I think I need to talk about my first experiences in New York City at 18 years old.
I had flunked out of Geneseo State College(that is what it was called back in the day) My mother was heartbroken, but I really don't remember what my father said. It was he who had insisted that his daughter had to go to college. We were all unsure of what the next step would be. Mama thought I should take some courses at the community college. I wanted to go to NYC and get a job. That is what I had wanted in the first place but my Dad wouldn't hear of it because I was accepted with a small scholarship at Geneseo.
Fortuitously, my best friend Christa had come to Potsdam in June to move her Mom to her apartment in Queens NY. Christa had gone to travel school in Chicago but then went to NYC and got a job as a receptionist. She was waiting to get called for an interview to be a stewardess.
So Christa was moving her Mom to Queens with her mom's old car with a uhaul attached. Christa did not drive but I had driven her mom's car many times our Junior and senior years in high school. They invited me to go along to help drive and stay with them a few weeks in to help settle her mom. I, of course, lept at the chance, and since I couldn't do much else until fall, my father said I could go. Mama wept a little because she knew what I really wanted. I think my father felt I would come crawling home after being defeated by the big city. He had been a runner on Wall Street at about my age and he hightailed it back to work in a sawmill in Conifer, NY.
I will never forget the drive from the Hudson Bridge to NYC. We drove down the Hutchinson River Parkway and from about 10 miles away we could see the city lights. It was a truly magical night. My heart was in my throat the whole way and I just could not believe what I was seeing. I knew then that truly this was my destiny and the place I was meant to be. Coming to "Gotham" on an enchanted evening like that fulfilled, but also began, the epitome of all my childhood dreams. This one evening, and a second at Delhi Airport, when I first set foot in India, remain in my memory as fresh as on the days they occurred. Nothing could have prepared me for the sights I saw or the emotions I felt on these two occasions.
I stayed with Christa for two weeks while I looked for a job and a place to stay. I found a job almost immediately as an office trainee at the American Institute of CPA'S. I had gotten the job through an employment agency and I had to pay them out of my first salaries for the next three months. I was paid in cash week. I remember the small brown envelope containing exactly $63.00. The next step was to find a place to stay. Christa had stayed at the Webster Hotel for Women between 9th and 10th Ave on 32nd Street.( see "a new beginning 1962"folder on Claire's Pinterest pages.) She took me there and they accepted me and agreed to keeping a $50.00 deposit, until my first paychecks came through. I had been sent off to NYC by my parents with $100.00 and it was the last money I ever accepted from them.
So I called my parents and told them I had a job and a rented room and that my future from then on was in NYC. They wished me well and said to call home right away if I needed anything or got into any kind of trouble. My mother's philosophy was "if you love truly love someone, you love them enough to let them go." I believe this is what kept my parents together until she died.
More of my early NYC experiences will come on another day.
Farewell for now.