Family, Friends, Broadway and More - Part II|
Polly G. Vicars - PVNN
go to Part I
My niece Janis' email telling us of the upcoming December 5 unveiling of a plaque honoring my Grandfather, Edward Cohen, on the 100th anniversary of his assassination in the Boston Statehouse, arrived about the same time as my 75th birthday celebration last February. It was a special time for me, not so much for the many, many years I have been around, but because it was celebrated with such exceptional people.
|Beautiful Friends, Margaret Tolton and Joan Cannon|
|Mayo Warren, who celebrated her birthday a few days before mine|
|Martha Flores de Cortes, her birthday is the day after mine|
|Rolf took this professional photo of Husband, Me, Linda and Harry|
|The lovely and efficient Holly, hard at work|
|Daisy, Linda's rescued dog from Greece|
|Dolly, also rescued from Greece, adores Rolf and is always up for anything|
|Linda with her many awards|
|Niece Janis with Cousin Danny|
|Janis, Dick, Harry, Husband and I dining at Sardis|
My wonderful friends, Margaret Tolton and Joan Cannon planned a dinner for me on the beach at my favorite, La Palapa Restaurant. Guests were many of our great Vallarta friends including Martha Flores de Cortes (Melchor's lovely wife) whose birthday is a day after mine and Mayo Warren who celebrated a milestone a few days before mine, plus out-of-towners: Irene and Carl Johnson, Martha and Tom Bruns and Linda Ellerbee, network news correspondent, anchor, writer, producer, owner of Lucky Duck Productions.
What in the world was this celebrity doing on the list? Well, several years ago I had received a call from Holly Eardley, assistant to Linda. She said that Linda wanted to buy my book, Tales of Retirement in Paradise, for her cousin, but found it was out-of-print and was unable to find a copy. I told her that I had no copy myself, but that my brother Harry in New Orleans did, which I knew he would be happy to send to her, and he readily agreed to do so over Holly´s and Linda's protestations.
Soon after that Linda, as a featured speaker at a conference in New Orleans, invited Harry to be her guest at her table where he promptly fell under her spell. Linda gave him autographed copies of her new book, Take Big Bites for each of us. In mine she wrote, "You showed me yours, now I'll show you mine," which was a good indication that she was my kind of gal. I was thrilled when she emailed me that she was coming to PV to try to write her first book of fiction.
Along with the latest book, which I strongly recommend, she has a series of books for children and two more life story books (both wonderfully readable and enjoyable,) but she had never written fiction. When in PV, over more than a few margaritas, Husband, Linda and I became fast friends. I introduced her to people who were in Vallarta during the filming of The Night of the Iguana as the setting for her book was to be at Liz Taylor's home here.
That was her first of a couple of visits, each broadening and cementing our bond of friendship as well as enlarging her circle of Vallartense friends. I was delighted that she was going to be in Vallarta for the momentous 75th birthday party. When I thought the party couldn't get any better, Linda asked to say a few words which left me with a lump in my throat and a few tears trickling down my cheeks, as she saluted me as her hero in living life to the fullest at every age. She, who achieved fame and fortune against the greatest odds, was crediting me with being an inspiration to her - but in my mind, it was her, with her generous spirit, her wit and charm that inspires all who know her.
OK, OK, you want to know what that has that to do with Grandfather Cohen? Well, when I told Linda about the Boston event, she quickly said we should come to New York first and stay in her Greenwich Village Brownstone where she had plenty of room for us and Harry. We could see some shows, eat in some great restaurants, take the train up to Boston and come back to her place for the flights back to New Orleans and Vallarta. How could one turn down such a generous offer?
My first inkling of how smashing this trip was going to be was her arranged car to meet us at JFK. How great was it to get off that plane at 5 o'clock in the morning after an all night flight to see a smiling well dressed young man holding the sign "Vicars" and having him whisk us to Linda's home where, at that frightful hour and fighting a bad cold, Linda awaited us with coffee, her infectious smile, warm hugs and Daisy and Dolly, two of the greatest dogs you'll ever meet. Never have I felt more at ease or at home.
The spacious brownstone is in a famous location in Greenwich Village that is often used for movies, TV shows and tours and is located close to every ethnic restaurant you could want and the 7th Avenue subway which conveys you uptown to Broadway in a manner of minutes.
It is also just 3 blocks from Lucky Duck Productions where CEO Linda, President Rolfe Tessem (her companion in life and work) and Daisy and Dolly walk to work to be greeted by a large staff of talented professionals who year after year turn out top notch productions including Emmy winning documentaries on a variety of subjects for young people that air on Nick News with Linda Ellerbee on the Nickelodeon Channel.
There I met Holly, Linda's long time assistant extraordinaire, a beautiful blond, most capable and efficient, as well as the best natured person in the world. I tested her ability as well as her patience with requests for show tickets, often changing the show or the number of tickets needed, dinner reservations at the hard to get venues, or asking the impossible which she always made possible. I quickly fell in love with her, as did Husband, but I promptly discouraged that!
Through Holly's expertise, Linda and Rolf's connections and the serendipitous settlement of the stage hands strike the day we landed in New York, we saw, from front row seats, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Extravaganza, Spamalot, and the best show I've ever seen, Jersey Boys.
We also were VIP'd at the Regis and Kelly show where if you are up on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day watching their show, you might see us in the audience. We ate in some famous restaurants, Sardi's, Bar Americain uptown and Linda's favorite, City Hall, as well as ethnic ones in the Village doing great damage to my recent 5 pound weight loss.
The ever-thoughtful Linda invited niece Janis and her companion Dick, to move into the brownstone when she, Rolf, Daisy and Dolly went up to the Berkshires for a long week-end. We made an enjoyable visit to see cousin Norma Goodman and her companion of many years, Susumu, in Brooklyn where our prominent physicist cousin, Danny Greenberger and his wife Suzy joined us. After lots of good conversation, we all ventured into Chinatown for some Peking Duck. Norma and Danny are cousins on our father's side with whom we have maintained good contact through the years. It was a different story with cousins on our Mother's (the Cohen side), but that will have to wait for Part III, if you are up to one more part to this saga.
Janis and Dick, thrilled to be staying at Linda's, for family reasons as well as for the avoidance of the $500 a night hotel bill they had been paying, had driven their van up from Okeechobee, Florida (Harry's and my birthplace) where they have long lived. So they took Harry with them to Boston while Husband and I boarded Amtrak for the 4 hour, very comfortable trip to Boston.
It had been cold in New York, but with mostly sunshiny days and one night of soft snow that made everything clean and beautiful. We had come prepared and weathered the cold pretty well, especially after picking up earmuffs from a street vendor.
Well Boston was a different story about which I will tell you in Part III. Meanwhile have a joyous holiday season and don't forget to reserve your New Year's Eve seats for Los Bambinos and Alex Ryder at the Santa Barbara Theater, 351 Olas Altas, Telephone 223-2048. See you there!
Polly G. Vicars and her husband of 55 years, Hubert (a.k.a. "Husband") retired to Puerto Vallarta in 1988 and soon became active members of several charitable organizations. Polly is the author of "Tales of Retirement in Paradise: Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" [a sell-out!] and "More Tales of Retirement in Puerto Vallarta and Around the World." Proceeds from the sale of her books go to the America-Mexico Foundation, a scholarship foundation that is their passion.
Click HERE for more articles by Polly Vicars.