The Girl With A Beautiful Derriere

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


A world Famous Cellist makes a terrible error in judgement and it haunts her till the end of her life. A bitter sweet love story

Submitted: January 11, 2017

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Submitted: January 11, 2017

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The  Girl with a Beautiful Derriere

 

Jack Kay

March 28 1967 8 Detroit News ….. Renowned Cellist succumbs to  terminal illness. Musician Anna Melloti of Detroit passed away yesterday at Wayne County Hospital. She had been undergoing treatment for an undisclosed illness. Miss Melloti was born in Milan Italy on July 1st 1898. She began studies on the cello at an early age studying with Vincenzio Stephani, the principal cellist of the Della Scalla Opera Orchestra of Milan. Melloti were considered to be a virtuoso instrumentalist. Her father Alfredo who had performed as a violinist with the Scalla orchestra decided to immigrate to Canada in 1913. After brief employment in Montreal and with several orchestras in Boston, Baltimore and Chicago they landed jobs with the auspicious Philadelphia orchestra in 1914. In 1915 she became the principal cellist and embarked on numerous solo recitals across the United States. Later she teamed with her father on violin and American pianist Samuel Davis to form the Bacchus Trio. She eventually married Davis and they took up residence in New Jersey. Her career flourished until 1935 when a photograph of her surfaced in several pornographic photo shops depicting her “avec un nu derrière”. The source of the photograph was never divulged. Leopold Stokowski the music director of the Philadelphia orchestra was furious and as a result she was fired. He said ‘I could not look at her face when all I could visualize was her bottom”. Melloti could not live down her faux pas and began work with small orchestral groups across the United States and Canada. She and Davis divorced in 1937.From 1938 to 1943 she was employed in the Festival Film Studios in London England. In 1945 she secured a back desk cello position in the St Louis Orchestra under her married name. She became romantically involved with the conductor Vladimir Goldsmann. It was soon learned that she was the woman in the photograph and was forced to resign in 1951. Her work continued to dry up but in 1953 she secured a position as associate principal cellist with the Detroit Symphony and enjoyed a successful career until she retired in 1960.She played in numerous ensembles and taught cello at the Wayne University School of music. Funeral arrangements are not complete.

 

ONE

June 1965

St Louis

The last concert of the season was usually a special event. Maestro seemed to glow because he was off to the Canary Islands and the orchestra members were anxious to start our annual vacations. The final programme for the season was a night in Vienna. Waltzes, overtures and polkas were the order of the night. This was a sweet and sour night for me.

My name is Dennis Black, I had been playing second oboe in the St Louis symphony for twenty years. I can’t say I was tired of the routine. Really, symphony employment can be very satisfying. Good music has a way of being a restful existence; the only real worrying part was when a young buck asked for an audition. My savior in this regard was the first oboist Norm Fell. We were golf partners; we never discussed music, mostly just baseball and hockey as we were devout followers. Norm would always say “as long as I can beat you at golf you will remain as 2nd Oboe”. He was joking of course, I often thrashed him badly.

The concert was my last as a symphony musician. I had applied in early 1965 for the position of critic with the St Louis Post Dispatch. Writing critique had been my hobby and supplementary income for several years. I had graduated from Columbia with a degree in English Literature after completing my oboe studies at Julliard I had sought a job but despite auditioning for several positions I was still without full time employment. My mother advanced the money to continue my education. I took a part time job with a theatre orchestra off Broadway. The shows were few and far between, but when I worked I made enough to get by. I lived with two other starving musicians in a loft. I had been in school during the war and I was not called for the draft and since I had decided to continue my education I was given dispensation.

In 1945 my oboe teacher Rolf Jorgenson contacted me advising that the 2nd oboe seat in the St Louis Symphony was going to be vacated and that auditions were coming up fast. I applied and took a train to St Louis for the auditions. It was astounding the number of players appeared for the auditions. I recognized many of the names, some were well known, and others were graduates of prestigious music schools.

The preliminary auditions eliminated several players in just a few hours. The next day we drew lots to perform. We were not named at the time but I did know one of the finalists. She had been at Julliard in my class. Her name was Rose Williams and she came from Syracuse New York. At the time I thought she had the inside track. But before long it was down to me and an older player from Chicago. Just before the finals the principal player Norman Fell took me aside and said “If you don’t screw up, you have the job, do you play golf? “I went in and played my heart out and got the job. Twenty years later I was still with the orchestra and it was time to move on.

