Thursday, August 18, 2016

a note to readers


Dear readers:

There are about 107 "chapters" in this humorous partial memoir. In order to read the complete "book" you will need to open up "Older Posts" until you reach the epilogue.

I hope the pieces of my life in these short vignettes in the blog make you laugh. Please enjoy this (ongoing and very unfinished) project.

All my best,
Marjorie

Two Never Lost

I am so happy I found these photo favorites from so long ago..... and can still hear my father saying "look how the dogs look back."
The skater is unknown.



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Rest in Peace, Dr. Leah Schaefer

in the Huffington Post
from ncfr
from The Kinsey Institute Newsletter

And at the Huffington Post's link above, you can Listen to Dr. Leah Schaefer sing “Heather on the Hill."




Mr. Hal Schaefer’s first marriage was to Leah... and he later was linked romantically to Marilyn Monroe. Small world.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

a very old letter, a newer poem: an encore

The letter below was written, in about 1929, by my grandmother to my mother:

 

"What do you want I should get you..."
"What is the matter papa did not call up..."
"... tell him he should eat red meat, go outdoors for his health, go for a ride every night that he will sleep well."























And this is a poem written in about 1992, by me:

NAP TIME

At dusk, a dream through stained glass:
In a hazy deciduous forest, I am almost naked-
Pristine gown clinging like translucent second skin,
Chartreuse satin slippers, cheeks pale porcelain rose,
And humidity turning my hair burnt sienna.
The scent of dried lavender drifts through trees-
“Alone in nature, by nature,” ventriloquists murmur.
Bejeweled spiders, resting on carefully crocheted cobwebs,
Melancholy widows, eyes green tourmaline,
A soldier seduced by indifference...
Haunted beauty washed forever in soft pink light.

A fading fragrant French cologne-
Earlier a sweet intoxicating elixir- melting and melted.
An elusive black-throated warbler,
Pausing on a great oak, bears witness:
An icon is shedding mellifluous silver tears,
Reflecting my grandfather, wrapped in his tallit
Stirring, turning, saying, “You look very familiar to me.”

A clammy breeze passes through Manhattan.
I awaken this time, awakened last time,
Acquiescent and still, not knowing
If it is evening... or morning.

© 2004 Marjorie Levine, in "Naked Amnesiac"

three love letters, an encore

I found two old long forgotten photos while rummaging through an old shoebox. I also found three letters from a summer of long ago:

August 3rd,
Dear J:
I want to tell you what happened on a hazy hot sunless Sunday, in July, at Long Beach. A few feet from where an amnesiac sat on the boardwalk eating hotdogs-- a lady, a blue blood, and a wanderer observed in the sand a mystical image. Well, because they were frightened that the startling sight might rapidly disappear or be scrambled by an insouciant breeze, an attempt was made by the lady to photograph the sight-- to freeze and thereby validate the remarkable event. The lady put down her translucent parasol and a love letter that was written in Sanskrit on an ancient faded doily. And as a tow headed child paddled to shore in a teacup, a picture was taken and developed. It passed from the lady, to the blue blood, and then to the wanderer-- from whose tired, careless fingers it slipped. The wind carried the picture down and up, up and down; it danced the tango for a few seconds before it collapsed in my open right hand. I swear J, in that photograph I saw the transmigration of a soul!
Kindest regards, L

August 12th,
Dear L:
I love you and want to marry you! Why didn't you tell me you were spending July out at Long Beach? I desperately wanted you to know that I enrolled in a film workshop and I will complete the requirements and be eligible for a certificate in film. By the way, the theme of my first project is the lost years of Jesus. I wish you were with me supporting my cinematic aspirations and visions. Last Tuesday, while I dined at an outdoor sidewalk cafe on Columbus Avenue, a lady passed holding a translucent parasol. She was walking her Shih Tzu and when she paused, in front of my table, she allowed her thirsty pet to take a few swigs from a bottle of seltzer. I took a picture of the lady and her dog, and I am sending it to you.
Love, J

