Wednesday, March 2, 2011
My Parents & Great Neck
MY PARENTS & GREAT NECK
My parents moved from Brooklyn where I was born at Maimonides Hospital when I was 3 months old to Bayside Queens. We lived in attached garden apartments and I remember being so happy growing up there. Richard Dreyfus was my next door neighbor who I played with at an early age. Several years later, his family moved to Los Angeles, California and he became a famous movie actor. I remember being in the playground when my dad would come home and when he called I ran and I jumped into his arms as he hugged and kissed me. These garden apartments were built for the war veteran’s .My parents eventually traded bedrooms with my brother and I since my brother and I shared the smaller bedroom. One summer when I came home from sleep away camp I found all of ours belonging in the larger bedroom. My parents had gotten us all new furniture, and divided the room in half with a great acrylic designer looking screen. It was pretty cool.I didn’t mind sharing the bedrooms with my brother. Although I’m not sure that my brother felt the same way.
I remember that before I was old enough to go myself to sleep away camp I would go for several weeks to with my mom. My mom would stay at the camp with me. I do not recall if she slept in the same bunk or not. She cannot remember any of this so there is no way for me to find out. Yet I do have such fond memories of these summers. I stopped going to sleep away camp after 7th grade when I was already living in Great Neck, Long Island and started hanging out at the swimming pool club that my parents belonged to with my friends. We did not have our own swimming pool, like some of my friends, although I remember loving going to the club. Bikinis were just starting to be worn, they were the rage in Europe, especially the French Riviera, and Sonny & Cher had their huge hit “I Got You Babe” playing on the radio. Anyway my parents said they moved to this town to “better me “and to perhaps give me my very own bedroom. I loved my childhood memories of growing up in Bayside, Queens and my parents moving to Great Neck to “better me “maybe that’s when my happiness and I changed. Could I have been so shallow or become so insecure that I could not have what my friends were able to have?
I also remember as a child going every year on my birthday, July 12th to Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor in Bayside. If you showed them your birth certificate they would give you a free sundae. I also have fond memories of after my dance recitals, my parents taking me back to Jahn’s for a sundae. I guess that was my “reward” for a job well done. The simple things of life actually were quite lovely. Do we get caught up in seeing too much and then wanting too much and forgetting certain values? Does money make someone happy? For me it did not. I was doing quite well, in my career in the fashion industry and having “the finer things” in life, I found myself back in a therapist office talking about not feeling happy. Again was it my inner self, my relationship with my mom, my “toilet training” or perhaps not getting the dancing ballerina that my cousin Carole had.
My brother Gil never grew up in Great Neck, since he immediately went to Queens College.He would come home in the evenings. So did Great Neck better me or in some ways maybe yes and in some ways I don’t think so. I envied what others had and moving to this town in 6th grade making new friends and then going to a different school in town for Junior High, perhaps would be difficult for most teenagers. Straight hair was in; curly hair which I was blessed with was out. Peggy Lipton who starred in Mod Squad with her beautiful straight blond hair could make any curly haired girl green with envy. The popular guys in 7th grade I remember use to make fun of me because I did not have “real” Papagallos.I guess at that time that was the status symbol. They also made fun of the size of my breasts/boobs or should I say the lack of them. Luckily for me this had never ever bothered me. I never had any desire to be more endowed. At least I was secure in that area. I remember wanting to get a nose job like all my friends They all used the famous doctor, Dr. Diamond. He had the best reputation, especially if you wanted the same nose that all your friends were getting, whether it fit your shape face or not. I do remember my mom saying to me that I could not get a nose job and that if I still wanted to correct my nose when I was sixteen we could talk about it. My mom thought at thirteen I did not know what was best for me and that I would outgrow wanting one. Although I was upset with her she was right and I did outgrow it. The one thing Great Neck did do for me was it made me very ambitious. I saw things that I wanted and I focused on my career in the fashion industry. I ask did growing up in Great Neck helped form and inspire me. Or could it have been my parents, my mom and or my dad?