Jean-Claude Beauvais, a story
Book 6 - New York Revisited.
Chapter 87. Blocking traffic in both directions
Wednesday morning, I woke to Ollie climbing in the bed, and snuggling under my arm, against me. Ollie wiggled like an over excited puppy. He simply couldn’t be still. I pulled him to me, hoping that that would help calm him down. That made it worst.
Daylight seeped through the comforter, but I had no idea what time it was.
I whispered as softly as I could, not to wake Dashiell, “What are you so excited about?”
“America,” he whispered. “It’s outside.”
“Yes. For sure,” he said between bouts of quivers.
“Do you think you can go back to sleep?”
“No,” he whispered, “Too excited.”
“What time is it?”
“I don’t know.”
I pulled the comforted down enough to look at the clock. I couldn’t see the clock, but it was light outside.
“It’s probably time for breakfast soon.”
“Louis told me to get out, so he could sleep.”
“What were you doing?”
“Taking pictures of the boats, as they passed. He said the camera made too much noise… was keeping him awake.”
“When I tried to come in here, Jacob stopped me and made me put my slippers on so I wouldn’t slid on the floor.”
“Good for him. You have to wear your slippers. The floors can be slippery.”
“When I came in here, the Tissots were in the hall, going the other way and talking about breakfast.”
“Then I guess we ought to be getting up.”
In a flash, he turned over and kissed me on my nose. Such a sweet display of affection. I hugged him and kissed his forehead.
“You’re going to love New York, Ollie,” I said.
“I love it already.”
“Dashiell,” I said, in my normal voice.
“I’ve been listening to you, two tourists. You’re both wound up like a clock. We’re all going to have a great time in New York, even Mr. Grumps, who’s still asleep. Let’s go wake him up.”
Dashiell and Ollie went to wake Louis. I went to the bathroom and prepared for the day.
Dashiell came in shortly after I started my shower.
“He was already up,” Dashiell said.
“Probably knew you guys were going to come for him.”
“Broke Ollie’s heart,” Dashiell said. “Ollie wanted to wake him so badly.”
“I glad we are here and we all didn’t get ‘cabin fever’ from being confined for so long.”
“You got some suntan yesterday in the Jacuzzi. The top of your shoulders and your head is a little red from the sunlight.”
“Soaking up that vitamin D. I think it’s vitamin D you get from sunshine.”
He dried my back and I his.
“Yesterday, in my studio, Louis asked me, “Why aren’t you and Jean-Claude married?”
I laughed and said, “I would have loved to have seen the look on your face when he asked that one.”
When I stopped laughing, I asked, “And you said…”
“That we were busy with our arts and the resort. We didn’t have any time to be in love.”
“So true,” I said, pulling up my underwear.
“That’s when he dropped the bomb. He said, “Jean-Claude loves you and Ollie and me.”
“And you said…” I said, putting on my shirt.
“Jean-Claude loves us like brothers. We aren’t brothers but he shares that kind of love with us. To him, we are far more important than he is, his music is, or the resort is. That is true of me, too. I love him, and you and Ollie, more than my art and me and everything else.”
“What did he say to that?” I asked, pulling up my trousers.
“Nothing. He just sat there and thought for a while. At one point he got up and looked at some drawings and paintings.”
“Nothing else?” I asked, tucking my shirt into my trousers.
“Well. Yes. A little later, he asked if I could teach him to draw and I told him I had no idea how to teach someone to draw. He seemed uncomfortable with that. I told him he could have drawing lessons, if he wanted them. Just say something to Jean-Claude. He’ll fix you up.”
I finished combing my hair. Dashiell towel dried his dirty blonde curls until they were kind of fluffy. He shook his head a few times. He called that ‘fluffing’.
He walked down the stairs toward the dining room. I stopped to retrieve Ollie. Ollie and Louis were on the edge of the bed, looking out the window with their binoculars.
“Come on boys. Time for breakfast,” I said. “We’ll have a month to see whatever you want to see. But we have to start sometime. Welcome to America.”
