Martha in the Barry College production of "The King and I"
After my sister graduated from high school she joined a Polynesian dance company that performed in the resort hotels and country clubs from Miami to Palm Beach with an occasion USO trip. Her
singing talents and dancing made her a hit. Dad had introduced my sister to the entertainers that performed at the Hawaiian restaurant where he was employed. Anything Hawaiian was in vogue since it had just become our newest state. A few
years later, Martha entered college, continued her work in entertainment while pursuing her science degree. The Miami Herald featured her in a story on her two professions: entertainer and microbiologist. I still have the clipping. Mom and
dad continued their strict supervision of childrearing. Dating was frowned upon and our friends would have to pass a rigorous cross examination to be accepted into our home. Dad was hoping that she would marry a Filipino, but I noticed that Martha
was attracted to anglo men much to dad’s disappointment.
Soon after graduation from Barry College, Martha was offered a four year singing contract from a music producer who was
impressed with her voice. The contract would have her traveling the country on tour in a new group that he was forming. That was everything mom and dad had hoped for, the star in the family was starting to shine. Martha's relationship with
her boyfriend, Bob, would have to be put on hold while she devoted all her time to her promising career. Signing the contract meant four years of the dreaded Stage Mother - mom chaperoned my sister to every engagement and would give Madam Rose
of "Gypsy" a run for her money. Marriage would afford her freedom from mom's apron strings. Martha's decision was made more difficult since Bob told her, "It's me or the contract." The family was pushing for the contract and career. . .but
the more we voiced our opinion. . .the more she turned toward freedom. I know she regretted her choice, pity!
While on vacation to the New York World’s Fair in the
mid 60s Martha was overly anxious to return to Florida and her boyfriend, whom she met through a mutual friend, Beverly. Bob had been dating Beverly, a high school friend. It was during the time we were in Pennsylvania, returning from the NY Worlds
Fair, to visit family that Martha threatened to take a bus to Florida. She was consumed with the idea that Bob and Bev would rekindle their relationship. Mom met Bob for the first time at a holiday party Martha hosted. We had decorated the
carport with leis, streamers and balloons. Mom and dad prepared a dinner buffet for the event and it fell on my shoulders to be butler/waiter – a role I would play on thousands of occasions. Judy Garland's film “The Harvey Girls”
taught me how to set and clear a table. Remember: Serve from the left, take off from the right. Mom was not impressed with Bob. Her first statement was, “That man is stuck on himself!” The months
leading up to their wedding day were a disastrous time. That Thanksgiving was celebrated at my sister Jackie’s home. Soon after we moved to Florida, Jackie made Darryl’s life miserable with her insistence on moving to the sunshine state.
A number of times she left husband and children to catch a southbound train only to be sent back at the urging of mom reminding her of her responsibilities. Thanksgiving festivities ended abruptly when Jackie accused Bob of slipping her the tongue during a
congratulatory kiss. Whether that’s true or not, the impending marriage was off to a poor start. Events continued to spiral down and ended with mom and me not attending the rehearsal dinner at the home of Bob’s parents.
Their wedding was on December 26th. It was a strained affair at best. Bob’s parents had hoped he would marry Beverly since they had a close relationship with her parents - she was maid of honor. After the wedding they moved
to New Orleans where Bob's career in the aerospace industry placed him with frequent trips to California. Martha suffered a miscarriage and she soon joined Bob in Redondo Beach providing me the perfect reason to experience California. From 1968
through 1978 I would spend Christmas vacations on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain or Lake Tahoe and summers would find me enrolled at U.C.L.A. studying dramatic arts and appearing in a number of their productions. California presented the freedom and
opportunity to exercise my creative abilities.
Martha was employed as lab tech & microbiologist. I would visit & meet her hospital co-workers and friends. Soon I was invited to join Arlene & Richard & Martha on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear, or Lake Tahoe -
Christmas vacations offered two weeks of ski lessons & lift rides, wiping-out & spa therapy, besides adding to my winter wardrobe all the time enjoying the mountain chalet we had rented. The first time Martha & I took the ski lift, I asked
her if she knew how to disembark since the instructor neglected to tell us. Passing signs would tell us to prepare - TIPS UP - STAND UP. I followed directions but Martha didn't & after ascending some eight feet over my head decided to bail
from the lift, landing on top of me, where I announced, "I don't know you!" Martha had boasted to the ski instructor her knowledge from a previous ski trip - I informed him that "I can fall down." Each stretch of the run he would review what we
were going to do and what hazards to expect along the way & be cautious of the many steep drop-offs the trail would pass. Unbeknownst to me, Martha had scheduled a lesson on an Expert Trail taking us near the mountain's summit. No wonder when
on the lift I remarked how high we were until we passed one hill and realize that we were heading for the top! I made it through those dangerous spots - of course it didn't help with the teacher screaming his lungs out "Fall Down! Fall Down!"
My cross country flights would usually last five hours in length - though one Christmas I endured a seventeen hour flight due to fog at LAX - spending ground time at Atlanta & Las Vegas. To
pass the time I made it a habit to grade papers in flight giving me the freedom of mind to enjoy my vacation. One year, upon returning from a ski trip I remarked to my classes how their test papers warmed my very soul - I then explained that they were
used to ignite the logs in the fireplace - I am resourceful when need be.
Another ski trip had me wipe-out on a mogul (bump) filled steep hill - there I am laying spread-eagle in the
snow - passing skiers asking if I wanted the Ski Patrol - I told them an emphatic, "No!" I saw what they do when they rescue an injured person. You're tied to a sled and they race down the mountain - towing the sled - as fast they can - taking
the shortest route in their dash to save you. I made it off the mountain that day but later told by my doctor that I had torn the cruciate ligament in my left knee and would take months to heal. So as not to look obvious, I had my three friends
enter the restaurant & lodge all limping - at least I blended in - and we entertained the other guests around the fireplace with details on our acquired injuries. I love story telling!
In order to keep teaching certificates valid, instructors were to enroll & complete a number of college courses. Seeing the opportunity I enrolled in classes at U.C.L.A. during
the summer, staying in one of the dorms or an off campus apartment. Often I took walking tours of the sprawling campus and spent many pleasant days rehearsing my dance steps or running lines in the sculpture garden by the theater complex, drama department
workshops & costume department.
The UCLA production of Jean Genet play, "The Balcony" is set in a brothel catering to the refined sensibilities & peculiar tastes
of men garbed in their fantasies, acting them out on stage. It came as a surprise when in the open montage, the sailor produces a large 3 foot long rocket - complete with stars & stripes - from his pants and begins to stroke it ending with the audience
being sprayed in confetti. The director had attached an air hose to the rocket producing the spray of white particles to be blasted at the unsuspecting theater goers. After a performance of the musical "Pajama Game," Martha & Bob joined me
backstage and she remarked, "I now know how you must have felt when you came to my dressing room after performances." The ongoing flurry of the cast, crew and guests reminded her of her theater days in college and I recognized the loving envy in her