Besides, he knows how to make money.   What do you think they teach them at Wharton?

Sure, I say.   But I bet he doesn’t even think of his clothes or of making an impression.

Well, he should.

He’s learned to be frugal.

I let that sink in a bit.

Look, what if you offered to pay for some new clothes for him.  That would show him something.   Would you do it?

Sure I will!


I slip out of there and close the door behind me.  I grab my phone.

The manager at Kolmer Marcus says they are just closing the store but he will be happy to keep a salesman and a fitter for Mr. G.’s son.

I tell Herb.

This I got to see, he says.

His car is parked right outside.  We speed to Kolmer Marcus where they welcome us with open arms.

I am a decisive shopper.  This one, I tell the salesman.  He takes the suit to Herb and the fitter takes over.

This one also.   The salesman likes my taste.

The manager is quick.  He guides me to evening wear.  I pick out a tuxedo and the trimmings.

Then I pick out sports jackets each with two pairs of trousers.

By the time Mr. G. comes knocking on the door they have fitted Herb with a whole wardrobe and I am deciding between vicuna overcoats.

Mr. G. must realize that I have put one over on him.  Why is he smiling?

The manager says Mr. G. your son looks like a movie star.

Everyone is smiling.

As we leave the store I hear the manager say to Herb behind me come back soon and bring Miss Cotton.

Does style reflect the man?  I don’t know, but something changed.





Herb is promoted to Executive Vice President and he gets much busier.

One of his new tasks is to show me how to put together the company’s Annual Report.   As we are writing the President’s Letter, we get into a discussion about the gerundive, which he brings up.

I think (fondly) of my liberal arts friends who thought we were culturally superior to the greedy guys in business school.  Hey, here’s a guy who went to business school and discusses the use of the gerundive.   How do you like them there apples?


When General van Fleet said I should go for the exotic girl’s part in Sand Pebbles, I gave him a photo to submit, but I think I should take another photo, one in which I try to look more Oriental for that part.

Herb takes me to a professional make-up artist who does a pretty good job of changing my look.   He then takes me for a sitting with a friend who takes still photos for the movies.

No one will take money from me for their services because they are doing it for Herb.


Mr. G. gives a job to an old gentleman whom he introduces as his long-time friend.   Judge Schlegel will use the desk in my office.

I have finished overhauling the filing system in there, which had been a huge jumble of files mixing together the business of this company with Mr. G.’s other businesses.   Took a while but I sorted it all out.

Now I only have to go in for files but I don’t spend much time in there.

Judge Schlegel sits at the desk in my office and mainly reads whatever Mr. G. sets before him.  Sometimes he writes down his opinions, but most of the time he waits till Mr. G. calls him into his office.

When I address him as Judge Schlegel he says no, I’m retired.   Just call me Mr. Schlegel.    I find that a little odd.  I know retired judges who still like to be called Judge.

So I ask Herb.

He says Saul Schlegel is the lawyer who started out with his father.

They are so different, how did they ever get together?

They were friends.   Schlegel went to college and then graduated from law school summa cum laude.

Herb’s father didn’t even go to college.   He didn’t need to.  Back then to become a lawyer you could just study law and if you pass the bar you put up a shingle and you’re in business.

His father and Schlegel didn’t form what you would think of as a law firm today.  They were just sharing an office and expenses.

How did your father get so successful?

Street smarts.  He was obsessive about digging up evidence.   He had a nose for sniffing out weakness on the other side.  He was relentless.   He loved to build suspense and spring surprises.

But he was a trial lawyer, I say, didn’t he have to argue cases?  Did Schlegel do that part?

No.  Schlegel was not a negligence lawyer.

His father settled almost all of his cases.   The couple of times that they went to trial he hired the best lawyers to argue the case in court.   He knew who they were.

Schlegel was a scholar.   Later he got into politics and ran for congress but he lost.  Eventually he became a highly respected Judge in the State Supreme Court.

Recently he had some serious setbacks in his personal life and he took a shortcut he shouldn’t have.   This happens more often than you think.    Normally, no one would have gone after him and in time he would have redeemed himself.  But judges make enemies and he had some grudge enemies who pounced.


