The Unbearable Banishment: Star Struck c. 1993

Friday, February 8, 2013

Star Struck c. 1993

More "fascinating" tidbits from my recently-excavated journals. This one from 1993.

*     *     *
star struck

I rode the elevator up with Hedy
the Old Lady from the 6th floor
who has never spoken a word
to me
or anyone else
in the 3+ years I've lived here.

She's a typical NYC octogenarian:
sloppily applied bright, red lipstick
bowed back
The city beat the stuffing out of her.
It'll get me, too.

I was showing Hedy my mail:
an appeal for a contribution
from an association that saves trees.
Robert Redford loaned his name to the cause.
It appeared in the return address.
I said to Hedy, "Look at this!
I got mail from Robert Redford!"

The small, frail mother
suddenly straightened her back.
Her eyes lighted.
She said in a loud voice:
"I MET Robert Redford when I WORKED at the HOTEL."
I asked, "Was he nice to you?"
"Oh my, YES! VERY nice. And very HANDSOME, too."
She was screaming.
OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN took me to his apartment
and showed me his GUN COLLECTION."

The elevator stopped on the 5th floor.
Hedy and I got off.

Nobody reading this has ever had
a personal tour of Oscar Hammerstein's arsenal.
And you never will.

It's encouraging to see that
even at our nadir
we remember our apex.
Our moment of glory.


Blogger dinahmow said...

This is why we've all been telling you not to burn those journals.
Having some experience of performing, editing and writing, I recognise good work.

February 8, 2013 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Aren't you nice? I'm flattered. I wish I had some extra cash lying around. I'd send it to you.

February 8, 2013 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

A most engaging anecdote. I'm glad Redford was nice to her, because my opinion of him went down when he said the character he most identified with was the Sundance Kid. The Sundance Kid? How the hell can he identify with a gunfighter?

February 9, 2013 at 2:51 AM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

I hope and pray you hold on to these journals---they are a Treasure Trove. I'd love to know what Hotel she worked at....And what it was she did at the Hotel? It is fascinating to know that Oscar Hammerstein had a Gun Collection---it seems so very unlikely, on the surface....I hope you will share more with us!

February 9, 2013 at 4:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time we visit NYC we see 1 or 2 of those ladies walking. On the UES it's usually with a helper (maid). They probably have some interesting stories from their life in the city.

February 9, 2013 at 5:16 AM  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Save the postage! Buy me a drink next time I'm in town!

February 9, 2013 at 5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also can't put Oscar Hammerstein and guns together.

I hope you won't mind me saying that there's something amusingly naive about the last verse :)

February 9, 2013 at 6:42 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

That guy had cosmetic surgery done. If a handsome devil like Robert Redford is insecure about his looks, what hope does any of us have?

February 9, 2013 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I think I might have mentioned this elsewhere but these journals have also brought to mind many episodes that are best forgotten. I don't need to relive my loser past. It was painful enough the first time.

February 9, 2013 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

In retrospect, I regret that I didn't chat her up more. I'll bet she had great stories. I was too young and too self-absorbed to realize what was in front of me.

February 9, 2013 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I agree with you 100%. It IS naive. This was written a very long time ago. Who isn't naive when just starting out? Today, it sounds like a greeting card sentiment.

February 9, 2013 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

the offer still stands to preserve those journals down here on the plantation, sugar! xoxoxoxo

February 9, 2013 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Okay. But you're not allow to read them. You'll learn all about my horrible weakness and outcomes. Think you can resist?

February 9, 2013 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

NYC is the best for celebrity spotting. I saw Charo and Erykah Badu in 1 day. Woohoo.

February 10, 2013 at 2:23 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"The Unbearable Banishment" has been included in the A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.

February 10, 2013 at 6:49 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

That's a killer combination. Two entertainers who couldn't be further apart. I almost hit Norman Mailer on my bike once.

February 10, 2013 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Thanks very much for the link! It's about time my raw genius was acknowledged. [Witty sarcasm.]

February 10, 2013 at 8:38 AM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

She was a beautiful, daring actress. She was also a mathematician, known for co-creating code that is still the foundation for frequency hopping (a key to effective electronic communications). And yet her most remarkable memories are NOT of the contribution she made to the advancement of science, but of meeting Robert Redfort and looking at Oscar's weapons. (sigh) This is why nerds shall never truly have groupies...

oh, and "It's 'HEDLEY' damn it..."

February 10, 2013 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

resist? hell, sugar, i figured we'd sit around drinking and reading out loud while the MITM accompanied the reading with his tenor sax! xoxoxox

February 10, 2013 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger X said...

Why would you burn them? Surely if you want the physical space back you'd just scan the lot to electronic format, but this stuff is gold. It'll be a historical reference just like Samuel Pepys diaries one day.

February 10, 2013 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

If you had met her, I doubt that's the impression you would have walked away with. She was kind of all busted up. And it WAS Hedy! That's no typo.

February 10, 2013 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I can't take the thought of my two daughters getting their hands on them. Perhaps it's an overreaction, but I think the content could irreparably alter the way they see and react to me. Some of it is pretty awful stuff.

February 10, 2013 at 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The city beat the stuffing out of her.
It'll get me, too." Nice, very nice.
Such an odd thing to tell about the gun collection, but hey, everyone defines their own shining moments

February 11, 2013 at 3:00 AM  
Anonymous nuttycow said...

I really like this. Really.

Not the most insightful comment, I know, but it's been a hectic Monday so far!

February 11, 2013 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I never once thought to question it but I suppose it could have all been a figment of her imagination. She seemed sincere so I'm going to stick with the assumption that it wasn't just a crazy lady babbling.

February 11, 2013 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I know you think that's a slight comment but it means a lot to me. For real. Thanks.

February 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger SJF said...

Loved that true New York story. You never know who you're gonna meet and what tales they have to tell.

February 11, 2013 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I should have chatted her up a lot more than I did. She probably had a million stories like that. Ignore the elderly at your own risk!

February 11, 2013 at 8:05 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

The "Hedley" remark? A reference to Harvey Korman's character in "Blazing Saddles".

if i'd have met her? i'd have asked her if she ever made a stinkin' dime off that invention, because i know someone made some scratch. it was brilliant, and we are STILL using it.

February 12, 2013 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Hedley = zing right over my head.

February 12, 2013 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger sukipoet said...

this did give me a chuckle. how lovely you perked Hedy up and she was able to share some of her story.

February 12, 2013 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

This was a long time ago and the not-so-funny coda is that Hedy and I had a terrible falling out. I haven't heard from her in many, many years. It happens.

February 12, 2013 at 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As if I needed a reason to love you know about Hedy Lamarr's inventions AND you quote from Blazing Saddles. What say we ditch Studley and Mr. Weebles and get busy?

February 14, 2013 at 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of Anna, the woman who lived above me in Soho. She was 85 years old and had been born in the building. She told me all kinds of stories about the neighborhood back in the 20s and 30s when it was all Italian and "you didn't ask these guys what sort of work they did." And she liked her whiskey. I want to be Anna when I get to be 85.

February 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

My heart's desire was to be the cranky old guy who had the huge apartment and cheap rent. Everyone would wonder when I was going to finally croak so they could have my apartment. There's one in every New York building and I wanted it to be me.

February 14, 2013 at 7:38 PM  

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