Saturday, October 30, 2010


Amy, who turned 90 this past year, has been a dear friend for approximately 45 years. She has a heart of gold and her latest gift to me and my daughter and son-in-law is proof of this.

She lives in NY City and surprised us (during my most recent sojourn to NY) by inviting us all to be her guests for dinner and a performance by the world renowned violinist Joshua Bell at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall .

It’s been many years since I’ve seen a live performance of this caliber and it was a HUGE thrill for me.

Joshua Bell, for the few of you who might not recognize his name, came to national acclaim when he was just 14 years old. This led to a debut at Carnegie Hall and now, at the age of 43, he is known world wide. He plays a 1713 Stradivarius … (valued at four million dollars !!) and the purity and precision of his music are mesmerizing.

But Joshua’s talent is not only in his music. He is a natural showman and it is a feast for the eyes to watch him lose himself in what he is playing. He sways and bends and captures the audience in his enthusiasm. He doesn’t release us until he ends his last note with a flourish. Then there is a second of total silence before we are all on our feet applauding and begging for more.

It was an evening and a joy that I will never forget and I say from my heart: “Thank you, Amy” if you happen to read this !

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A few weeks back I made the long road trip North to see my daughter and her husband in NY State. Even though it takes me about 13 hours one way I still thoroughly enjoy the trip. It’s my time to “chill out” and take in the lovely scenery along the way.

This picture is of their business in Stanfordville, NY called Bowen Barn. It’s chock full of antiques, artifacts, paintings, books, furniture and just about anything else that might tickle your fancy.

The carved pumpkins give the barn a festive air and I love the way that my son-in-law added the “hair”. Those two pumpkins seem to be daring the elephant to take a flying leap but he’s been up there for quite a few years and I doubt if he’s going anywhere!

It’s always a treat to hit that part of the county in October and you can see why by this picture…

Isn’t that gorgeous? It is a view of Hunn’s Lake and (if you look carefully) you can see a white house across the water. We actually lived there in the mid 60’s.

So, that’s it for now. I wish every one of you a happy and safe Halloween. I’ll tell you more about my trip in the next few blog entries.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I must have a “thing” for Frogs !

Some of you readers may remember my little tree frog. He made his first appearance on the day that I came home from Duke Hospital in August of 2004. I’d been there having a benign brain tumor removed and I chose to believe that “Froggy” was sent to welcome me home and be my “door warden”. He’d taken up residence in a small decorative bird house that was attached to my house and he actually returned there every August for the next 5 years.

This year he did not show up and I figured he probably gave up on me. If he was a prince in disguise (as so many of you suggested) he ran out of patience and I missed my chance. Somehow I could never get up the nerve to kiss the little guy. !

Now we fast forward to the present time. I have been trying to turn a jungle area behind my house into a lawn and have spent many hours back there watering and keeping my fingers crossed. I am not known for a green thumb !

Now, imagine my surprise when I, once again, come upon a small frog who seems to want to be friends. If you look carefully you can see him emerging from his “home”
… a narrow drainage pipe sticking out of the ground.

He’s not the least bit skittish around me and I get the distinct impression that he’s been sent by Froggy #1. Do you suppose he’s giving me a 2nd chance?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


In 1959 my husband was launching his free lance photography business. We lived in New York City and we gave and attended many a cocktail party.

What a sham those evenings were. The people attending the parties were much more interested in being seen than in actually talking about business…or anything of import, for that matter. It was seldom that anyone looked you in the eye. They would talk to you but their eyes were constantly scanning the room, always in search of that one person who was going to enhance their career.

Dick and I soon learned that the best way to survive those events was with a sense of humor. This came to the fore one evening when we were at a posh, and very large, cocktail party on Central Park West held to celebrate the marriage of my friend Sheila.

It became apparent that no one was actually listening to anything that Dick or I had to say so I decided to try to spark up the conversation. I told one of the guests (an aspiring actress) that I was a bit concerned about every having a child since so many of them in my immediate family had been born with six digits on each foot. Without batting an eye Dick chimed in with “but we’re not really worried, since most of the children on my side of the family have just four toes on each foot, so it should even out.”

It was all that Dick and I could do to keep a straight face, but it didn’t really matter. This would-be actress wasn’t listening anyway. She dismissed us with a wave of her hand and rushed off into the crowd.

Ah, yes…the cocktail party…an American institution.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kenny keeps his "Eyes On The Prize"

In 1987 my husband and I moved to North Carolina. He had a small remodeling business and hired a 20 year old black youth named Kenny to help with the heavy stuff. Kenny had no carpentry skills but Dick told him that he would teach him the business if he were reliable and trustworthy.

Pretty soon the two of them had a set routine and that included coming back to the house at noon for a lunch that I would prepare for them. After each meal Kenny would say, "Mizzrus Richard, that was real good." He had a sharp mind and was quick to learn but his Southern dialect was strong.

Their lunchtime happened to coincide with the airing, on our local PBS Station, of the award winning documentary "Eyes on the Prize, America's Civil Rights ... 1954-1965". Kenny became very engrossed with the show and he and I would watch it every day.