They, with their glasses around their necks, came to me at the door and we went downstairs to the dining room. On the way, we passed an anchored, red, single funneled boat, with ‘Ambrose’ painted in white on its side and a light, like from a lighthouse on the top of it.
“Wow,” Louis said. “I never saw a ship like that before.”
“Me, neither,” Ollie echoed.
Once in the dining room, Jacob was telling Dashiell, Monsieur Laurent, and the Tissots about the red lighthouse boat.
The boys and I sat quietly trying to not interrupt the information.
“The Ambrose light marks the deep water channel into New York. Staying in the channel is important because some places the water is only ten foot deep and ships run aground if they are not careful.”
“You will see, on the port side, the West Bank Lighthouse, marking the west side of the channel.”
Ollie said, “This is so exciting. I never knew this existed.”
“In all honesty, I never knew this existed, either,” I said.
Breakfast was a moving panorama with food. Something in the back of my mind drew an image of the Romans watching something unfold in the Coliseum, while they had breakfast.
After breakfast, we went to foredeck to watch the city unfold before us. What a magnificent show.
Jacob said, “I see we are taking the route past the Statue of Liberty, which you all recognize, on the port side. On the starboard side, there’s Governors Island, where the British governors stayed, when they owned the city. That next island on the port side is Ellis Island, where immigrants go to have their papers checked.
“Here we’ll take a turn to the starboard. Over there on the port side… there, where the ferries are, we will take a starboard turn. That’s Manhattan Island, a section of New York, where the ferries are. We will go up the East River to the 92nd Street Pier where we will dock.”
“On the starboard side is Brooklyn, another section of New York. You will see the Brooklyn Navy yard, full of US Navy ships of all sizes. The navy ships are gray.”
“Past the river on the starboard side is Queens, a section of New York.”
“There’s the United Nations’ building on the port side. That’s easy to recognize.”
“This is Roosevelt Island. That ruined building is the old small pox hospital. They leave it there as a memorial to those who died there.”
“We will go under the Queensboro bridge.”
“That is so big,” Louis said.
“You are just starting,” Jacob said. “When you think you’ve seen the biggest of anything, here in New York City, when you turn around, you see something even bigger and better.”
“Past the lighthouse here we will turn around the little island and dock over there.” Jacob pointed to the pier on the side of the river. That’s the 92nd Street Pier that belongs to Hunter College. We have permission to dock there, until we leave.”
The two harbor boats and a pilot boat followed us to the 92nd Street Pier, where the yacht was tied to the dock. The officials from the pilot boat came onboard. They were very friendly, polite, and efficient. They went with Captain Collard into the dining room for a few minutes. The three officials went below deck for a few minutes, returned topside, and visited with us on the foredeck.
The captain wore a white shirt, with his executive loop on the epaulets. Jacob told me about the executive loop on night on the Atlantic. The three officials were very pleasant. One asked about the boys. I told him, they were with me.
“And you are?” he asked.
“Jean-Claude Beauvais,” I said.
“And you are little Beauvaises,” he said, looking at Ollie and then Louis.
I told Ollie, “Say Hello, Ollie.”
Ollie took a deep breath, offered his hand, and said in his very French sounding English, “Nice to me you, Sah.” They shook hands.
Louis looked down at Ollie in disbelief, “Que cela signifie-t-il?”
I patted Ollie’s back to let him know he did well.
I intervened to spare confusions. “My brother, Dashiell,” I nodded toward Dashiell, who smiled, hearing his name, “and I speak English. No one else speaks English. They all speak French.”
“Except,” he looked at Ollie and asked, “Your name?”
Louis was further aggravated by Ollie’s English attempt. I patted Ollie’s back again.
The man said, “Well, Oleeveeaye, I am sure you will have a great time, on holiday, here in New York.”
At six years old, somehow, Ollie knew when to be quiet. He just stood there, grinning as if he had full comprehension.
Louis didn’t know any of us. He looked over the side, at the rope mooring.
We all shook hands. As they left, Jacob pointed out, “The small yellow quarantine flag on the mast, behind the radar antennae is coming down. That is a signal to the authorities that we haven’t been officially inspected and allowed into a foreign county.”
