#14 Who, Me?

In #9 Why Not Put on a Show in the Garage? I wrote of moving to New York.

In 1971, I was living with friends of my parents, their four sons and crazy dog on Governor’s Island. The silhouettes of the Twin Towers were a new part of the skyline and just a ten minute ferry ride away. Life was gentle, green, gracious but temporary. The family didn’t know how long I expected to stay, I didn’t know how long they would welcome me. Pressure was on to find a job.

At their house though, laughter was the order of every day. Who would want to leave that comfort? I knew the two older brothers when we were all kids. My brother babysat for them. The families learned to ski together. Now I had four brothers ranging from 8 to 17. I was 24. Everything was a joke, everything was fun. Their mother was the most amazing chef in the world, my ideal of style and grace and there was cocktail hour each evening, very new to me. I had my first martinis, not new to them. I thought the ritual was for me, their company.

Their dog Maggie was a big black and white sort of Setter, and my little dog Sammie, a sort of Beagle. On the third floor was a great den like room with 3 bedrooms connected for the guys. It’s where everyone congregated in the evenings and where we all watched the new sensation, All in the Family.  

One day I came back from the city, went up to the den and Sammie was dangling by her harness collar from a doorknob. The guys were hiding and thought it was hysterically funny, little Sammie just limply hanging there. They thoroughly enjoyed the sudden ability to slightly horrify the new sister. And at poor little Sammie’s expense, I felt more at home than I did growing up.

The parents had rented an apartment in Vermont for a ski trip and I was included. However, the brake shoes of my Opel had frozen, so the Dad helped me get to Manhattan for repairs. If he was annoyed it never showed. I was used to annoyed. Then off we all went in both cars.

Killington was especially cold that season. We were given blankets for shelter from the wind, sleet and ice on the chair lift. That did not stop me from smoking, my favorite place for a cigarette. The mother made fabulous meals and we all played twister at night. Everything was fun and funny. Was this what a family was like?

When we returned it was time to find a job. I met with a man in Manhattan who had received a letter about me in advance from the radio station where I worked in Seattle. He arranged for a couple of job possibilities, something that astonishes me to this day. I wish I could remember his name for I had never had this experience before.

For that meeting, I recall a nice office, his gracious manner and because of my shyness about myself probably a shorter conversation than we might have had. This was my future we were talking about, but I didn’t want to impose, a common theme for me then.

I don’t remember how I dressed, or even how I got there. Had I mastered the subway system by then?

He told me first about an opportunity at CBS Television. They were looking for someone to edit all movies for commercials that would air on the network. The job was virtually mine if I wanted it, and the money was much more than I could have imagined. I had my Engineering license and edited audio tape. I met all the qualifications. But back then, I was a girl, intimidated in a big Manhattan office. I needed to get a job and stop living off the kindness of friends. I had to do what I knew I could do fast.

All that went through my head was, “Who, me? I don’t know how to edit movies.” WHAT? You thought WHAT? They’d train you, you idiot. The job was yours. Had I never even seen the word “opportunity” in a dictionary?

I didn’t even take an interview. I did go to a big radio station to do the same job I had been doing in Seattle for enormously less money than the job at CBS.

For historical reference, thirty years later I went to film school in New York and I loved editing.


One Comment on “#14 Who, Me?”

  1. Bob says:

    get a video cam …

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