Where I’ve Lived. Three Men and a Little Debutante.

Three Men and a Little Debutante cleaned up just a bit. It’s a long one:

So, in New York I’ve lived in many many places but none so much fun packed and girl filled as 16th Street. The place was off of 6th Avenue and between the village and Chelsea. I don’t even know what the area is called, but it is very cool. So, I had an apartment there for years that I shared with a great chick and one of New York’s top casting directors. Her father, by the way, invented (Howdy Doody – True that.) I didn’t live their full time as the place was cheap enough (two story, two bathroom, garden, two fireplaces, two bedrooms, two people) for me to keep for years as I wandered around having adventures. I would always come back. It was just one of those once in a lifetime deals. I had a little bedroom but it had 14 foot ceilings so I built a loft bed and built shelving all around the loft and put in a TV a stereo etc. etc. It was wonderful. On the ground floor I had a sofa and another TV and a desk. Amazing place.

After I returned from my Memphis adventure to work in NYC (at DMB&B) on Crest Toothpaste I came to 16th Street full time. One night I’m in my room (unusual as most evenings I was out after work) at around 10 PM and the phone rings. I hear a
“Haaaah,” which is Alabamaeese for Hi. It was the world’s prettiest and most funny Debutante from the great state of Alabama and Montgomery (daughter of the head of the Alabama State Senate, daughter of Val, sister of Arch, Foxcroft girl, descendant of Light Horse Harry Lee and Robert E Lee and talker to everyone who’d listen. Her voice could be described as Fog Horn Leghorn (the great southern, Warner Brothers, Rooster) as a girl. You know when I first asked her about her famous descendant she said this: “Yesssss it IS ahl tru, AH- AM a Dye-rect Dee-send – Dant buht must CAW-shun Light Horse Harry Lee was a SCOWN-drel.” Yes, she said that. Really she talked/talks like that. She opens her mouth and three hours later you’re still there listening. Why Alabama women have not conquered the world I don’t know. They are 24-hour entertainment and this one was also brilliant.

I hadn’t seen or heard from her since Memphis when she had first gotten married. She came to visit for a day or so after nuptiualizing in Alabama, Anyway, she was living on a mountain in California in a national park next to Academy Award nominated actress Susan Tyrell (Fat City) and that was about the only good part. Her hubby was a rigging Grip who worked shows like Batman and other huge Hollywood Features. Nutshell, he had sold her car, and would leave for weeks at a time leaving her alone on the mountain with food and nothing much else. There was nowhere to go. Anyway, she being convivial decided maybe she didn’t like being up there as no more than a prisoner. She got Susan’s phone and called me up and said “Haaah”, which is Alabamaeese for Hi. She launched into a two and a half hour story that I just told you in a paragraph. We decided she needed to get out of there. She had no money, no credit card, no car but she did have her dog and her cat, which were of great value…to her and had to make the trip. So, we communicated over the next few weeks on Susan’s phone (Foghorn didn’t have one) and I sent a credit card and a Shell gas card and I arranged a U-Haul for her. I convinced her to drive to NYC with nothing and told her don’t worry she’d find something. The Steel Magnolia drove a truck with her belongings her pets and absolutely nothing else but my word and wound up at 16th street two weeks after our first conversation.

Now, my great place was too small for both of us all the time so I approached the great Uncle Barry and Ricky Pags with the dilemma and they joined in. They did not know her didn’t know about her and had never heard her name until I asked them if they wanted to share custody. Ricky agreed to take the dog, Tucker, fulltime and the Debutante for two days a week. Uncle Barry took the Magnolia for two days a week and I think the cat, Phoebe, too. I took the Little Debutante three days a week and, yes, holidays, she came to my parent’s house (they loved her) in Baltimore with me and Ricky Pags Pags for Christmas and New Years. We took her to church etc. For about two months we three men shared custody of the Debutante between Chelsea, Grammercy Park, 16th Street and Maryland. 16th Street became southern belle central, as I also hosted one or two of her friends from the great state of Alabama on occasion. I also spent many hours on the phone with her Mom, Val.

Within the two months Magnolia got a job, got an apartment, not just any apartment, a great apartment and numerous boyfriends. Later there was another boyfriend and another escape, this time from New Jersey, and a stay in our apartment on Sullivan Street and then Greenwich Street.
Next Where I’ve Lived” story Sullivan Street, Greenwich Street, Magnolia becomes conflicted and the best agency ever.
This may be an epilogue: I’m not sure what epilogue means but I think this is one.
I left for San Francisco to work at McCann and came back to 16th Street a year later for another NYC gig and somehow managed to house an aspiring actress in the 16th Street place almost immediately upon my return. Uncle Barry and Ricky Pags didn’t return phone calls.

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