As he spoke, a tiny Stars and Stripes went up the rope.
Jacob said, “A small American flag, called a courtesy flag of the host country, will replace it, while we are in American waters.”
The gangway connected Mon Grandpapa to the pier. The electrical and telephone wires were connected. The captain returned.
“Monsieur Jean-Claude. We have a possible problem. It’s the water. The city water tastes ‘funny’ to non-residents. It is not harmful, but shall I say, super-sanitized. Before we fill the water tanks with the city water, I want you to know that we can go to another city and fill the water tanks.”
“That’s not a problem. Captain. The super-sanitized water will be fine… but thank you for the options.”
Today, the area around the ship may be noisy. By tomorrow, the fuel and water tanks will be topped off. The sanitation tanks will be emptied and sanitized. The outside of the yacht will be washed and polished, this afternoon. Otherwise, the ship is in excellent shape and ready to set to sea, when you are. The telephones are operational. The electricity is from the local sources. Guard service is by a guarded gate, at the end of the pier. The official address is c/o Mon Grandpapa at the 92nd Street Pier. The telephone number is Evergreen 7-2221. The president of Hunter College will be here in a few minutes to see us. I believe they think the Mon Grandpapa is a much smaller yacht. So you can expect a very surprised lady here shortly.”
“Thank you. Captain.”
“You’re welcome. I told the authorities that we would be here about a month. They said that if we intend to stay longer, we should let them know. He said the non-English speakers should keep the address and phone number of the yacht on them at all times, when they are away from the yacht. That will insure they are returned home, if they get lost.”
“Okay. Thank you, Captain.”
I got up and went to the telephone door, that secured the phone, outside. I unlatched the phone, and held the phone to my ear, an operator asked, “Number please.”
“I told her the number to Daniel at the apartment house.”
“Hello. Daniel. Here.”
“S’been a long time since I heard your voice, Jean-Claude. Your Aunt Gizzie called and told me you were coming this way. Will you be moving into the apartment? I can have it ready by tomorrow, if you like.”
“No. We are all set for a place to stay and all.”
“How have you been?”
“I’ll come over sometime in the next month and tell you all about it. I’ll be there on the first rainy day.”
“I’ll mark that on my calendar.”
We both laughed.
“Right now, I need a little help.”
“What can I do?”
“I need two cars and two drivers. One of the drivers has to speak French and English.”
“For a month, starting tomorrow, from nine in the morning, until, at the 92nd Street Pier.”
“You’re at the 92nd Street Pier?”
“Right up the street.”
“Aunt Gizzie’s friends at Hunter got us this place to park the yacht.”
“A yacht? You crossed the Atlantic in a yacht? You crazy or something?”
“This is a real yacht. On the way home, come on down 92nd Street. You can’t miss it at the end of the street.”
“Okay. I’ll see it this afternoon. I am off at four o’clock.”
“Call if you have time to stop in. Here’s the number.”
“I can’t. My wife has to go to the store and I promised to drive her.”
“By the way, I have children, now.”
“How did you manage that?”
“A French miracle.”
“You will have to tell me about that, too. How’s brother, Dashiell?”
“Fine as ever. I’ll tell him you asked. He’ll like that.”
“Okay. Bill your aunt for the cars and drivers?”
“For convenience, yes. If she calls about the bill, tell her I’ll make it good for her.”
“Did you want economy cars, or the good stuff?”
“The good stuff, Daniel. Only the good stuff, big convertibles.”
“I have to get off the phone. There’s a lady, from Hunter walking along the pier, looking for me. See ya, buddy.”
“Good Luck. Jean-Claude.”
I hung up the phone and replaced the handset in the recess, locking the latch, and closing the panel.
I went to the lounge on the foredeck and sat with Dashiell and the boys to await the arrival of Aunt Gizzie’s friend.
Madame and Monsieur Tissot arrived with Monsieur Laurent behind them. They sat with us on the foredeck.
