PARDON ME but Nightclubs comes before The Wedding. Sorry

Nightclubs….

Bernie and I didn’t gad about every night, but we did need to go out for dinner every night. There was a fancy cafeteria that had good food we went to often. It was cheap which was a plus. Supposedly Milton Berle and his wife sometimes ate there.

Milton Berle! Does anyone know who he is? And Dan Dailey–a tall good-looking blond guy who danced in the movies, as the second string dancer. We passed him one night when we were out, ready to visit our favorite nightclub starring Nino Tempo. Dailey was drunk and had a good-looking blonde by the hand. I suddenly realized I hadn’t seen him in a movie in some time.

Sometimes Anne, our new employee, joined us for a pub crawl. We never crawled very far. She like Nino and went “backstage” to get his autograph. Instead she met him coming out of the men’s room, zipping himself up. She decided against asking for his autograph.

And one night while we were dining in the restaurant Oscar Levant dined in, while Anne had gone to the ladies room, Bernie proposed.

Yes! I said, Yes!

Anne came back. I told her we were engaged and we started planning the wedding.

“Wedding!” said Bernie, staring at me, looking half  happy and half alarmed.

I calmly told him that that was what a proposal meant.But we didn’t talk of it any more that night.

He had looked so surprised.

 

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The Wedding…

was easy to plan. My mother did most of the work as she was on the spot in Bethel. Bernie and I flew back. As we were leaving, we spoke to our next door neighbor, a nice old gentleman. He thought we were married already, of course, so I was grateful I was wearing a pair of gloves for travel. Imagine! Wearing gloves for an airplane trip. That’s what ladies did them.

In New York, someone, likely Lyman, Bernie’s friend, picked us up at the airport. I felt so sophisticated: “Transcontinental couple  arrive in New York from Los Angeles. They’re here to get married on August 9,1958 in charming Redding, Connecticut.”

We got married in Redding because Bernie was a “fallen-away” Catholic, which means no Catholic at all. The Redding church was a kind of a primitive outpost missionary church for Bethel’s St Mary’s church.  My mother-in-law commented later on the dirty collar of the priest who officiated. He darted away the minute the ceremony was over, refusing my invitation to the reception.

I don’t remember the reception very well. According to my Aunt Eunice, who wrote local news  for the Danbury News-times, it was a lovely affair.  Another newspaper clipping my Dad saved said we would be “at home after August 18 in Berverley Hills.”

Amazing! 1958 and some newspaper woman still used “at home” to indicate I would be receiving guests after August 18. And without a butler, too.

At any rate we flew to San Francisco, saw the city and then went to a party friends gave us across the bay in Berkeley. Before I worked for Ken Baldridge, I spent a year in Oakland and Berkeley, working for Tim Leary.

I enjoyed showing my husband to everyone and talking to everyone. Now that I was a married woman, I felt that some of them were a little too laid back. John from Salt Lake City sat on the floor drinking beer, drunk. And Ann, who’d planned the party, was quitting her job and going to Germany to work for the USO. And my friend Marilyn wouldn’t come in to the party because her husband, an Arab, wouldn’t come in.

Marilyn was a friend from my days in Oakland where I lived in The Blue Triangle Club. It was a hotel for women run by the YWCA. Nice and also cheap. I had hoped she made the right choice of husband, someone who would appreciate her expansive hips. I’d hoped he hadn’t marry her for her citizenship.

So there they were, at our party. So to speak. I went out to meet him and talk to Marilyn. A little later, I brought Bernie out to meet him. We each, Marilyn and I, showed off our prizes.

The Wedding…

was easy to plan. My mother did most of the work as she was on the spot in Bethel. Bernie and I flew back. As we were leaving, we spoke to our next door neighbor, a nice old gentleman. He thought we were married already, of course, so I was grateful I was wearing a pair of gloves for travel. Imagine! Wearing gloves for an airplane trip. That’s what ladies did them.

In New York, someone, likely Lyman, Bernie’s friend, picked us up at the airport. I felt so sophisticated: “Transcontinental couple  arrive in New York from Los Angeles. They’re here to get married on August 9,1958 in charming Redding, Connecticut.”

We got married in Redding because Bernie was a “fallen-away” Catholic, which means no Catholic at all. The Redding church was a kind of a primitive outpost missionary church for Bethel’s St Mary’s church.  My mother-in-law commented later on the dirty collar of the priest who officiated. He darted away the minute the ceremony was over, refusing my invitation to the reception.

