Tags " talking to strangers at the next table"
Jul 24, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Dallas to NYC

Like children, Harry and I couldn’t sleep and were awake at 3:30 the morning of July 24. Consequently we were ready when Nelwyn and Walker picked us up to go to the airport. There we ran into the Carlisle Willises (Margaret Merry), and the Friedmans who were seeing their son, Joe, off.

We met the Earlys in the waiting room at Love Field and met some of their friends who were seeing them off. The tremendous Braniff super jet  was mostly empty (in first class anyway). We ran into some bad weather which delayed us – Harry was on pins and needles helping the pilot fly until we touched down at IdlewildIdlewild Airport changed its name to JFK in 1963. It was built in 1935 on the site of the Idlewild Golf Course..

Our rooms at the Waldorf were adjoining and tho not too fancy they were heavenly because of the air-conditioning. We availed ourselves of the lounge and Rose’s services and relaxed over some drinks. A Jo Ann Kelly (Mrs. Gordon) from Fort Worth was the only other occupant and she joined us.

After a brief visit to the Peacock Alley,This was not the original Peacock Alley. The original connect the Waldorf and Astoria hotels and was a grand promenade where people went to see and be seen. The original was torn down to make way for the Empire State Building. When they built the new W-A, they included a similar walking area so the tradition could continue. we went over to Broadway for supper and a show. We saw Tammy Grimes in “The Unsinkable Molly BrownI find it a bit ironic that they went to see a show about a woman who survived the sinking of the Titanic on the eve of their own ocean voyage!” which was delightful.

It’d been a long day and Harry was expiring from the heat so we checked out on a nightcap and walked back to our cool room.

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Aug 2, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 2

We slept until 9 o’clock, had breakfast in our room and about 10:30 struck out with the Earlys. They met some friends from Dallas near the hotel on the Madelaine – the Ed Reeds – who will be in Baden Baden when we are.

Today we tackled the bus – from the Opera to the Pont Neuf – it was easy. We wanted to do the Ile de la CiteThe Île de la Cité (French pronunciation: il də la site) is one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris. It is the center of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded. on foot and on our own. So we walked from one end to the other – went through St. Chapelle – which is hard to find but lovely when you do. Then – Notre Dame – I was unprepared for its elegance & beauty even tho’ I’d read so much. It is magnificent. Jeannette walked the 287 steps Interestingly, I found references to the '300 steps' to see the gargoyles, 'nearly 400 steps' and '383 steps'. I guess by the time you get to the top, you lose count! up to the level of the gargoyles but we couldn’t make it. Harry want to buy a candle and light it for the Tiltons – so we did and then walked across to the Left Bank and looked at the boats, stalls and bought cards. We wandered down the street to Place Maubert – past all sorts of food and drink shops. Sat and had an aperitif on the square – I had Pernod/perˈnō/ Noun An anise-flavored liqueur. out of curiosity – it’s like absinthe – & I won’t do that again.

We went to a restaurant behind Les Invalides, Chez les Anges, for lunch – again had a wonderful steak – and wine of course. Harry is a hog about the wine and we’ve developed a taste. However, this restaurant served water!

We met at the Place de Pyramides the tour to Versailles. Our guide had to direct in German & English & was the peppiest cutest one imaginable. It’s about 15 miles to Versailles and the drive & weather were both pretty. Versailles is quite a large town & has some lovely houses, gardens, avenues lined with trees. But Versailles was most impressive – we walked through several rooms & then in the gardens but oh – our feet were hurting. It was most memorable tho’ – very well worth it.

Upon returning, Harry and I went to the flower market at the Madelaine & picked out a bouquet for Mrs. Abeel. At the hotel when trying to arrange for them to be put in her room, we learned that, sure enough, they’d cancelled her room with bath. Harry stewed and argued & we finally moved out of our own and into hers.

We met the Earlys at les Deux Magots (St. Germain-de-Pru) – which Bill Abeel had recommended & had several apertifs. I was determined to go for dinner where there was French music and a chanteuseA female singer; often specifically a popular or cabaret singer. So turned and asked a girl at the next table. She spoke no English but gave me 2 names of places. The first was closed – many places are for August – the second had gendarmes, machine guns, paddy wagons & we thought the Tunisians were at it againThis probably referred to the Bizerte Crisis, which occurred in July 1961 when Tunisia imposed a blockade on the French naval base at Bizerte, Tunisia, hoping to force its evacuation. The crisis culminated in a three-day battle between French and Tunisian forces that left some 630 Tunisians and 24 French dead and eventually led to France ceding the city and naval base to Tunisia in 1963.. But all calmed down & we entered the cave – night club – Le Grand Severin. It was small but elegant. There was music and chanteurs (all Negro), and a tiny dance floor.