I waited for an arrival. No one arrived. I got up and looked over the rail to see why. Two seamen were blocking the way. I yelled to them, “It’s okay.” They backed away from the lady. Jacob helped her up the stairs to the foredeck.”
“Madame Greta Santore-Philips to see Monsieur Beauvais.”
“Enchantez…” I said with a big smile, offering my hand. She looked at me as if I was nuts. I tried, “Nice to meet you.” That worked better.
“I thought you were arriving with a yacht, not the French Navy.”
“I picked this up in France. It came with some good wine, so I couldn’t pass it up.”
“This ain’t no rowboat,” she said, looking around the foredeck.”
“Want a quick tour? ... or better yet, stay for lunch. Lunch will be served soon.”
“I’d love to, but I have to get back to work, so no one has a hemorrhage. I just wanted to welcome you to the city and all. I’m a one woman welcoming committee.”
“When you want to board, in the future, here’s the phone number. I wrote Evergreen 7-2221 on a page from my contacts book. Call and security will know you’re arriving. It’s a naval protocol, around the world.”
“I will. Never been in the navy.” We both laughed.
“I have to be going. Nice to meet you, Jean-Claude.”
Ollie came to me, while I was giving her the phone number.
“Nice to meet you, too. What’s your name?”
“My naym ees Oleeveeaye,” he said, tossing a big, smiley, Ollie grin.
“You are such a sweetie. Gizzie didn’t say anything about you.”
Ollie again, brilliantly, stood his ground with flashing eyelashes and a big grin, obviously delighting her. I delivered a pat on his back for reassurance. She left with Jacob.
Jacob returned, announcing, “Lunch is ready.”
We went to lunch in a long line, settling at the table like a horde of vultures, ready to devour whatever is put in front of us.
“Are we ready to see New York?” I asked, looking around the table.
All heads nodded affirmatively, including yeses.
Then we will go out this afternoon and take a short tour of the city. After that, we will have dinner and then perhaps a walk or ride in the park. Are we agreed?”
Again all heads nodded affirmatively.
“After lunch, Jacob, we will be going out for the afternoon. We will not be back for dinner. We’ll eat in town. We will be back between nine and eleven.”
“I’ll take care of that,” Jacob replied.
“Expect we will be here for breakfast and out for lunch and dinner, until it rains or until I tell you otherwise.”
After lunch, I looked around the table and asked, “Are we ready?”
They were very ready.
I led the parade of foreigners along the pier, to the sentry at the gate. The man at the gate copied our names, so the next shift would know we belonged on Mon Grandpapa. I told him we would be staying for the next month. I gave him the telephone number, too, so he could call the helm, in case he needed to communicate.
I asked him if he had any other questions.
“That is the prettiest boat I ever saw.”
“Thank you. Before we leave, I’ll make sure you get to spend some time onboard.”
After those details, we passed through the gate to the service road to the East Side Highway.
I hailed two taxis and we were on our way to the Battery to catch a Grayline double-decker bus tour of the city.
Louis sat in the middle. Ollie sat on my lap and looked out the window. The boys were trying not to miss anything. Everything they saw was unknown. They saw nothing they could associate with Marseille. This was an entirely alien world to which they would acclimate quickly.
The taxi went across 93st Street and down Fifth Avenue. I pointed up Fifth Avenue. We stopped at the corner of Fifth and 92nd for a red light.
“See that building there, with the canopy in front? Number 1107?”
“That one?” Ollie pointed to the building.
“We have an apartment on the ninth floor.” Ollie tried to look up to see the apartment, but the light turned green before he could count the floors to find the right one.
We crossed the park at 86th street. Seeing the reservoir made me feel at home.
“Dashiell and I used to put little sailboats in the water, there.”
I pointed to the reservoir.
“That lake is extra water for the city.”
Ollie noticed a white horse and white carriage, carrying a couple, obviously in love.
“Can we do that?” he asked.
“Of course,” I said.
“Yeah,” Louis added, getting a little extra emphasis with his fist.
We arrived at the Grayline Company, at the 83rd Street Basin. The seven of us climbed out of the cramped and very uncomfortable taxis and went to get in line for the next bus tour.
