Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis


Minutes after I left home to go to college, my parents up and moved again. Daddy left Hanes Underwear after all those years and became the President of BVD. They sold the house in Winston-Salem and sent my brother to boarding school in Maine. I think my sister went to live with a friend to finish out her last year in high school. And Mother and Daddy moved to New York City. Daddy's office was in the Empire State Building.

They bought an apartment in mid-town on the east side. Sutton Place South. On the 9th floor. I think the one I have circled here was our apartment. It was a nice apartment building with friendly doormen. The apartment was pretty big. My sister and I had to share a room again but we were rarely home at the same time. Reggie came up to New York to help Mom decorate it so it was really nice.

And it was amazing to live in New York City. Amazing. After my freshman year, I went to spend the summer there. Free room and board (and they were still giving me my allowance every month!).

I got a job through Kelly Girls (a temp agency). Right away they found me a 3 month gig at United Coconut. I answered the phone and did filing. "Good morning! United Coconut!" The office was two brothers who did not speak to each other and their 4,000 year old secretary. Every day I was afraid the old lady was going to collapse and die right there or that the brothers would get in a fist fight. I had a great imagination and the job was boring.

BUT, I made $3.00 an hour. In 1968 that was a freakin' fortune. (My college friends had much harder jobs in other parts of the country and were making $1.50-2.00.) And I was in Manhattan. And I lived in a really nice place for free. It was an amazing summer.

I saved up my money and in August, I waltzed into Lord & Taylor and bought knee high red boots and a gray maxie coat with red and white pinstripes and a hat to match and red leather gloves and a red cashmere scarf. There was NOBODY cooler than me. Nobody.

Bethany had weird semesters. There was a six week break between the fall and spring ones. So my sophomore year, I got my journalism department head to help me land an internship (unpaid) at Eastern Airlines in their communications department for the month of January.

Their offices were in Rockefeller Plaza. And they were the nicest people on the planet and if I were not cool before, I certainly was now. Leaving my NYC apartment in my red leather boots with fabulous coat and going to my job at Eastern Airlines in Rockefeller Plaza. I mean seriously. It's hard to believe even now. Those were four amazing weeks.

At the end, the little group I worked for, took me out to lunch at The Rainbow Room. It was, hands down, the most elegant meal of my life to date (and very nearly even since). I remember looking at the menu and being stunned by how so many delicious things there were to pick from. One of them, a grilled trout, came with peeled grapes. I remember fantasising about someone back in that elegant kitchen peeling grapes for me. That's what I ordered and the grapes were peeled perfectly.

All of us took full advantage of living in Manhattan. We all loved it to bits. My mother loved the theater. At one point, she had seen every single thing on Broadway except Hair. Every time she got a ticket to Hair, one of us came home from school and snagged it. We had favorite restaurants and favorite bars and favorite things to do. Daddy once caused mayhem in the building with his outdoor grill that got too smokey and the upstairs neighbors called the fire department. Gordon MacCrae lived just below us and if you leaned over the railing on the terrace you could see his golf clubs. Rumor had it that Frank Sanatra wanted to buy an apartment across the street and was rejected by the owners committee.

We had lots and lots of people visit us. If they were there on a Sunday, they got to see the golf clubs and then got Daddy's Famous Sunday Tour.

First off bloody marys were served while Daddy would lay out a giant map of Manhattan. He would then show us all the highlights - where everything was in relation to everywhere else and what they would see. Then we would all pile into the car and he would drive around to all the places he had pointed out. We'd stop along the way and get the bloody marys refreshed and then, usually, end up in China Town at Bobo's, Daddy's favorite Chinese restaurant.

They moved to South Carolina before I graduated from college but those 3+ years we were there were some of the best ever for all kinds of wonderful memories.

To Be Continued
Tags: tbc
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