I still had good chops as they say but I had paid into a pension plan and twenty years was enough since I was unmarried and my mother had left me some money. Earlier in my career I was suddenly confronted with an anomaly, Norman Fell lived up to his name and slipped on a wet floor in his apartment building and broke his wrist. I was asked to take over at the first oboe chair and they hired Rose Williams on my recommendation to take over 2nd oboe. I did step in for about 6 months and when Fell returned Rose was hired on a full time basis for English horn and supplementary 1st oboe. She was to become my live in girlfriend and the relationship lasted for several years until a French horn player joined the orchestra with whom she became interested because he was the marrying kind. Suddenly her clothes disappeared from our closet and the arrangement was over. She left the orchestra along with the French horn player and they moved to the Cleveland orchestra and I guess they lived happily ever after.

Funnily enough I had been writing on contract for the Post-Dispatch for several years under the Nome de plume of Lesley Kwaver. The secret had never been uncovered and the orchestra benefitted from my uninhibited praise for our concerts. It had turned out to be very successful and I got to attend other musical programmes and recitals. The conductor of the orchestra once asked if I had ever met Kwaver and I said he was a very mysterious fellow who came in to the concerts at the last minute and sat in the balcony. Goldsmann was obviously not a very curious man because he never sought out the writer. I wrote my review on plain lined foolscap and sent it in to the paper by mail every Sunday after the Saturday concerts or whenever we played. I received a lot of mail from readers and often the more astute realized that Kwaver was really a vicarious word I adopted from the British terminology for a quarter-note a Quaver.

The orchestra had a short party following the concert and with hugs and kisses and a new gold Bulova watch on my wrist I took my leave and headed home to my tiny apartment three blocks from symphony hall and near Sportsman Ball Park.

When opened my door, I noticed handwritten note slipped under the door from Harry Perkins the entertainment editor at the paper. It was short and sweet.

“See me soonest”

 

TWO

 

I slept fitfully all night expecting the worst. I couldn’t imagine why “Perky” as he was known to call me in when we had agreed that I would begin working at the paper at month end, two weeks hence.

I took a cab to the paper and went straight to the finance department and asked if they had all my paper work in order. The girl searched around and found my card and confirmed that I was starting work in July at a salary of four hundred and month. “Anything else “she said smiling.” How about coffee after work” She laughed and pointed to her hand. Just engaged sorry you are about two years too late. But I have an older sister who is still single” “When you say older, how much older” I said as I walked to the doorway. ‘Come back later and I will give you her measurements”

I ran for the elevator and headed up to the news room. Back buried in the corner of the news room which was more like a factory floor with numerous desks, typewriters and with a high decibel din was the entertainment-fashion section. Stuck away in the corner were two adjoining glassed-in offices. One was for Perkins and the other was for Bonita van Loewen the fashion editor. She was a frumpy blonde with a face that wore a continuous frown. I never saw much of her but she never remembered who I was, always saying in a very high pitch voice “may I help you”.

Thankfully Perky was always around and he would wave her off. I could see him at his desk surrounded by news print. As usual he was on the phone. He wiggled his fingers and pointed to a chair across from his desk.

He listened for a moment and wrote down a few comments on a scrap of paper. He barely whispered goodbye and then without looking at me studied a facsimile he had taken from a pile on his cluttered desk.

“Ah you all settled in with your full time job”

Before I had to chance to answer he continued

“I got this teletype message from my pal Herbie Feather at the Free Press in Detroit about a dame named Anna Melotta a cellist who is not very well and he thinks she played here after the war. Did you know her?”

“She was not known as Melotta when she played in the St Louis Orchestra, she used her married name of Davis”

“Okay, but did you know her or something like that, Biblical or otherwise. There is a photograph with her pants down taken some years ago that is still floating around’. He said reaching into his drawer he scooped out a small black and white photo card and tossed it over.

I glanced at the photograph of Anna holding her shift open and displaying her bare buttocks of which I had seen numerous times both in the picture and otherwise.

“Yes she was prettier than this photograph and I did ah……. see the real life version. We were good friends”

“Just checking to see if you knew her, I am not interested in the details, Dennis”

“Okay but what has this got to do with me”?

“I want you to head up to Detroit and see if you can get an interview, call the lady first. When you get a go ahead, we will pay your expenses, this is a human interest story for a Sunday edition. I think we can say that this is your first major assignment. Feather in Detroit says she had some mysterious secrets beyond the bare-assed picture.”

I nodded my assent and began to leave.

‘One other thing Dennis, go to Feather’s office in the Free Press Building and write up the copy and give him the exclusive, then he will send me a copy by teletype. Leave out anything that is startling. Just feed him the basics”.

I left Perk’s office and looked for a phone; the noise was overwhelming so I sought out a private office.

The operator put through the call and she answered on the second ring

“Anna its Dennis Black in St Louis calling”

I could hear her draw a breath before she began to speak’ Denny, my darling love, so good to hear from you” She then began to speak very quickly asking questions but never waiting for an answer. Finally she asked me what was up.

‘Anna I have quit playing for the time being and I would like to do an interview of your career”

“Harrumph” she stammered “Again with the subject of my behind, and no doubt with the picture”

“No Anna not unless it is on the record”

There was silence and then she again took a deep breath and agreed. I told her it would be a few days but as soon as I hit Detroit I would call.