Arranging the Grayline double-decker bus was simple. I ordered an open, double-decker bus. Dashiell, the boys, and I were in the front seat. Madame and Monsieur Tissot and Monsieur Laurent sat in the second seat. I invited anyone, who wanted to ride with us, gratis, to fill the rest of the seats, and enjoy the nice afternoon sunshine and fresh air.
Ollie was so excited, he looked like he was about to come apart. Louis’ eyes were big, too. At long last, the bubbling, city’s excitement overcame his blasé attitude.
I heard the door close, below, and the driver started the bus along the driveway to the street. What an experience. The city was actually in front of us. Ollie and Louis jumped in their seats. Ollie leaned forward to the windshield to look down at the street going under the bus. He sat back, turned to me, and said, “Just like on the yacht.”
“What do you mean?”
“It looks a lot slower from up here, than it does down on the ground floor of the bus. I know we’re going faster than what I see.”
“It’s a law of science. It doesn’t change, if we’re travelling on a bus, or on anything else.”
The bus inched along the driveway and stopped, waiting for the traffic light. It pulled out on to Westside Highway and went up to an exit to Riverside Drive.
The tour guide made announcements as we moved. It became immediately clear to Dashiell and me that our seating arrangements were not optimal. I orchestrated the change. At the next red light, Louis came over to sit between Ollie and me. At the following red light, Monsieur Laurent and the Tissots switched with Dashiell. I translated for the boys and Dashiell translated for the Tissots and Monsieur Laurent.
We stopped in front of Riverside Church. The driver went on about Grant’s Tomb, which would not be of interest to the boys. I substituted a couple stories about Riverside Presbyterian and my friend, Virgil Fox.
The bus turned and we passed Columbia and continued on to Amsterdam Avenue. I knew where we were heading next. Dashiell knew, too. I heard him, across the aisle, saying ‘Saint John’ a couple times. We went around the cathedral in a loop, leaving along Central Park West.
I spoke about our venerable Saint John’s Cathedral.
Louis simply said, “Wow.”
We continued along the park, heading south.
As we passed the towers, I said, “Across the park, is where Dashiell and I lived in the apartment. Someday, you may live there, too.”
That evoked another ‘wow’ from Louis.
Ollie asked, “Are you just making that up or is that for real?”
Without looking, I said, “That’s for real, Ollie. The Truth.”
“Boys. I’ll show you the apartment, if you like.”
They bubbled over hearing that.
“Not today. The first day it’s rainy. We’ll go there and you can see where Dashiell and I and Aunt Gizzie lived. It’s Aunt Gizzie’s apartment, but we can stay there. I have a key and the doorman knows Dashiell and me.”
“Wow. What’s that big building?” Louis asked.
“That’s the American Museum of Natural History. You, guys, will like what’s in there. We will probably go there a couple times. I’m that convinced you’ll like it.”
“What’s in it?” Louis asked.
“Surprise!” I said with a smile. It’s a rainy day place to go.”
“I hate rainy days,” Ollie said.
“You’ll like rainy days, when we go there.”
The bus went along 59th street to Fifth Avenue. We turned right at the light on Fifth and went down Fifth to 53rd. We turned at Saint Thomas’ Church.
I wanted to call my old friend, there, but the bus was rolling along 53rd past MOMA.
“That’s the Museum of Modern Art. That’s where the Cathedral Exhibit first was shown.”
The eyes took in the building.
“You’ll see inside. It’s a neat place.”
From there we went from street to street through midtown. I explained as we went.
Passing Rockefeller Center, we went to First Street, passed the United Nations slowly, turning up 42nd Street.
Louis asked, “Can we go there?”
On 42nd Street, we passed Grand Central.
“That’s one of the train stations. We’ll go in there. You’ll see why it’s so different, once you’re inside.”
“That’s the main library. You’ll go there, too. Not quite what you think of when you think of a library.”
“This is the theater district, where the Broadway theaters are. Most of them are not on Broadway… it’s just a generic term used for the neighborhood. We’ll probably take a turn at the next corner.”