Except for his visits with Mr. G. Mr. Schlegel keeps to himself.   He always comes in on time and leaves at five o’clock.   Actually, he doesn’t have enough to do but stays occupied, mostly reading at his desk.

Soon we get to talking.   In spite of his troubles he is witty and fun and loves to tell stories especially about justice and what he calls the vagaries of the law.

He tells the story of a man whose wife sued him for divorce because of his impotence.  At the same time, his mistress brought a paternity suit against him.

They both won!

Mr. Schlegel laughs.   There you have the vagaries of the law.

Before long I look forward to our conversations.   Sometimes Mr. Schlegel takes me back to his good old days and his friendship with Mr. G.

I ask him why he thought Mr G. was  so successful as a negligence lawyer.

It was many things.    First of all, he had a natural talent bordering on genius.   But there was something else.    I would say it was his passionate loyalty.

Loyalty?  To whom?

Mr. G. came from indigent immigrants, people who had left all their property behind when they fled from the pogroms in Russia.   Everyone he knew struggled.   He was the youngest of seven children.  His mother was so overworked that she let his older brother feed him and take care of him.

Yes, his brother Isidore.   I know about Isidore.   Mr. G. sends him a monthly check for everything he needs.

Mr. Schlegel says Mr. G. never forgot his roots.  He was fiercely loyal to his own struggling family and neighbors and he extended that loyalty to others like them.   Most of his clients were poor working people.  Getting compensation for them was his passion.  That’s what drove him.

Sure, he likes the money.  It gives him power and influence.   But you must have noticed that he doesn’t know how to enjoy being a wealthy person.   It’s the work he truly enjoys.   Not many of those left.

I know what Schlegel means.  It’s true.  Even though Mr. G. doesn’t practice law anymore he can’t resist being an advocate for the injured.

Mr. Manice our personnel manager comes to see Mr. G.   Sam, one of our supers is in trouble again.    Manice just received a letter.  Some local furniture store is garnishing Sam’s wages.

Mr. G. takes the letter from Manice.    Leave it to me, he says.

We are going over today’s mail but he drops everything and calls the furniture store on his private line.

I hear him ask to speak to the owner.    First Mr. G. identifies himself.   This is just between the two of us business owners he says but the unspoken fact is that they are not equals.

Mr. G. complains that the furniture is overpriced and it is so poorly made that it has fallen apart before our employee has even finished paying for it.

Now you threaten to garnish his wages!   The poor man will have hardly enough money to feed his family and certainly no money to buy new furniture.   He has diabetes and gout.   He can’t work any more hours.   What is he supposed to do?

By the end of the conversation the furniture store owner has agreed to withdraw the garnishment order and to send Sam a new set of furniture, just to get Mr. G. off the phone.

When I tell Mr. Manice he is relieved but not surprised.   Shaking his head he says I don’t know how he does it.

I am beginning to see why they formed a consortium to get rid of Mr. G.


17. September 2015 · Comments Off on It Will Be Forever · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

It is Christmas again.  Liam went home to his father for a family reunion.   I have only a couple of days off and I stay in the city.

I will celebrate Christmas Day with Jasmin’s family in Queens.

What are you planning to do the day after Christmas, Herb wants to know.

I’m going to the Frick Museum.   I’ve never been there.

Do you mind if I come with you?

I like to wander around certain rooms of the Met by myself.   It’s not the same when I go with friends or show visitors around.   It is a strange thing to say about a museum but I feel at home there.

I plan to roam around the Frick the same way.

I don’t see a gracious way to say to Herb no don’t come with me to the Frick, I want to be alone with tourists and strangers in this museum and see if I feel at home there too.





If there were more than a handful of people at the Frick Museum that day we didn’t notice.

If you are suddenly going to fall in love with someone you feel you’ve known forever, that setting is perfect.

16. September 2015 · Comments Off on New Family · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Herb takes me home to meet his parents as the girl he is going to marry.

Their house is a large English Tudor mansion too close to their neighbors to be called an estate, even though Mr. G. had bought the grassy lot behind the house.