We rang off and I quickly advised Perky and he sent me down to finance to have the arrangements made.

 

 

 

 

The next day I left St Louis at night. I had a Pullman birth which had several elderly people in close proximity that began a flatulent orchestra soon after bedtime. After an hour or so of sleeplessness I decided to get dressed and headed to the observation car.

My thoughts took me back to the first time I saw Anna. The year was 1945; I had been selected as 2nd Oboe along with 2 violinists that had escaped the Nazi tyranny, both of whom came from Poland. Anna had auditioned only a few days before we were scheduled to begin the orchestra season. A back desk cellist had suddenly decided to retire. She had been called with the off chance she could fill the position; No one seemed to know anything about her.

I met her at an orchestra luncheon held the day before the first rehearsal. I immediately realized she was stunning. When I was introduced I could barely contain myself. I absolutely gushed over her. Her smile was brilliant, with straight teeth and gorgeous lips. He face was unblemished and she spoke with a very soft and inviting accented voice. I wasn’t able to determine her country of origin until later but it was sweet and reassuring. I later found out her much older than she looked because she was nearly 48 years old.

After our conversation she roamed around the room and it was then that I noticed her being eyed by most of the male orchestra members including the Vladamir Goldsmann. Norman Fell sauntered over to me and speaking in a very low and confidential manner said “ Where the hell has she been all of our lives” I was going to respond when he leaned over even more conspiratorial and whispered ”have you ever seen an ass like that, it’s enough to stir up the blood.”

I laughed, not wanting to spoil his fantasy.

“You know Denny, (he had become very friendly, I guess for musical reasons) there are not very many women in major orchestras across the country. The only reason why they are making any headway is because lots of guys went off to war and they stepped into the chairs. We have only still got five-Mary Connikee and Elsa Jackson on violin, Marika Degroot on harp and this Anna person.”

“I see more here than that” I said waving my hand around the room

Before answering he sauntered away leaving me standing with some other orchestra players. All eyes including the women were on Anna. I admit that I felt a sudden surge in my loins as I glanced at her backside it was no doubt provocative. She wore a very thin silk dress and her posterior was very noticeable. She stood very straight, clutching a wine glass in one hand, holding a cigarette in the other. She was it seemed amused by the entire group. She appeared relaxed in a conversation with one of the orchestra members, nodding every now and then.

I became distracted by an elderly well- dressed man who introduced himself as Alex McMillen. He spoke with a much clipped British accent. “I am the principal cellist” he said, smiling with a set of very white teeth.

I shook hands with him, asking him how many were in the cello section. “Six, now with Miss Davis.  She is an excellent player by the way, I was shocked that she was working previously in such small groups. We were lucky she was close by in Kansas. ”

“Where is she from, I mean originally” I asked watching him light a cigarette.

“Surprisingly she spent a lot of time up in Canada, she had some orchestras mentioned in her resume, of which I knew nothing. I was really more interested in how she played and she played everything from memory. A fabulous job of the Dvorak cello concerto”. He searches his pockets coming up with a packet of player’s cigarettes, he offered me one but I did not smoke. He saw she was standing alone and saying ta-da scurried across the room. The crowd was thinning out and I needed to do some practice before the inaugural rehearsal.

 

THREE

 

The night was extremely dark in the club car and I grew quite sleepy. Before long I was awakened by a steward. “ Fifteen minute call sir ,coming into Central Station Chicago.

I changed trains in Chicago for Detroit and fortunately it was an express. My thoughts turned again to Anna. The season went by very quickly from September to December. We played twice weekly. Anna was very popular with the orchestra. Most of the younger men flirted with her but I often joined her for coffee. Eventually I got up enough nerve to ask her out for dinner on a free night just before Christmas . She instantly accepted with a glowing smile. She loved Chinese food and we discovered little restaurant which was upstairs in a building on Olive Street near Broadway called Sammy Chan’s Chinese and American food. The stairs leading up to the restaurant were dark and gloomy, and Anna took my hand clutching it as we walked up. We were surprised that the tables were full and the decor was brightly lit with Chinese pictures and statutes.

We ordered a dinner for two and it was delicious. Anna was very entertaining . We spoke about music, the conductor whom she admired and the section leader. She asked me several questions about my background .

Finally we noticed the place was clearing out . Anna headed to the washroom and as she walked away I saw the remainder of the men in the room watched as she flounced her backside . It was rather a musing because she began to bounce her bum. I couldn’t hold myself together and laughed out loud. Eventually she returned and again all eyes were on her.

When we got back on the street, she looked at me very seriously and I just couldn’t hold back and simultaneously we both began hooting with laughter. I took my arm and wrapped it around her waist . She turned toward me and leaning forward kissed me softly on the lips.

