Sometimes in the morning when I am baking with Michael, I am dreaming or remembering…this morning, I started to remember my 20s when I lived and worked in New York City. I wondered if I had any jobs which prepared me for baking, decorating cupcakes and then I remembered for a short 6 months, I was a hostess at an outdoor café at Rockefeller Center. It sounds glamorous but in reality, sometimes it is better to be an armchair traveler. That is true also with travelling overseas. Sometimes reading or imagining about something can be better than the real thing.
The good point about being a hostess was I had the opportunity to meet the well know actor, Roy Schneider, and I always felt like I was at the center of the world when working at the Center. The tiring point was the job was very fast paced and at times, very political. I had customers who knew where they wanted to sit and somehow I was expected to be diplomatic, get them seated and keep a smile on my face. It didn’t take long for me to realize the better job was being the waitress because of the tips. Unfortunately there were no openings as this was a highly coveted job at the Center. Shortly afterwards, I lost my rent controlled apartment which I shared with a friend of a friend as her best friend, an aspiring ballet dancer, was moving back in from the Midwest and she wanted me out. Housing and living expenses were very expensive and still are.
I can still remember the day I left. It was snowing and the apartment looked out over Abingdon Square, West Village. I cried and cried because I didn’t want to leave. My parents newly retired, living in the Gulf Coast, Alabama offered me a small shot gun shack they owned on the Gulf and my plane ticket was to Mobile, Alabama. I anticipated returning to New York but I never did. I had lasted 3 long years on my own in Manhattan, but in retrospect time went quickly. The people, the interesting jobs, and the city itself which I experienced is something I will never forget. So anyway, this morning, I was remembering those times and those heady days of the past in Manhattan when the job opportunities were bright and the city itself hummed with challenges and promises of glory. Times have changed; New York City hit some rough patches in the following decades but when one remembers the past, the armchair traveler returns and somehow it becomes a mystical and magical experience. And when one is presented with the words, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” I remember my 20s in New York.