The bus edged to the right to take the turn.
“Here, boys, is Times Square. This is the center of New York City. We’ll come here to see a show and just to walk around in the crowds. We’ll come here at night, to see the “Great White Way,” too.”
“What’s the ‘Great White Way?”
“That’s what the Times Square Area is called at night when the lights are on. You’ll see what that’s all about. I promise.”
The bus turned at 50th and looped back down Broadway, turning right on to 42nd Street and past the movie houses on 42nd Street. Turning left, on 8th Avenue, we passed the bus station.
“That’s called the Port Authority but it is really a bus station.”
We continued on 8th, until 30th Street. We turned left and circled Penn Station.
“That is the other railroad station, called Penn Station.”
We passed Macy’s. “That’s the world’s biggest department store. We’ll go in there a few times, just for fun to buy some stuff.”
The bus stopped at a red light.
“Look up in the air.”
The little heads popped up, eyes skyward. The mouths dropped open as they eyed the Empire State Building for the first time.
“We’ll go up to the top. You’ll remember that for the rest of your life, once you see the world from up there.”
Ollie asked, “Is it safe?”
I smiled and said, “It’s been there for twenty-five years and it hasn’t moved yet.”
Ollie smiled, too.
Louis said, “Those yellow taxis are crazy.”
“Yeah, but they don’t hit anything.”
The bus continued across 34th Street, turning right on 1st Avenue, slowing to pass New York Medical Center and a block later, Bellevue Medical Center.
We turned right on 23rd and proceeded to Fifth Avenue, where we turned left, to go south. We went past something, but I missed the guide’s instruction as to what it was.
A few more blocks and there was Washington Square Park, a few blocks ahead, and the Washington Square Arch.
“Look up ahead.”
Their heads turned forward, from watching the pedestrians crossing the street, while we were paused for the red light: the Washington Square Arch.
Again, a pair of Wow’s.
I’m sure it was hurting their minds. They were looking at the arch in New York’s Washington Square and thinking Paris and the Arc de Triomphe.
I explained what they were seeing and why they were thinking of Paris. I pointed out the fountain, where Dashiell and I used to play in the water, when we were younger.
We headed down Broadway to Chinatown. The boys liked seeing that. We left there and went to City Hall, the Courthouse, the Police Department Building, and turned on the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. We crossed the bridge and a U-turn and came back to Manhattan. The bridge was a hit with everyone.
We turned and went south. We passed the American and Wall Street Stock Exchanges, and continued south to the battery, the south end of the island, where the boys saw the ferry slips, earlier from the yacht.
The bus stopped for a ‘rest break’ at the Grayline terminal’s toilet facilities.
After we were back on board the bus, the bus turned and went uptown to the Grayline terminal, where we started. We left the bus and hailed a pair of taxis to return to the yacht.
Back at the yacht, I asked Dashiell, “What time is it?”
“I don’t know. My watch is still set to Marseille time.” He looked at his watch and said, “It’s ten-thirty in Marseille.”
I announced, “Then, here, it’s four-thirty.”
Dashiell looked stunned when I said ‘four-thirty.’
“At seven, two and a half hours from now, we will leave for a formal dinner.”
I looked around and made sure everyone heard me, by repeating ‘formal dinner’. After dinner, I have a surprise… a surprise, I am certain you will find delightful.”
“I don’t know what you are going to do but I am going to change and spend some time, soaking my tired tourist muscles in the Jacuzzi, with a cool glass of wine.”
While everyone was changing and heading to the Jacuzzi, I called to reserve a private dining room at the Plaza for eight at seven.
With that detail taken care of, I changed and went to the aft deck. The Jacuzzi was alive with happy people.
Madame Tissot was happier than I had ever seen her. A little holiday relaxation is good for everyone. Monsieur Laurent was just sitting, soaking, and smiling.
“Does it get any better than this, Jean-Claude?” he asked, as I slipped into the bubbly waters.