Our intimacy did not begin that night, it took a few more dates over the Christmas Season but she knew I was absolutely obsessed with her. Nearly all the time we were together I was aroused. Once we double dated with a married couple from the orchestra and we took a cab to a night spot. It was very crowded in the cab because both of our friends had never missed a meal. Pauline who as we today politely call overweight woman , full figured was married to a violinist named Norman Claver who I would bet tipped the scales at 250. I had to have Anna sit on my lap. She put her arms around me and I instantly had an erection which she noticed and winked at me grounding herself with her lovely buttocks into my erection. Luckily we arrived at our destination because I nearly came in my pants.

The dinner was amazing because of the massive amount of food our friends managed to stuff themselves . I watched Anna as she gazed at them with total fascination. We left the restaurant separately and she waved for a cab. She gave the driver her address and it took ten minutes to get to her apartment building. In that short interlude she held me as close as I ever was embraced. We kissed deeply and longingly.

 

When the cab arrived at her apartment building she motioned for me to pay and to follow her. We mounted some stairs in a rather dingy hallway and entered a tiny apartment which was in fact was a single room and a bathroom. She walked over to a partition she took hold of a wall handle pulled down a bed which was nestled in a wall cavity. She bid me to get comfortable, and I sat down in a chair near the bed. She headed into the bathroom. When she returned and walked over to me , she motioned for me to stand up. I realized that she expected me to shed my clothes.

‘You are new to this, I think” she said helping me remove my shirt and tie. We kissed again very deeply. It was a fantastic experience with a grown woman and it lasted well into the night. Anna was as passionate as any woman could be with a neophyte as I was up to that time. When we slipped into bed, she knew instantly where I was going with my hand , and snickered knowing it was where every man she had been with would slide his hand. Time expired for us in the early morning. I gathered up my clothes , feeling fully sated with a measure of sexual joy. Thankfully it happened on several more occasions. Until she became bored with me . Within less than a year she became the pet of the orchestra maestro Vladamir Goldsmann.

My demise came on an orchestra tour to California in 1946. We hardly spoke after the breakup , but she always smiled and waved at me when we began rehearsals and concerts. Everyone in the orchestra knew she was now the maestro’s mistress. But it was my section leader and golf partner who leaked the reason,

We were on a train travelling from San Francisco back to St Louis when Anna and Goldsmann walked down the aisle of the day car we occupied. Norman Fell leaned over to me and pointing down the aisle he muttered ‘ God She has an ass to die for and he has a dick the size of an oboe. What a combination”! I never asked Fell how he knew but later surmised he had spied on Goldsmann in a urinal.

 

FOUR

 

Life in the orchestra returned to normal for me. The daily routine of rehearsals and weekly concerts continued . Anna became the second chair cellist. Her waves and smiles faded as her relationship with the maestro became more intense. Suddenly after nearly six years with the ensemble she left. There was no announcement but the rumours of her romantic entanglement with the conductor were a daily discussion at coffee break and had reached the ears of the orchestra management. We had our usual summer break which had been shortened to allow for pops concerts and her chair was vacant. The concerts were conducted by the associate conductor in residence Gordon Hoover.

My thoughts had completely blocked out the fact that we had arrived at the Central rail station in Detroit. I glanced at my watch and it was well past nine in the evening. I hailed a cab heading for the Lafayette hotel in downtown Detroit. After I checked in I decided to have late night sandwich, falling into bed soon after.

I had a very limited breakfast. I called Anna and there was no answer .I took a walk on Woodward Avenue walking several blocks before returning to the hotel . There was still no answer but just before I tried for the third time she answered.

“I went for a walk she said’ after we greeted each other. I live in an apartment just off of Seven Mile road she advised, giving me the exact route. With those instructions I caught a cab from in front of the hotel.

The driver found the place very quickly and I entered a dilapidated building and headed to the elevator arriving at her floor. I was shocked to see how seedy the whole place looked. Torn, dirty rugs with peeling wallpaper in the hallways. Further down the hall I spied her and she bid me to come to her opened door.

We had last seen each other in 1946, but time somehow had ravaged her. She was undoubtedly not the same Anna. Her face was shrivelled, and she her clothes hung on her like she were an empty bag. But there was still something about her that seemed majestic. She hugged me and marvelled how I had kept my boyish figure. Then she pointed at a well-worn divan for me to sit.

The apartment was very neat but had a decrepit look about it. The rugs I noticed were very threadbare and soiled. There was an odour of sour agedness.

“ We must have tea” she said nodding to the tiny little kitchen off the living room.

“Actually I would like to take you to lunch to some place you like.”

“Oh” she remarked “that would be wonderful, perhaps Italian?”

Within minutes she had taken a very old raincoat out of the closet although it was quite warm in Detroit. I noticed as she stood at a mirror in the hallway slightly combing her hair that she still had a very curvy rump.