Mrs. G. keeps up the pretense that she has never met me before.

The fact is, I’ve talked with and worked with everyone in the room almost every day for more than three years.   I know them better than my own lost family.

Everyone is pleasant, but it is a bit strained.

We make it a short visit.

15. September 2015 · Comments Off on Showdown · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Herb and I want to get married right away and and start our new life together, but I need to find and break in a replacement secretary for Mr. G.

There are other loose ends.  Mr. G. has a charitable foundation that gives to a number of causes.   Although he naturally gives to Jewish causes organized by leaders in his industry, he does not want to be seen as giving only to Jewish causes.

Other than that, he lets all appeals from charities come to my desk for me to decide what causes to plead.

I have a lot of conversations with persuasive people, some of whom are so charming and good at keeping in touch that I almost think of them as friends.

There is an upcoming event that I helped organize along with a committee at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue.  This is a dinner honoring Mr. G. and benefitting a special school in Brooklyn, Yeshiva Torah Vodaath.

At first Mr. G. reminded me that this was probably too exclusively Jewish for his foundation, but I had already brought that up with the charity. They said there are Christians, notably a leader of a Wall Street firm, who support this school.

Once Mr. G. agreed to be their guest of honor, he and I went to the Fifth Avenue Synagogue and met with about ten of their people.   After that, Mr. G. put me in charge of working out the details with them.

As I expected, Mr. G. worked relentlessly in his usual way to rope in everyone he thought would come to his dinner.  As the guest and donor list grew it became a big event, upcoming in a couple of months.   Since I started this I want to be here to make sure that every detail would be perfection.


We are at the office after hours as usual.

Mr. G. is in his office with his door closed.   I can hear him faintly talking on his private line.

I am at my desk.   There is a slight sound on my phone.  I pick it up.

Mr. G. is speaking but not to me.   How can this be?  Someone else is using the WATS line and his private line does not go through the switchboard.   Did wires cross somehow?

Then I recognize the voice of Richard B., whose father is the president of a large company, one of our customers.  I only met Richard once, at an industry luncheon to honor Mr. G.

Liam came to the luncheon but he was on call and had to leave early.   Richard had his father introduce us and offered to give me a ride home.   I accepted.

He was pleasant as we made small talk.   When we approached my apartment house he asked me for a date and I said no, that was my boyfriend who had to leave the luncheon early.

I know, he said, but you can have one fish in the pan and another on the fire.   I was amused at the way he put it, but it was still no, thank you for the ride.  That was all.

Now Mr. G. is urging this young man to talk to Herb and trash “that girl” and Richard is resisting and asking why.    All he ever heard till now was she’s so talented and wonderful she’s practically in a class by herself.   What happened?

She wants to marry my son.

Not long ago you told my father a success story and said that Herb needs a girl like her to straighten him out.

I said a girl like her, not her.

What does Herb say?

He wants to marry her, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing.   He’s bewitched.   You’ve got to help me convince him that she’s no good and just wants his money.

You know, I asked her for a date but she turned me down.

I don’t care!  Just do it for me.

Why don’t you want Herb to marry her?

She’s Eurasian.  I want him to marry a Jewish girl.

Your other son married a Christian, didn’t he?

That’s bad enough.

Richard doesn’t want any part of this.
Then Mr. G. puts the pressure on.  Look, do I treat you right?  Do I give you special consideration and discounts?

That’s it!

I leap from my desk and barge into his office.

I’ll call you back later!  He slams down the phone and swings around.

What are you doing in here?  Can’t you see my door was shut?

I heard you pressuring Richard.

How…he glances back at his phone and is confounded for a second.

Then he draws himself up and explodes at me you snake in the grass!


Dr. Lowen says how did you feel?

Shocked.  Betrayed.  Furious!

I was ready to cut his heart out and throw it out the window with everything I worked for here.   I didn’t care.

You can do it too.

Yes, I thought of the most cutting thing I could say to him, that I can’t believe I just heard him suborning a witness.

What stopped you?

Herb walked in.   I just couldn’t hurt him.

Mr. G. starts yelling at Herb you can’t marry this girl because it would be miscegenation.