I don’t remember the reception very well. According to my Aunt Eunice, who wrote local news  for the Danbury News-times, it was a lovely affair.  Another newspaper clipping my Dad saved said we would be “at home after August 18 in Berverley Hills.”

Amazing! 1958 and some newspaper woman still used “at home” to indicate I would be receiving guests after August 18. And without a butler, too.

At any rate we flew to San Francisco, saw the city and then went to a party friends gave us across the bay in Berkeley. Before I worked for Ken Baldridge, I spent a year in Oakland and Berkeley, working for Tim Leary.

I enjoyed showing my husband to everyone and talking to everyone. Now that I was a married woman, I felt that some of them were a little too laid back. John from Salt Lake City sat on the floor drinking beer, drunk. And Ann, who’d planned the party, was quitting her job and going to Germany to work for the USO. And my friend Marilyn wouldn’t come in to the party because her husband, an Arab, wouldn’t come in.

Marilyn was a friend from my days in Oakland where I lived in The Blue Triangle Club. It was a hotel for women run by the YWCA. Nice and also cheap. I had hoped she made the right choice of husband, someone who would appreciate her expansive hips. I’d hoped he hadn’t marry her for her citizenship.

So there they were, at our party. So to speak. I went out to meet him and talk to Marilyn. A little later, I brought Bernie out to meet him. We each, Marilyn and I, showed off our prizes.

Bernie was due back…

in Greenwich before I’d finished teaching at Fairfield Preparatory School. I was painting the back porch of my parents’ home, my home too, the day he was due. He’d told me he would call me when he arrived.

I started painting after Sunday dinner at noon and remained alert for the ring of the phone. I kept taking breaks to drink water: it was warm on the porch. And, of course, I was closer to the phone in the hall.

Finally, about four, he called. That was the end of the painting. I covered the paint can, cleaned the brush and dashed upstairs to change my clothes. I was driving to Greenwich from Bethel to meet him for dinner. Later my father told me he knew something important was happening. I’d made an awful mess of the back porch.  He had to repaint it the next day.

After I finished at Fairfield Prep, I taught after-school students who needed help with their reading speed and comprehension. I was already dreading Bernie’s departure for Los Angeles. He was to open a new office there.

And then, the next thing I knew, I was to go to California, to Los Angeles  to take over from Rody, the teacher who was there already. Rody was to return. Ken Baldridge was being a double cupid, putting me in Beverley Hills with Bernie and allowing Rody to come back to try to win his blonde, buxom beauty, another reading teacher. (He didn’t.)

I took a night flight to Los Angeles. Rody met me at the airport and brought me back to the apartment where he was staying with friends. The apartment seemed to swarm with people, yet a bed was found for me. The woman whose bed I took moved into her boyfriend’s bed that night. The next day I moved into a small, cheap residential hotel with sinks in the rooms and ladies’ and men’s bathrooms down the hall. And it had a gravel lawn which the landlady watered occasionally to keep the dust off.

Southern California was so exciting! Gravel lawns that got watered, apartments where sophisticated men and women slept together, endless cars, cops on motorcycles and sun every day. How could it be better?

 

 

My Small Special Postcard Collection…

Recently I found a collection of postcards I saved, a special collection of postcards all from my husband..

After I met Bernie for the first time in Kenosha, Wisconsin, we parted in Chicago at the airport with plans to meet in Minneapolis after my teaching at Kemper hall, Kenosha was over. I was teaching a six week Developmental Reading Course.

I flew to Minneapolis for a weekend of art museums and jazz clubs. We  separated again, me to return to Greenwich, Connecticut to report to headquarters and Bernie to finish his teaching stint at Faribault School in Faribault, Minnesota. We wrote each other letters until Bernie hit the road.

He started a drive around the Midwest, visiting private schools and colleges selling Baldridge Reading Services reading programs. The postcards I treasure are from the cities and towns he drove to and through from May 8 to May 24. He drove to Michigan, Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Dallas, where he saw an opera, Indiana, Lexington, Missouri and a bunch of towns in Missouri with private schools.

In the collection I also have a postcard of Lake Tahoe in Nevada that I’d found in  my Ford. I’d driven it from Berkeley, California to Bethel, Connecticut and must have picked up the card in Reno, Nevada where I stopped for lunch. The card was slipped into a mailing to Bernie somewhere along his route. I wrote on the card that I was tired of postcards and wanted to talk with him. In a later postcard, he agreed with me.

On a card from Grange, Indiana, he wrote only this Latin: Incipit vita nuova  which translates to :”Begins a new life”.

And so we did.