“We will go to a little place I know called Mario’s’

“Let’s call a cab, it will save walking ”

“Yes that will be most delightful”

We signalled a taxi in front of her apartment. Minutes later we arrived at the restaurant which was located in a run -down building. When we entered a youngish woman dressed in a black form fitting blouse and skirt took her coat and chatted briefly with in Italian. We were seated by the window.

A very old man waited on us. He was very polite to her as she ordered in Italian for both of us. She also requested a glass of house wine . I decided to drink a cola.

I was really ravenous and the food I discovered was succulent and plentiful. Anna ate sparingly. We talked of our time together and where she had played. I was surprised to learn that she had lived in London England for some years playing with the orchestra St Martins in the Field. She mentioned that she would like to elaborate later.

We finished and I paid the bill. She went to the ladies room returning after several minutes.

‘Sorry Dennis my constitution is really breaking down”

I nodded and I asked the young lady to call us a cab which appeared almost immediately.

When we returned to Anna’s apartment she made tea and after a few minutes nodded off to sleep. I read an old life magazine which was in a nearby magazine stand and after a few minutes she came awake.

“Now tell me what you have in mind for this interview” she said leaning forward in her chair.

“To be honest Anna this will not be in an interrogatory manner, I have a new type of tape recorder called a cassette recorder which will play up to 45 minutes on each side of the recording. All you have to do is tell the story of your life and the microphone which is built in will pick up every word which I will later transcribe to paper.”

“Sounds easy but how long will the sessions be”

 

At the end of forty-five minutes we will take a short break. You can get up and walk around then we will move on. We can start today and then schedule a time tomorrow. We can go out to lunch and then you may wish to rest after which we can continue”

‘Dennis how long will you be here”

“Let’s not go there Anna , I will stay until your story is fully told.”

I opened my small satchel and placed the recorder on a coffee table near her. She marvelled at its diminutive size and after checking it over for the volume she tried a few words. She then began to speak without any prompting from me.

My name is Anna Melloti and this is my story. It is about dissolution caused by errors in judgement. But more later on that part of my life. I was born in Milan Italy in 1898 the daughter of a masterful violinist ,my father Arturo who was also known as ‘Fierro’. My name is Anna Melloti and this is my story. I was born in Milan Italy in 1898 the daughter of a masterful violinist ,my father Arturo who was also known as ‘Fierro’ for his technical ability. My mother was German , having been born and raised in Bonn Germany. She studied at the Bonn Conservatory of Music. My mother was a member of the auspicious Schiller family of Bonn. The Schillers were famous as musicians which began with her Grandfather A August Schiller who played second violin in the orchestra that premiered Beethoven’s 9

My father and mother met at the Bonn Conservatory where they were both students. My father eventually auditioned and was accepted in the Scalla Opera Orchestra where he played in the First violin section. Against my mother’s better wishes they moved to a small apartment in Milan.

 

I was born in 1898 and began piano studies when I was five………

 

 

FIVE

 

She recounted her life in detail speaking sometimes very slowly and when she reached an important disclosure she covered the matter very quickly. Most of what she said was mundane conversation until she reached the part about her bare bum photograph.

“ My Father and I along with orchestra pianist formed the Bacchus trio in 1931. I married Samuel Davis in 1932. For a while we tried to take dates in New York, Philadelphia and surrounding areas, but this did not work out because we were in great demand and were unable to fit both the orchestra and our performances into our schedule. Finally we all gave notice and settled in Orange New Jersey. The marriage to Samuel failed almost immediately because he admitted to me that he was gay although we continued to live as man and wife for the sake of my father, we had separate living arrangements. We received three thousand dollars for each engagement, with a three way split and paid our own expenses. Eventually the work began to dry up. Mostly because of the depression. We decided to have advertising portraits taken and we went to a studio in New York ran by a photographer named Nathan Fox. He took a photo of the three of us together and also some individual photographs. I returned a week later to pick up the package of proofs”.

Fox was an interesting person with several stories which he told me about various professional personalities he had photographed. He then shut the door on his office beckoning me to a chair.“

“I wonder if you would like to make some extra money, you have some attributes that make you quite photogenic?”

I knew at once to what he was referring to. I wasn’t shocked but somewhat cautious but waited for him to elaborate. He remained silent for a few moments.

He then continued looking at some invisible item on his desk.

’I am sure you have been told or know that you have a very attractive behind and you would be a perfect subject for a presentation of woman’s anatomy for which I have been planning at a new gallery of photography of art subjects here in Greenwich Village.“

’What will this photograph entail“

“I would like to take nude photographs of you from the rear”

My first thought was absolutely no, my career could be ruined if the picture was displayed. I stared at him as he thoughtfully glanced out his panorama window of the street below.

