Monday, July 16, 2012

Tilda was an oddball............

.........but she was my friend.
Tilda had a secret….a deep, dark secret.
Tilda was not her real name…she wouldn’t tell anyone her real name….not even me.

I suspect it had something to do with her family, perhaps something extraordinary that she was trying to get out from under, or something shameful from which she was hiding. I may never know…..If she does confide in me though, I’ll never breathe a word…..

Tilda left her name behind and married a very wealthy man, from a moneyed East Coast family….she adopted his last name….after all, “you don’t need to look back if you never plan to go that way”, she used to say.  His family had made their fortune in fashion.

His family frequented Grossingers, a popular resort in the Catskills, and they invited Archer and myself to join them there one summer.

My first view of the property was of the enormous pool, with diving platforms and waterfalls. In the evenings the “water ballet” beauties would perform, with light shows and symphonic music. An enormous mirror allowed us to view their water dances from above, swirling in and out of geometric shapes and splashing and flashing colors…..with all the floral swim caps it often looked like giant flowers being blown in the wind, dancing and swaying with butterflies….doing a sort of “pollinating dance”, Alan used to say. 

In the nearly 400-seat dining room, we enjoyed prime rib with potatoes and spinach. We also had shrimp cocktail, the appetizer of the day (I think you call them “apps” these days). Anyone who was “anyone” ate shrimp cocktail….I once saw Marilyn posing for the photogs while eating shrimp! Of course then Eva, Jayne, and the rest had to follow suit and voila! Everyone is eating shrimp cocktail, in champagne glasses, of course! And, yes we did have the bubbly on occasion, but we generally spent the evenings drinking bikini martinis, gimlets, and the occasional Singapore sling.

There was a lineup of comedians at the nightclub, some of the better known headliners were Henny Youngman and Milton Berle, preceeded by many young “start-ups” who spent much of their time serving us our dinner, but just to be among the “big stars” was well worth the “waiting”.

Tilda and I tittered and chatted well into many nights while the men smoked cigars and shared tales of big game safaris and Paris burlesque…maybe someday Tilda will share her secret…..Astoria

By the by, I watched Eddie Fisher marry Debbie Reynolds at Grossinger’s, as shared in Joel Siegel’s you tube video showing “those were the days”…..

By the by, for more on my favorite 1950’s cocktails,

                                                      By the by, fabulous for cocktails:

                                                    By the by, wonderful for shopping:

A tribute to Tilda


By the by, for the hottest stars of the 1950’s,

By the by, Tilda’s friend, Babette, organized this
1950’s swimwear fashion show

By the by, if you ask me, no one could master the water in the 1950’s like Esther Williams….she certainly must have visited Grossinger’s!
If you like underwater art at it’s best, check out Million Dollar Mermaid

By the by, my niece recently showed me this music video with Esther Williams and “Indie” music….I prefer Big Band, but it does take me back to the Beatnik Bars of Amsterdam!

And for my favorite, you can’t talk water art without going to Cypress Gardens! Hold on! This is a wild one!

By the by, to go to the beginning and catch up on Astoria's adventures go to,