It was interesting to realize that Kenny knew little about his own history. He had been born and schooled in North Carolina but he said that he had never been taught ANYTHING about the Civil Rights movement.

Kenny and I watched the series day after day and he became more and more agitated. This was completely new to him and he was amazed at what he was seeing. He even began to take notes and would ask my opinion on what we had seen. The part that affected him the most was when Gov. George Wallace stood on the schoolhouse door in Alabama and blocked the entry of the black students.

I could see the conflict of emotions that were roiling inside of him as he watched and suddenly he turned to me and said something that I'll never forget. He said, "Mizzrus Richard, do you know what? Someday that Governor is going to get real old and used up and he's going to spend his last days in a nursing home. And do you know who's going to take care of him? WE ARE !"

It wasn't meant as a threat...he was simply stating a fact ... but it gave me a chill. Yes, I thought, the day of reckoning may come to us all. I was glad that I could tell Kenny that Gov. Wallace had a change of heart and had begged forgiveness of the many people with whom he had clashed.

That was over 20 years ago. After my husband died Kenny went on to form his own company in another County and has become quite prosperous but he has never forgotten me. He still calls to say "hi" and always ends the conversation by giving thanks to my late husband Dick for the life that he enjoys today.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I've written a lot about what it was like to work in the "Big Apple" so now I will tell you how it was to PLAY there. My favorite things where the live plays, both on and off Broadway, and, of course, the music that was everywhere ... from Radio City Music Hall to the Met and all places in between.

We, at WABC Radio were often given tickets to Broadway shows and it was because of this that I was privileged to see two of the finest musicals ever written that debuted there in the late 50's.

"My Fair Lady", starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews was the first and I remember how the audience insisted on 3 curtain calls at the end of the show. It seemed like the applause would go on forever.

My second thrill was attending the opening of "West Side Story". It was written by Leonard Bernstein, the most famous conductor in the world at the time and leader of the New York Philharmonic. The actors were mostly unknown, Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence and Larry Kent, and this show launched their careers. Of course the music was magnificent but I was also intrigued with how cleverly they switched stage settings. The lights would dim and, within seconds, a whole new scene would appear.

The off-Broadway circuit was a lot of fun too. Usually these were small companies of actors and musicians who had yet to hit the big time; but, I did see an outstanding adaptation of "The Three Penny Opera" there ... one that included the unforgettable ballad "Mack the Knife" which I understand was not in the original script.

All in all these were "once-in-a-lifetime" years in New York City for me and I savored every minute ... making sure to get in some work between play dates!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Piggin’ out at the “Pik ‘n Pig”

Barbecued pork is a mainstay of the south and they do it up well at the “Pik n Pig” in Carthage, North Carolina. This is a unique restaurant to say the least. It’s located on an airstrip outside of town and you watch small non-commercial planes land and take off as you enjoy your meal. (A lot of the pilots and their passengers actually land there for the food !)

You can sit inside and stay cool or “rough” it on the deck. That’s where the children love to sit and it’s so much fun to watch their little faces as the planes land. It’s all very casual and they often run out to the planes after they’ve parked. It’s not unusual for a friendly pilot to seat them in the cockpit and let them pretend that they are about to take off.

The BBQ at “Pik n Pig” is hickory smoked and cooked fresh every morning. Ribs, chops and chicken are available too but the great favorite is definitely the barbecue and when the day’s supply has been sold out that’s it ! You have to come back the next day if your heart is set on their specialty.

Worth a visit if you’re ever in the vicinity. Y’all come !

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Bert ... “WHO” ???

Early on in my blog entries I wrote about entertaining British sailors during World War II. I was 12 at the time and I well remember one boy in particular. His name was Bert Entwistle and he was stationed at the Fargo Naval Base near Boston. We saw him practically every weekend and he became like a member of our family.

Bert was married to a lady named Queenie and they had an infant son who was born just days before Bert was sent overseas. Luckily Bert made it through the war and he continued to correspond with our family over the years. His marriage to Queenie didn’t last but he would write often about the musical doings of his son John.

Imagine our surprise in the 60’s when we learned that his son was the bass guitarist for the rock band “The Who”. We always knew that Bert was musical (he played the trumpet and had a wonderful singing voice) and Queenie was a piano teacher so I guess John’s talent came naturally.

I never was able to get to England but two of my sisters (and their spouses) did. They stayed with Bert and his 2nd wife Dora who planned their itinerary which included a visit and dinner at John’s mansion. I can’t accurately describe it (not having been there) but the overall impression that they gave was of a huge stone house with cavernous rooms. The diners numbered at least 40 and were seated around an enormous oak table. John was at the head with his chair turned slightly away from the table so that he faced a small black and white TV which he watched for the entire meal. Both couples said that he never uttered a word to anyone there but did shake their hands (and gave his dad a hug) when they left.

In 1976 Bert and Dora flew to Massachusetts from England to help my Mother celebrate her 80th birthday. I hadn’t seen Bert for 32 years and had never met Dora so you can just imagine the fever pitch of emotions displayed. It was a glorious reunion and although my Mother, Bert, Dora (and even John) are all gone now it will always be one of my fondest memories.