I started talking to the people at the next table & they helped us order and were tres amiable all night. The men kissed our hands when we left. We had another excellent meal with wine and were very festive. Harry and I had some kind of fowl in sauce – delicious, but A & J had kebabs and some very tasty rice. My desert was strawberries Alaska – also good. Came back to the hotel in a cab and found Mrs. Abeel already settled. It was so good to see her. We then woke Hugh up & while he dressed I went on down to the sidewalk cafe. I began talking to a young man to prove to Harry I could do all right on my own. The man was from Greece, spoke no English but we conversed in French. He was scared out of his wits when Harry and Hugh joined us but bravely stayed and we had a grand time.

Harry insisted I go on to bed while he & Hugh walked to Cafe de la Paix. He came in much later just delighted with himself – they had had two propositions.

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Aug 3, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 3

I got up and dressed and left Harry sleeping while I went to the breakfast room for the usual coffee & rolls. Sat with a young Spanish woman with 6-year-old daughter. We conversed in French – it was hysterical.

I had my hair done in the beauty parlor near the hotel, Joffo’s, & came out looking very odd, but very Parisienne. Harry was still abed, mal a tete from too much wine so I went on to the Champs Elysees by bus. I walked from the Rond Poinit clear to the Arch de Triomphe – quite a way. Met the South African (Britishers) couple, the Barries, and they walked part way with me. I crossed the Etoile – quite an accomplishment with all that traffic, bought a tickets, went by elevator to the top. It was a beautiful day & tho’ I wasn’t familiar enough with the landmarks to pick out many, it was a gorgeous sight – especially the 12 boulevards which come into the Arch – Etoile.

I walked to Forquet’s & met Allen & Jeannette for drinks & lunch. Harry found us in a little while. We all had cheese omelets & mixed green salad. Saw Red Buttons at an adjoining table but didn’t recognize anyone else – it’s supposed to be a fashionable spot for celebrities, business men, etc.

We returned to the hotel by cab and we were moved to still another room – the fourth we’d been in in Paris – a different one each night.

The bus for the tour picked us up – this was “Old Paris” – the Louvre, Ile de Cite, Latin Quarter, Luxenbourg, Sorbonne, Place de Bastille & Montmartre. We (J & I) enjoyed Notre Dame again with a guide. Harry and Allen were enjoying a bar. We were glad to go again to Montmartre & sit in the square. We were all dead tired and rested before meeting in Allen’s room for drinks. Mrs. Abeel & Hugh joined us. After looking forward to Le Petet Bedon (Bill Abeel’s suggestion) the concierge hadn’t made reservations. We returned to Fouquet’s, had a very elegant meal upstairs and only had to cross the Champs Elysees to the Lido. The place was packed but the show began immediately. I was very good – many bare breasts, beautiful costumes & elaborate staging – in sequence – stairs, an ice rink, a pool for a seal, revolving trapezes, even horses. Drank champagne – we had more than we could finish. Enjoyed a British couple sitting next to us from Birmingham.

Late as we were getting home, the men wanted to prowl the streets. Harry said later that business must have been poor that night ’cause they had many solicitations.

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Aug 11, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Rome, Day 3

I got up early, had breakfast alone and caught a bus to Plaza de Spagna. Had investigated the day before about cashing a check at American Embassy. Was there promptly at 9 when the doors opened, passport ready, & had no trouble getting travelers’ checks.

Had my hair done at Elizabeth Ardens – moderately conservative – met Harry and shopped. Bought glasses at Peroniyep...still open. A German-style beer garden - http://www.anticabirreriaperoni.net/storia_en.htm & browsed thru several other places.

Ate lunch at the hotel, rested, and about 5, Harry and I walked to the Grand to see the ChasesI'm guessing this is George and Eleanor Chase. After a little visit, we returned and dressed for the evening & met them at Doney’s and Bill Moss appeared again and Harry chased down Harry & Gloria Tennison & made arrangements to meet later.

We had dinner at Da Meo PataccaaIn July 1959 Remington Olmsted, an American actor and Roman by adoption, conceived and founded Meo Patacca and three other successful restaurants, turning a dream into reality: to recreate the atmosphere of a 19th century Roman tavern. In the splendid backdrop of Trastevere, the enterprising 'sor Remy' founded 'Da Meo Patacca', the typical restaurant that still looks onto the enchanting Piazza dei Mercanti, a small historic and architectural jewel of medieval Rome., an outdoor restaurant in Trasavere. Music, singing, balloons floating above the table each fastened to a wine caraffe – very gay & colorful. A man charged by on a horse regularly and eventually, they bedecked the horse with flowers & ribbons, hitched him to a cart and paraded around. Fun.

I made friends with two young couples at the next table and altho we couldn’t understand each other, we presented each other with gifts at parting.

On to Basilica Ulpia, a wonderful location near the “wedding cake” (Victor Emanuel monument) and some ruins. But it was a disappointment – the downstairs was closed, the balcony hot and we were practically the only people there.

Went by Trevi FountainThe original legend says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi – with your back to the fountain, throwing the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder – that will ensure a return to Rome. However, I'm not sure it worked in mother's case as I can't recall her taking any more trips there. to toss our coins in so we’ll be sure of returning and then to the downstairs bar at the Excelsior to meet Harry Tennison. Grand visit with him over drinks – they are on their way to Africa to safari.

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