August 28th,
Dear J:
Your letter was forwarded to me from the Long Beach address. I am now staying in Westhampton. While I was having dinner at a restaurant in East Hampton, I was introduced by a blue blood to a group of young Buddhists. In the early mornings, I joined them at a mansion for the recitation of five prayers. I want to tell you what happened at the beach on a hot sunny Sunday in mid August. A dilettante, a pacifist, and a codependent led me to a spiritual man, who for a short time in July posed as an amnesiac at Long Beach. He now conducts a series of past life regression sessions and I was persuaded to participate. As I reclined on the Westhampton sand, a lonely seagull flew overhead and a tow headed child paddled, in a teacup, to shore. In time, I recalled a past life! I realize now, Jason, that we were together as lovers during the French Revolution. So, I will be returning to Manhattan at the end of August, and we shall plan our wedding.
Love, xxxooo, L
























TWO DAYS

One hot sunny Sunday, in July, at Long Beach:
An amnesiac sat on the boardwalk watching
A strolling lady who was carrying a pearl-handled parasol.
A handsome soldier passed holding a love letter that was
Written on a faded lace white doily and a lonely spinster
Stared at vague images in the sand...
Lines soon to be scattered by an insouciant breeze.

An innocent, guileless, sienna-haired child
Paddled to shore in a teacup.

This is what happened on a hazy sunless Sunday,
In mid-August, at Westhampton.
A spiritual man, who once posed as an amnesiac,
Conducted past life regression sessions
In an old chartreuse theater and
A tattooed director, with wild cinematic aspirations,
Filmed the event in shades of mysterious gray.

Later, I rested on sands
And watched one lost kittiwake fly
In circles overhead while an organ played
Music from an invisible carousel.

I listened to the ocean and
Imagined mermaids swimming painlessly
In peaceful and seductive warm waters.

A sienna-haired child
Stepped out of a floating teacup,
And walked with sea legs
Along colorless sands.

Sometimes before twilight,
I think of those two days.


© 2004 Marjorie Levine in "Naked Amnesiac"
registered WGAE December 10, 2004
as part of material titled "Naked Amnesiac"

Sunday, April 3, 2016

from "Slowly He Starts"

“I did not know him, I knew my idea of him.” ― Sharon Olds


Jack Vettriano, "Yesterday's Dreams"


Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Blast from the Past: Ruby Lazarus, RIP


Ruby Lazarus waiting to testify during the Grand Jury gambling investigation:



the following from In Re Lazarus, 276 F. Supp. 434 (C.D. Cal. 1967)

"`Q Do you know Tony Salerno?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Do you know Elliot Paul Price?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Do you know Jerry Zarowitz?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Why did you and Salerno leave Miami, Florida in October 1965?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Why did you and Salerno travel to Palm Springs, California in October 1965?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Did you and Tony Salerno share a room at the Canyon Club Inn in Palm Springs, California?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q In October 1965 you were present at meetings at 893 Camino del Sur, Palm Springs, California, with Alo, Salerno, Price and Zarowitz?
"`A I decline to answer that question.' "I am sorry. That question was:
"`In October 1965 were you present at meetings at 893 Camino del Sur, Palm Springs, California, with Alo, Salerno, Price and Zarowitz?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Were telephones at 893 Camino del Sur, Palm Springs, California, used to transact gambling business and to place wagers?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Did you use the phones there to lay off wagers?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Did Tony Salerno use the phones there to conduct gambling business?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Did Zarowitz use the phones there to call Las Vegas to transmit wagering information?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Did Price use the phones there to call Massachusetts to conduct gambling operations?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Did Alo use the phone in connection with the gambling or other activities of the criminal syndicate known as La Cosa Nostra or the Mafia?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q What was the purpose of the meeting in October 1965 at Palm Springs, California?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Was there discussion at that meeting concerning the division of points in the ownership of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Was there any discussion at that meeting concerning the conduct of a gambling layoff operation in the Eastern United States?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Was there a dispute at that meeting between you and Zarowitz?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Was there a dispute at that meeting between you and Price?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q What was the subject matter of the disputes?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q In October 1965 for what purpose was a telephone call placed from Palm Springs, California to Robert Lynn Martin in Las Vegas, Nevada?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q In October 1965 for what purpose was a telephone call placed from Palm Springs, California to the Prokos Brothers in Miami, Florida?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q In October 1965 for what purpose was a telephone call placed from Palm Springs, California to Basil Milardi and Charles Cardinali in Union City, New Jersey?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q In October 1965 for what purpose was a telephone call placed from Palm Springs, California to Herbert Kaufman in Baltimore, Maryland?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q In October 1965 for what purpose was a telephone call placed from Palm Springs, California to Harry Chorodowsky, also known as Harry Clayton, in Brighton, Massachusetts?
"`A I decline to answer that question.
"`Q Mr. Lazarus, your persistence in declining to answer these questions leaves this Grand Jury with no choice but to return once more to the court to seek the assistance of the court in this matter.
"`I would ask that the foreman direct Mr. Lazarus that he is excused but is to remain nearby to await further court proceedings.
"`THE FOREMAN: You are so ordered.'"