He extracted a cigarette from his package of Chesterfields. Before lighting up he waved the cigarette at me motioning to get my permission.

“What kind of money are we talking about Mr. Fox?”

He blew out the smoke before proceeding.

’Ah.. There are three types of pictures for which I make stills. The type I suggested which I will pay $500.00. A seminude photograph which pays 350.00. The other one is more involved but I pay 1500.00 for them and there is also a short film and several additional stills that are part of the deal with some action involved. I can discuss the actual undertaking if you like but you will be rather shocked.“

“Shock me” I said

He continued“ We have man whom you will be working with. He is exceptionally well endowed with perfectly sculptured body which he maintains with exercise. You would be required to engage in sexual intercourse for some minutes in different sexual positions. The films are silent but require a lot of activity such as the natural momentum of sex. Both of you will be nude. I can assure you that the man has no diseases connected to this form of activity, he is clean. When he finally does come he will do so on your stomach. The entire episode will be filmed and I will direct the posed settings. The stills will be taken by my assistant Hannah. I will run the film camera.

He stopped his recitation waiting for me to speak.

’I will have to think about all this“ I said as I stood up, I patted my backside. ”I wasn’t even aware that my ass was so valuable”!

He laughed. “Definitely it is ,you would be very surprised.

I took my leave , heading back to Orange. I knew that we needed the money. My father was already canvassing the orchestras looking for work. Samuel my now ex-husband was playing in a basement bar three nights per week. We were overdue with our rent. I needed to find my own place to get away from Samuel. The trio work was almost dead. I needed to seek a full time Symphony job. By the time I reached home I had decided to take two of the options and called the photographer.

A few days later I came to his studio, where he had me remove my clothes for the shots. They were all from the rear . Hannah ,his assistant took most of them, providing me with a robe in between takes. I partially dressed for the take where I uncovered my backside holding my shift. I also turned slightly glancing at the camera. At the end of the session, Fox handed me an envelope containing the promised cash.

“Great work today Anna, I am hoping we can continue our association.”

“I will let you know soon Mr. Fox” I said , but without much enthusiasm.”

The photographs turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life!

 

SIX

 

Orchestra’s usually advertised in the Musicians magazine. Small ensembles searching for string players quoted the fees which were paid by the service. This kind of work was intermittent, with never more than 5 services. Pit orchestras paid more but the work was drudgery. I was offered a job at the off Broadway Schubert theatre where they were staging the operetta Naughty Marietta. I would have to travel every day to New York, play the show and head for home. On Saturday there was a matinee, Monday was dark, and the pay was 165.00 a week for three months. With nothing in sight I signed up for the work.

As luck would have it , I had made a good decision, because following the three months, I was hired to do another show this time it was on Broadway at the Belasco theatre , featuring a star studded cast for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1933. The pay was really good. At the first rehearsal in early January I recognized the concert master, whom I knew from the Philadelphia symphony. His name was Ron South . He told me that he had retired from the orchestra to take Broadway Shows with the conductor Lawrence Levine. At the same time I became acquainted with the other cellist for the show Nancy Collins.

The girl was a striking petite blonde girl from Britain. Nancy was an excellent musician with a terrific resume. The cellist was graduate from the Guild Hall in London. She had played with numerous orchestras in the United Kingdom but when she married, her husband was transferred to New York. He was a German diplomat , employed at the German consulate in New York. Nancy and I hit it off almost immediately. Eventually I moved to New York taking a tiny apartment in Soho near Houston Street. The rent was steep but I still had some money left from the photographs.

 

Nancy and I became best friends. She was not really very happy in her marriage. The man she married was a Nazi named Herman Stembler. He wanted her to quit playing so she could join him as he made the rounds of the consular parties and gatherings. I met him a few times , becoming aware of his brisk, Germanic temper. On one occasion we met for coffee , where he sprouted his Nazi ideology, in a loud voice. Nancy was very embarrassed , finally telling him to shut it. He reddened , finally walking away out into the street from the restaurant. Nancy broke down, I paid the bill and we left. It was a Monday so we took the subway back to my apartment.

“I really can’t understand why I married Herman he is so dogmatic in everything he says or does”. She said wiping away her tears

“I wish there was a way to get you away from this difficulty”, I said handing her a cup of tea.

We sat in silence for quite a long time. I invited her to stay over with me. I had a couch in the living room where she was sitting . She agreed.

The next day I went with her as she slipped home hoping he wasn’t home, gathering up her cello , and clothing. We cabbed backed to my apartment where with my encouragement took up residence.

 

Sometimes providence will intervene when problems exist. This happened only a few days later when Ron South called both of us aside.

“Ladies, I have some good news for you, Leopold is not happy with the Cello’s he inherited when he took over the Philly in September. I told him about you both. Are you interested in auditioning. Anna you were already in the Philly but he wants to hear you for himself.”

