it must be important that i get back to the previous post, the one about letter writing and sharon mccarthy.
this will be my letter in a bottle.
my needle in the digital haystack.
i’ll make a few statements that will whittle down the sharon mccarthies of the world to a precious, singular “the one.” very dramatic, this.
this is how we happened;
i was 18 years old and was going with an older woman (21 ha!) named carol, who worked at some kind of firm, the decades making that matter moot, and whenever i would call carol at work, there was a receptionist who connected me to her. that was sharon. after a few weeks, our greetings went on a few minutes before connecting me; nothing big – generally light and humorous, what-do-you-do kind of stuff. i was fascinated that she was living in the martha washington hotel. who lives in hotels? how do they do that? i was fairly provincial where living arrangements came in. people lived in apartments and houses.
OK. so she lived in the martha washington, was a receptionist and was here in new york city to become an actress and was a month older than me. i thought of her as brave and sensitive and, of course, i wondered what she looked like. after a few months, my relationship with carol was cooling off, but i asked sharon if she’d be ok with my calling her occasionally and she suggested that we write. she felt odd about us having conversations when carol could/would appear as she sat at her desk, though there was an exciting sense of danger about it.
what was wonderful about this relationship, i believe that it was a safe place for both of us. we were able to lean on each other without agenda. eventually, she would get a phone in her room at the martha washington and the phone calls would resume again for us, but the letter writing would not stop. they would go on and on.
after two years and many letters that got us both from those brinks of young-adult angst, hurt feelings and terrible breakups, she and i decided that we would meet.
i was all sorts of “WOW” over this. i had my triumph TR-3 (the red one) and i drove to manhattan to meet her.
by now, she was no longer a receptionist. she was working at the hotel americana, a place that had a lounge where the likes of peggy lee, the rat pack and and other ’60s icons could be found. it was the early 70′s and the area was changing, probably because of Madison Square Garden opening a few years back, but it still had “the look.” she no longer lived at the martha washington hotel, either. she lived on park avenue now. the part of park avenue that just escapes being called “park avenue south”, which i believe, is 33rd street. i still remember that address. and when i rang the apartment at the park avenue address a real-live beautiful girl answered and i felt like, i don’t know, maybe i didn’t belong there, but she made those feeling go away in a flash and we went out an continued on…..
sound familiar, any perspective sharon mccarthies?
our relationship went on for a few more years. she would invite me for lunch at the hotel americana. i would walk in with my clipboard and taxi driver attitude and she would settle me into a corner and take good care of me while so many suits would look quizzically at us.
that’s what i was doing to support myself while going to school at night – driving a big checker taxi. that’s why i’m writing this now, because i went to school for this sort of thing, but thought to give it a few decades to settle.
i don’t know when we stopped writing to each other – it’s been so long ago.
this probably won’t amount to a hill of beans.
but they’re my beans.