Canyon Club Inn today:


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Two Houses

These two photos both show homes which were torn down on Dutch Broadway in Valley Stream and both homes may be of historical importance.



The next house is visible in the background on the left. It may have been a house for migrant farm workers and owned by the farmers.


Friday, September 5, 2014

The Party That Sticks With Me

One of my earliest memories is of the time when I was about 4 years old and went with my grandmother to a party in this Clara Barton School in Bordentown NJ.

I can still remember all the colorful balloons and sweet things to eat. After the party, we walked the short distance back up E. Burlington Street to my great aunt's house, which is still there.

 The memory of that party so long ago still lives within me.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mr. Levine Travels to the Aleutian Islands During WWII


My father made a series of "records" when he was in the Army during WW2. They were made as he crossed the country from New York to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and they were for his family who were back in Brooklyn.

After he died in 1994, I had the records transferred to audiotapes. A copy of the tapes are now at THE NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM in New Orleans.

the audiotapes at YouTube


Friday, May 24, 2013

The Green Shutters

I moved into this apartment in 1968. There was a small tree in the back courtyard that was visible from my windows. And on the brick wall that faced my windows I could always see in bright colorful paint: "Sol Shapiro, Plumbing Supplies."

Also, on that wall were three large windows with green shutters. The shutters were rarely opened and when they were I never really saw any activity behind those windows.

I thought of those windows today and those green shutters. Over a decade ago, the windows were replaced with brick and everything on that wall was covered in dull beige paint. Now, it just a wall and nothing remains except this one memory:


In about 2002, I looked out and saw a young man looking out of the middle window and he stayed there for quite some time. He may have been saying good-bye. 

On this street, the old New York Telephone Company is becoming the Walker Tower. And the old post office that is a landmark may close.


Nothing else much has changed I suppose, except that the tree in the courtyard is now taller than the building.




"Top 4 Floors in Chelsea to Be Above the Adjacent Structure; Condo Shaped Like Inverted L"

Saturday, May 11, 2013

And just like that...

the years come flooding back.











Monday, April 22, 2013

Vegas Roots

My family took many trips to Las Vegas in the 1960s. My father was a friend of Ash Resnick, who organized gambling junkets.

This first photo of me was taken at the Stardust Hotel, in 1969. The next is of me at the hotel pool.



I always knew that Ruby Lazarus was my father's first cousin. My grandmother was the sister of Ruby's father.

Ruby was mentioned in Ed Reid's 1969 book, "The Grim Reapers." He died in 1991.

I have an audiotape that was transposed for me from three very old records. It was made by a sound specialist who works at Lincoln Center. The records were created by my father for his parents during a stopover in St. Louis as he headed to the Aleutian Islands during WWII. In one of the recordings my father mentions Ruby, who was with him in St. Louis as he also waited to be shipped out.


Ruby Lazarus, waiting to testify during the Grand Jury gambling investigation:


Photo by Frank Scherschel, Time Life Pictures: Getty Images



Ash Resnick




Monday, February 18, 2013

Rashomon





During the summer of 1957, I spent two weeks at a 4-H camp on Long Island. It was almost the two most miserable weeks of my life. And, I was more than homesick. I was so unhappy, I think I became catatonic.