We were overjoyed. The show was in its last run with less than a month to go. Nancy had been staying with me while shunning her husband. He had come to the Belasco several times in an effort to speak to her. Finally we told the back door man Buster about the situation . He told us that we should leave the problem with him. Later he mentioned to us that Herman the German would not be visiting the theatre again.

Ron South made arrangements for us to go for an audition in Philadelphia. Early the following Monday we left by train from Grand Central Station. Nancy was more excited than I was but I calmed her nerves. I decided to play a Cello Concerto composition by Karl Weigel and Nancy was going to play the Dvorak .

The situation for us was very unique because usually orchestra musicians were auditioned before the opening of the fall concert series. But Ron had told us that the orchestra had given two cellist in the orchestra an opportunity to retire or be fired at the end of 1934.Both were very long service players. The auditions are held in small rooms near the concert hall in the massive Academy of Music centrally located in the city center. Leopold Stokowski was a very charming man but also impatient. He was joined by the principal cellist Raymond Flowers. Flowers knew Nancy right away from England they had the same teacher but he was fairly new to the orchestra Nancy went in first, she was hired on the spot after a ten minute audition. We hugged and she was very excited with being selected I went into the room ,warmed up and without being told began to play.

I had not played very long when Flowers said “What have you been doing lately”

“Not very much, just some shows on and off Broadway”

Stokowski remained mute, “play some more” Flowers said

I continued on for some time before Stokowski motioned for me to stop. “Where is your father these days”

“He is playing in the Baltimore orchestra” He walked to a window and turned suddenly to look at me. “I am hiring you today Miss Davis”, Flowers smiled , while he shook my hand. “But I had no doubt that you would be engaged for the Philly, however everyone must sign a contract under my conductorship as you have been noted for giving your notice without warning.. Also I want you to encourage your father to come here to play , I need him for the 2nd violins. I really expect hard work, your playing is the kind I am looking for , and Mr. Flowers will set the tone I seek for the cellos. When can you start?”

All in all it was a good day as we returned to New York on the train, the pay was $250 a week,. We picked up a newspaper to search for digs (Nancy’s expression) . We rested up and planned to take Ron for a dinner at CIROS restaurant for helping us to get the job , but he said would prefer the New York Deli, so we met for dinner before a show. Our show ran for two more weeks . I gave notice on my apartment . We planned to move into a residential hotel until we found a place near the Music Academy. I called my father in Baltimore and he immediately got in touch with the Philly, it was a good time for all. There were two phone messages.

 

SEVEN

 

Anna became tired and we closed out the day at 4:00 , I left her almost asleep on her couch . I took a cab back to my hotel . There were two phone messages awaiting me from the St Louis Post Despatch and the Detroit Free Press. It was too late to call either. Next I grabbed a bite at the hotel dining room ,heading back to my room. There were a few concerts in the city that night , one of which I had decided to attend. I fell asleep fully dressed on my bed, waking up hours later. The next morning I made the calls , the Free Press call was from a secretary wanting for me to make an appointment to see the entertainment editor . I told her that the story was still unfinished. Perky from the Despatch wanted to know how much longer I was going to be. I had to  think fast.“ How about three more days” I remarked. “Okay” he mumbled . I was immediately disconnected. After breakfast I cabbed back to Anna’s apartment but she was out. Eventually she returned , making coffee for us in her tiny kitchen. We spoke for a while, before I realized she was very tired. She rested on her easy chair for a while I went over my notes. She came awake suddenly, realizing I was sitting across from her. She smiled, made very dramatic excuse for which we both laughed and then she continued.

“My life was returning to normal, Nancy and I spent a lot of time together. Not only we were seat mates in the orchestra we were good friends. She was still having a terrible time with her Nazi husband. He knew somehow where we lived. We had taken up an apartment in old Philly near the Symphony hall of the Music Academy. It was a walking distance. The apartment building was too easily accessible, . Herman began to despise me, I began to remember my German which I learned from my Mother. I used words which were used by my mother to describe people she didn’t like. It was easy to see, he was astonished when I described him as DRECK(you know) that he was very annoyed. In any event, he now worked at the Embassy in Washington.

 

Despite the problem with Nancy’s husband our lives began to revolve around playing a in a wonderful orchestra, practise every day and delightful concerts. Nancy visited the Philadelphia Police and lodged a complaint against Herman but he had diplomatic immunity. He was warned however by the Police. I suggested she go to the FBI that did have a good result. He stopped his badgering, disappearing for a while from our lives.

One afternoon following rehearsal we had lunch at a small restaurant that served French Cuisine called Francois. The meal was delicious with good coffee, I was just beginning to daydream when a youngish man approached my table.

’Excuse me are you Anna Davis , a Cellist with the Symphony“

I was instantly taken aback. He was tall with nice wavy hair, a moustache which rather reminded of villains in silent movies.

