The Neighborhood I Grew Up In

April 17, 2020

It’s very interesting to hear native New Yorkers talking about their homelife when they were young. I love meeting regular New Yorkers. There aren’t’ that many. I grew up in another country, in a very large city, in the Republic of Texas. That was Dallas. Dallas was one of the three largest cities in the Southwest at the time. Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston, two of them being in Texas. I lived in the city limits of Dallas, but it was rural. The people across the street had cows and horses and we had chickens and sheep and a huge garden. There were more boys than girls in the neighborhood. This was in the 40’s and 50’s.

So we rode bicycles and I climbed a lot. That was good. The boys were my friends because they liked to climb and we liked to park our bicycles behind a certain neighbor’s yard and go and steal fruit off the trees. We would park our bicyles and stepped up on the bicycle seat to pull the fruit off the trees. There weren’t that many of us and we weren’t that hungry so we didn’t get into trouble. What happened was, if you put your bicycle kickstand down in the wrong place, the bicycle would tip over because the kickstand would sink down into the dirt. And that was the kind of thing we did.

My street was called Senora Avenue. It was a dirt road. I mean I remember when they came along at New Years and put black top down. Then I remember when I was in high school, and they paved it. I watched it become more city than it was when I was growing up. I graduated high school in 1963.

And on our street we had a real army dog. A Doberman Pincher that had been in WW2, so that was a big point of interest in our neighborhood. It was a great dog, a beautiful dog, and he always laid on the front porch. There was a boy in the neighborhood who had a really brutal dog. In the end things didn’t work out too well for the Doberman. It was because he was really old. I think he could’ve kicked butt if he hadn’t been so old when this other dog attacked him.

That was Richie Bass and he was an outlaw and he was the big brother of my closest friend, Martha Bass. I lived on Senora and they lived on Opal, the next blocked over. Her mother kept me when my mother went to work. So I knew Martha Bass from when I was three years old and I still know her. We’re on Facebook together.

I was trained to be a performer. I’m a member of Screen Actor’s Guild. And I’m a visual artist. I’m a lifetime member of the Art Student’s League. During the Vietnam War, I lived in Oklahoma because I married my college sweetheart and then we got drafted. So we were both pulled out of graduate school then went to Oklahoma and I taught theater in the high school there after I got tired of playing Bridge with the officer’s wives.

Ultimately I moved to Denver and stayed there for about ten years. I really loved the Rocky Mountain area but I was an opera singer and a dancer. I taught ballet there and did everything else that there was to do there. Then I realized that I couldn’t get it out of my blood and I couldn’t make a living. I moved to California a couple times but they didn’t have a ballet corps at the time and they didn’t have an opera company.

And then I moved to New York. And I hit the ground running here, its been great. I thought I couldn’t live here because of the weather. The first winter I was here was the mildest winter on record but I didn’t know that. So I thought, “Oh, I can survive in this climate.” Then the next winter, shit hit the fan. But I was already established so I stayed.