And what made it so terrible is that I was allowed to remain so upset and fall into a condition which is clearly visible in this photo. When my parents visited me after the first week, they were appalled at how I looked. I had lost a great deal of weight and for some reason my hair was cut so short. And I stunk. Somebody had neglected to show me where the showers were. I had not eaten and my parents brought me chocolate milk that was so good that when I close my eyes today I can still taste the gooey rich sweetness. And they fed me the first meal I was able to eat in almost five days.

The camp provided good meals. But, I had lost my apetite. The first dinner there was Swedish meatballs, and I can still recall biting into one of those meatballs and pulling out a long piece of hair from my mouth. Then when we had a night picnic, some counselor loaded up my paper plate with fried chicken and corn and the weight of it made me drop it and after they all laughed, nobody gave me a refill.

For some reason, all the other girls went to activities in the afternoons. They even went swimming. I had not signed up for anything so I was left alone in the cabin to cry. I mean sob. I wrote my mother a letter and ordered her to pick me up and get me the hell out of there. Then, a few hours after I put it in the mailbox, I trekked down the hill to retrieve it. I didn't want to upset my mother. But, when my parents visited, the sight of me upset them plenty.

I recall waking up early one morning and I was sharing my bed with a grasshopper. The girl next to me laughed. The girls had short-sheeted my bed the night before and I guess the grasshopper was the prank's dessert. Look at this picture. My sister puts on a cheerful face. Sure, she was not attending that camp.

I was never skinny in my whole life. The camp was able to bring on my skinny. My parents asked me if I wanted to go home with them. I was not a quitter. So, I stayed. I should have been diagnosed as a masochist and sent home in an ambulance.
I think as I walk around today, the unhappiness of those two weeks still lives in a small corner of my mind and brings me to dark places for which I can never quite pinpoint a reason.

 OR: 

During the summer of 1957, I spent several weeks at a 4-H camp on Long Island. It was almost the happiest weeks of my life. I was more than deliriously ecstatic. I was so happy, I think I became hebephrenic.

And what made it so wonderful is that I was allowed to be creative and celebrate my inner sense of performance art which is clearly visible in this photo. When my parents visited me after the first week, they were delighted at how well I was thriving. They plotzed from my total cuteness. I had gained a great deal of weight and for some reason my hair was so shiny. And I smelled like fragrant cut roses. It must have been that fresh country air. Somebody had actually prepared a milk bath for me with floating petals. The camp had the whiff of an essence of a expensive spa.

I had eaten plenty of wholesome food and my parents brought me a rare treat: chocolate milk that was so good that when I close my eyes today I can still taste the gooey rich sweetness. And they even brought me some Beluga caviar. The camp provided good meals, but that treat hit the spot. I had a ravenous apetite.

The first dinner there was Swedish meatballs, and I can still recall biting into one of those meatballs and savoring the delicious piquant flavor. Then when we had a night picnic; some counselor loaded up my paper plate with fried chicken and corn and I savored every bite.

We all went to activities in the afternoons. We even went swimming. I signed up for everything and my art work was displayed in a show. I even starred in the camp's production of "My Fair Lady." I did a rousing rendition of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly." I got a standing ovation and three curtain calls.

I wrote my mother a letter and told her to sign me up for two more weeks. Then, a few hours after I put it in the mailbox, I trekked down the hill to retrieve it so I could send it more quickly in a special delivery. I wanted to make my parents proud.

I recall waking up early one morning and I was sharing my bed with a morning dove. I felt like Cinderella after the Prince returned the glass slipper. The girl next to me hugged me. The girls had brought me chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles and it was a sensational dessert.

Look at this picture. I was in my glory. I was never heavy in my whole life. The camp was able to bring on my fatso and I loved it. My self-esteem was never better. My parents asked me if I wanted to stay all summer. But, I had plans for when I returned home. I wanted to go on American Bandstand and "dance like nobody was watching."

So, I left after two more weeks. I should have been classified a superstar and returned to my home town like a hero in a ticker tape parade. I think as I walk around today, the happiness of those many weeks still lives in a small corner of my mind and brings me to euphoric places for which I can always pinpoint the reason.

Life was good. It still is. But, it's those childhood sublime memories that remain and stick with us.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

the side from Vilna


an update, coming soon