“It’s all relative, Monsieur Laurent,” I said. “This will certainly make great memories. Next winter when we are navigating the quai in Marseille at noon and traffic is standing still, remember this time, when we are hoping time will stand still for a little while, while we catch our breath.”
“I ought to take a picture of us in the Jacuzzi, now.”
“There will be plenty of time for that.”
A few minutes passed.
“You know, Monsieur Laurent,” I said, “I didn’t mean to not answer your question. When I said it’s all relative, I meant, well, let’s collect back here when we get back home, tonight, after my little surprise. Then you’ll get the idea of the relativity of ‘does it get any better than this.”
Monsieur Laurent nodded.
The boys were talking about the bus tour. In a half hour, silence had overcome the soakers. Muscles loosened; tensions eased.
No one left. Anxiety, hurry, and hustle were not welcome.
A second round of wine coolers rehabilitated us. Tongues loosened, muscles found their way to working again. The Jacuzzi had performed its miracle.
I suggested that we meet in the lounge, before leaving for dinner.
I was the first out. I showered. Dashiell came into the shower as I was finishing. I laid out his clothes. I went into the boys’ room and laid out their clothes. They were fooling around in the shower, spraying water on each other, as boys do. Boys and water equate to playtime. I tapped on the door and said, “Your clothes are on the bed.”
I returned to my stateroom to finish dressing. Dashiell was still drying his hair. I finished and went to the lounge. I sat at the piano and played some tunes. I felt quite exhilarated by the day and there was still more to come.
By six-forty, everyone was relaxed, in the lounge. I finished the set of tunes.
“Let’s have some dinner.”
I rose and away we went to the West Side Drive to grab a pair of taxis.
We went to the Plaza. The Plaza was especially lovely for some reason. The boys, Dashiell, and I were dressed alike, in cravats and tails.
“Tonight, Ollie, we are quite frou-frou.”
“You bet we are,” he said, tossing a thumbs-up with a wry smile, indicating he was frou-frou and delighted to be so.
Louis appeared to be ‘taking to being frou-frou.’ He almost stained the carpet, as he oozed so much nonchalance.
The boys followed me, and Dashiell followed them. That was our procedure, when we went someplace. Dashiell would trail along behind the boys to make sure they didn’t get lost, or wander off impulsively.
As we walked through the lobby, someone yelled, “Jean-Claude.” A second distinctly different voice called, “Jean-Claude Beauvais.” I stopped and turned to see who was calling.
There across the palm bushes was Sammy and Bill from Hunter. Talk about synchronicity. I went to them, and my party of six followed me dutifully, like ducklings behind the parent duck.
A lot of hand shaking ensued. Then the introductions.
“This is Sammy Plakov, the Music chair from Hunter College, and this is William Heep, chair of the School of Art, at Hunter. You remember my brother Dashiell, the artist, of course.”
More hand shaking.
“This is Louis.”
More hand shaking.
“Nice to meet you, Louis.”
“Heureux de vous rencontrer.”
“This is Oliver.”
“Nice to meet you, Oliver.”
“Nice to me you, too.”
This went along the line, standing in the lobby, until we finished. I invited Sammy and Bill to dine with us, but they had to meet Harry… Harry met us in the lobby as details were being explained.
“This is Harry Mondale from National Academy of Arts.”
“We have to go do some business upstairs. We have to select the colors and designs for the ‘Annual Dance of the Old Timers Gala’ in August. It’s our turn this year.”
The hand shaking resumed. Eventually we were in our dining room and the menus arrived. Oops. The menus were in English. I asked the waiter, “French Menus?” Another waiter arrived with French menus, and spoke French with a genuine Italian accent.
After dinner, I mentioned to Madame Tissot, “No dishes tonight.”
I saw for the first time, her sweet, little girl smile. No wonder Monsieur Tissot loved her. She was a darling, when she could relax.
“Monsieur Tissot. Take good care of her, tonight.”
“I will Jean-Claude,” he said, giving her a little squeeze.
After dinner, we went outside… at Central Park South.
I asked for two carriages.
The doorman signaled to the carriage drivers across the street. Two carriages crossed the street, blocking traffic in both directions.