Hollywood Hollywood

Hollywood Hollywood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The diary my mother never wrote is from what I read in the  FBI surveillance reports,  newspaper articles and what my father told me.  My mother’s emotion’s and thoughts erupt from years of research, intuition and imagination.  When I was eleven she gave me a diary. I’ve been writing ever since. I wanted my daughter or son to understand who I was, in case I died young like her. Instead I became dedicated to writing not childbearing.

I think every mother should keep a diary for her children.

Manhattan, December 1944

I am dancing at the Copacabana Night club for the next few weeks. This tiny smoky club is filled with many interesting people. It’s different from any modeling job.

I’m tired after working all day and night, and then taking the train back home to West Orange. Some of the girls are staying at the Barbizon Hotel, so I may also if it’s not too expensive.

Last night, a group of men were seated in the front row. I didn’t know who they were, but this one stared at me all through the show. He sent a bouquet of long-stemmed roses backstage and asked me to meet him for a drink.

When I declined, he was very insistent, and so persuasive I gave in. Later on, I found out he was seated with Frank Costello, the gangster. His name is Allen, and he asked me to dine with him the following night. I hesitated again, and I’m not sure why. He made me laugh and entertained everyone at the table.

January 1944

A talent agent from Hollywood came to the Copa to see all of us dance. Mum is so excited she is already telling everyone in town, I hate when she does this.

Allen called and I agreed to dine with him. We went to El Morocco. He knows so many people. He says he’s in the film business, but there’s talk amongst the girls that he’s a gangster.

March 1944

I’m going to Hollywood for an audition. Swifty Lazar, the one that came to the Copa to see our show, said MGM is signing musical actors. They liked my photos. Allen lives in Hollywood, and is handling all the details. He’s become very interested in my career. It’s all so sudden. There isn’t time to think.

April 1944

I spent a week in Hollywood. Allen drove me all over the city, took me to Santa Monica to see the ocean, to the nightclubs on Sunset Boulevard, and Beverly Hills.

It’s like a dream. I love the city, and MGM has offered me a contract. Again, Allen is helping me make decisions and understand the film business. I don’t know what he does, but he carries a lot of cash. He gets very disturbed when I question him. I met his friend Benjamin Siegel. They are both so handsome and get anything they want.

Summer 1944

We are moving out to California next month. Allen found an apartment in Beverly Hills for us, near where sister Pat can go to High School. She’s so excited. One of the models told me Ben Siegel is a gangster. I wish Allen would open up to me more.

When we moved, our new apartment was on a beautiful street. The apartment is smaller than home, and Mum misses her garden, but she seems happy. She found a Church she likes. She is going to learn to drive.

I have already learned to drive and am saving for a car. Allen knows someone who sells cars, and said he can get me a very good deal. Sometimes, I don’t hear from him for a week, and then he shows up on the studio set with presents.

Allen, Ben and George Raft were arrested for bookmaking. George called and said it wasn’t like the papers wrote, and that Allen would call me when he could.

I’m not to discuss this with anyone. I hid the paper from Mum.

George took me out to dinner. He wants me to be in a movie with him called Nocturne. He’s very fond of Allen and said not to believe what I read in the papers.

Next week we begin filming “Ziegfeld Follies.” Fred Astaire is magnificent to watch. Life is spinning. There is no time to read, or even think. Everyone in Hollywood wants to be a star. I still daydream of going to college one day.

November 1944

I am in love with Allen. There is no turning back. He is Jewish, and his family lives in Winnipeg, Canada. He won’t talk of them, but said he loved his mother.

I wonder so often about his life, but I cannot ask questions. Maybe one day he’ll trust me more. He’s suspicious of everyone. He said he’s going to marry me when his life settles down.



Paris beauty salon

Paris beauty salon (Photo credit: adrian, acediscovery)

In the salon, Wendy, who sees me coming in and senses my mood, whipped out a particularly inviting  greeting.

” What’s happening laaaaady?”

” Turning the page on another year.  OMG- how did I get to be this age?”  Screening my head for imperfections , she stroked my shoulder.

” You don’t need hi-lights, and you look terrific.

” That’s not enough,  I haven’t planned well.

” You’re an artist, you create..

” You sure I don’t need hi-lights

” No, you look fab-u-lous.”

Two women in the salon, the conversation cuts through all of our individuality, and ends up in the center, of our tribal understanding, our sensitivities, and insecurities.


Post Office. St. Louis, Missouri, by Boehl & K...

Post Office. St. Louis, Missouri, by Boehl & Koenig (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About the post office, it’s a relic, a dying old fortress of communication, where we all stood in line at one time to send our letters, the ones that took us a few more minutes than we can afford today.  I wrote a lot of letters, long five page letters written on delicate stationary, and art cards I bought in museums and boutiques.

The Post Office loses 96 million dollars a day according to a reporter on television.  We have stopped buying stamps, because we don’t mail letters. We don’t even need to send packages, because we  buy it online and let them ship it directly.  The cards are printed by the shipper, and impersonally attached to the gift. The type is formal, and even though you know that person, had his mind on you for the minute they typed out that note, well, it’s not the same really.  Progress is raping  us of the personal touch.  People like Zuckerberg are reinventing the way we share our thoughts, our photos, our everything.

Letters, of people that acquired prominence in the world of literature, art, and science were  adapted into books.  I wonder if their emails will be considered for a book.

The postman still comes to the house, he’s usually talking on his cell phone, or listening to his iPod, when he drops the mail off.   There is no need to rush to see what he’s brought, it’s always the same, a stack of bills, a few discount fliers, and a real estate brokerage announcement that they can sell our house in thirty days.  The postman has changed too.  They used to say hello, and have a nice day.  I suppose if I wanted to have a conversation with the Postman I could go to their Facebook page.

I’m going to check, and see if they have a Facebook page….  The first three  Facebook post offices:  one in the UK, one in St Louis, and one in Pakistan.  Clicked more, and there they are. You can Facebook the Post office.


Morning comes after two cups of French Press.   I sit here at the desk, peeking out the glass door to  the shady side of the street.  I do not know where I will be living, what I will be doing, or who I will be doing it with next month.  Uncertainly, I move in and out of situations and get swept up in my ideas and fantasies.  I buy and sell, make and remake, move-in, move-out, leave homes, careers, friends and relationships.  I move out of comfort

art nouveau dome of light

art nouveau dome of light (Photo credit: e³°°°)

and into uncertainty because it feels more like home moving than staying in one place.

I have to put the words on the paper and look at it to make it real.

Raising a family, sprouting barriers and responsibilities might have changed me, but I didn’t. I’m unchanged in some ways, still running through the hallways of the hotels, gardens, and neighborhoods. Do you know what I mean?


Levon helm performing with The Band. Hamburg, ...

Levon helm performing with The Band. Hamburg, May 1971. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have this greatest love for The Band.. brought on by a listen when I was about seventeen.

My two best friends, Lizzie and Billy. Billy played the guitar, from Tulsa, so he got it, and his sister Lizzie sang.

I sat crossed legged in her English boudoir bedroom in Bel Air, and knew they were the musical advisories.  I never may have known the Band if it wasn’t for them.

How come no one has spoken about Levon? Are we too obsessed with mediocrity? How did our tastes vanish into


Now it’s the Kardasian, whatever her name is.  Who cares. Why? What happened to us?

I loved you Levon. I love you The Band. It breaks my heart.