What?  That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard!

She has Asian blood.  What will your children look like?

I hope they look like her and not you.  You should see yourself right now.

From there it degenerates into she just wants to marry you for my money.

You don’t have enough money for that.

If you marry her you won’t get a penny from me.

So what!  You’re just sore because she rejected you!

I have calmed down enough to realize that we were reaching the point of no return if they keep this up.

I say I’m leaving and I walk out.   Herb comes after me.

Take him with you, Mr. G. shouts.

It’s about time someone did, I retort.

But I know I am not having the last word.


Dr. Lowen says you know this has been your family for some time, don’t you?

I guess so.

You were always looking for your lost family.

All my efforts, years of making peace between them would be for nothing.

I know that Herb and I will be married no matter what but this family is now broken and lost before we even start.

14. September 2015 · Comments Off on On My Case · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Herb stays at his job because his contract is with the company and not his father.   He doesn’t say much about the office.

Saul Schlegel, however, keeps me up on what is happening.

Saul says that Mr. G. has given up on the idea of trashing me since he realizes that it turns off the people who know me and leads others to question his motives.

However, he is still looking for a way to stop Herb from marrying me.

He goes so far as to call Liam at the hospital as soon as he comes back from vacation.   I did not have the chance yet to tell Liam about Herb and me.  I want to do it in person.

Mr. G. puts Liam on speakerphone so that Saul and a couple of others Mr. G. has called into his office can be witnesses in case this conversation turns out to be damning to me.

Tell me Liam, why are you and Miss Cotton not married yet?

I wish the hell we were.

Did you know that she is going to marry my son?

The crazy one?

I can’t help laughing.  This is farce.

At the same time it is horrifying.

O my god, Saul, I have become Mr. G.’s latest case!

Saul says yes, I’m afraid he will chew on that bone until he wears himself out or the jury comes back against him.


Soon enough I hear from Liam.

You really know how to hurt a guy, he says.

Liam remained gallant when confronted by Mr. G., but we both know and maybe didn’t want to know that we would not make it as a couple.


Saul tells me that Mr. G. got Herb’s friends to give him some needed advice.   They say to Herb look, we can see that you are head over heels, which is exactly why you need to listen to us.

Get married if you must, but be sure that you get an ironclad pre-nuptial agreement.

Herb says I won’t insult my wife.

No one argues with him.

Saul says you know, once we all felt like that but it must have been another age.

I think in some way Herb still lives in that old world which is also familiar to me and in which we both feel at home.

13. September 2015 · Comments Off on Blissful Escape · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

There is no reason for us to wait any longer.

Herb arranges for our blood tests and license to get married.

As we are going up the long flight of steps outside City Hall he remembers that we need a witness.

A man is coming down who does not seem to be in a hurry.   Herb stops him and asks him to be our witness.   He says he would be delighted.

I think of the war-time weddings I saw in the movies and how ours is like those.   We have been in a kind of war even though it is only one in a family saga.

Getting married this way feels like an escape.


Hawaii aglow



12. September 2015 · Comments Off on Jury Comes Back · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

Saul was at Mr. G.’s big event.  Wait till you hear what happened, he tells me.

The Chief Rabbi or whoever was presiding at the dinner rose to speak.   He welcomed everyone.

Then he said first of all, I would like to thank Miss Doreen Cotton, without whom this dinner would not be possible.

You should have heard the applause!

The amazing thing was that no one looked around to see where you were.  They all knew that you were not in the room and neither was Herb.

Everyone knows the whole story and is talking about it.

I think the jury has come back in your favor, Saul says.


I get a call from Milton Blackstone.

Wow!  I heard what you did.

I got married, that’s all.

Sure.    As his father said, Herbert met his match.   I’m happy for both of you.

Milton wants to take us out to dinner, but too much is happening and we never set a date.


After we settle into our new home we send out an official announcement of our marriage.

Wedding gifts arrive for weeks and months after as though we had a big wedding.


Mrs. G. asks me to go with her to a luncheon benefit for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  This time it is not a secret.

We invite the family to dinner.

They all call him Dad and call her Mother.  I do the same.