I nodded

. He smiled holding out his hand to greet me . I was intrigued as to how he knew me. He spoke of the concerts which he attended and that my name was on the programme, he speculated that I was Anna , I suppose or had asked a few questions. He spoke very well and something made me invite him to sit down . I ordered more coffee inviting him to join me.

“My name is Barry Nugent, I love classical music I attend as many concerts as I can, I have been watching you and the other young woman for several weeks, attending the Sunday concerts”.

I smiled leaving him to speak without making any comment. He was not difficult to warm up to. He had nice teeth and smiled continously.I sipped my coffee, glancing at his attire as he spoke about several concerts he had enjoyed. He was wearing a very smart Tweed jacket ,a silk shirt with very dressy bow tie.

I broke my lethargy by asking him what he did for a living.

“I am a travel agent at Thomas Cooks World Travel in the Prudential trade building. I have been working for them for four years, I started there when I came out of the Navy”.

’How long were you in the Navy“

“I joined in 1918, shipped out in 1919 just when the war ended and decided to stay. I spent most of my career in Hawaii. I shipped out on three ships during my career, sailing around the world, it was fabulous. I stayed for 11 years, and I am still on the reserve list. That experience led me to apply for a position with the Cook Company. I started in San Francisco in 1930. I was asked to transfer to Philadelphia when they opened their new office last year. I enjoyed classical music so I purchased a concert subscription. I was really interested when they suddenly had two young women cellists in that section.

I got up as to leave and he suddenly sprang up standing in front of me.

“Miss Davis may I ask if I can take you to lunch or dinner in the near future”

I continued walking towards the cashier’s counter , reaching into my purse to get out the money for lunch, the young man followed close back .

I felt a little panic suddenly, I had been out of the dating picture for a long time, probably very little as a matter of fact. I paid the bill and he paid for his lunch as well.

I made a split second decision, no harm done if it turned out he was gay or just a music follower.

We stood out on the sidewalk, the street was teeming with lunch time walkers , busses making terrible gasping noises. Paper boys yelling, so I drew him over to a shoe store

Doorway.

“Mr. Nugent before I agree I want to ask you a few questions . First are you possible ah …. a homosexual, and” I said is this a lunch so you can just brag to your friends that you had a lunch with me, you know a cellist in the Philly Orchestra, you know the rest”

He smiled “I can assure you I am not a fairy. My interest in you is purely because I think you are a wonderful musician and very pretty , and as I have found you very intelligent”.

I will have to say that I blushed, I mean felt the heat rise all over me. I shook his hand and we made a date for the following Monday tiny Italian restaurant which I liked

We met the next Monday and we began to see each other regularly. He told me he had been fortunate to apply after taking Travel School diploma course of six months through the US Navy. He had been an Ensign in the Navy which he described as a very junior Officer.

We saw each almost two or three times a week . He was extremely polite, we brushed lips , but he seemed shy in going any further, on one occasion he place his arm around my waist when we walked , but with the cool March weather we stayed in most often. Nancy thought he was a terrific guy who was handsome and intelligent. He would come over on Saturday afternoon to the apartment . Nancy would give some excuse to leave for shopping . We sat drinking wine , listening to recordings on my RCA record player. The records were in sets of 78“s and Barry would usually get up and turn them over.

One afternoon he brought over some dance music and asked if I would like to dance with him. I explained I was real klutz, but somehow we danced for some time to the music of the Paul Whiteman orchestra. We began to snuggle each other and as we got closer I recognized that he had a very hard erection. Without thinking I reached down and fondled him . I rubbed very gently for just a few moments and he was hardly moving , but I kept rubbing lightly, when he began to shake which ended with a loud moan with him nearly pitching over. He sat down on my divan and I went into the bathroom to retrieve towel. When |I returned his organ was out in the open and I wiped him off. He was very well endowed but he was also very embarrassed and breathing very hard. When he stood up not knowing what to do I put my arms around him and we hugged. We kissed it was romantic as it was now dark outside. I guess we sat holding each other for a very long time . The front door of the apartment smashed open and Nancy cried out .

“I’m home ,I have the groceries, are you both decent”?

We laughed , Barry kissed me goodnight , very passionately. I whispered in his ear

“I know a little hotel on Liberty Blvd , we can meet in the bar and I will take a room next Saturday at 3:00”.

“Not necessary Anna, I have moved from my day room into the Main Street apartments. I have gigantic bachelor rooms.”

 

EIGHT

 

The symphony work was absolutely marvellous, we played works by the world’s finest as well as recent works. Barry proved to be an incredible lover. We dated two or three nights each week. I became head over heels in love with him. In Early April during the Easter period, the orchestra took a five day vacation. Barry arranged a cruise from New York to Georgetown Bermuda. How exciting! It was first class all the way, with a large cabin, splendid dining and love making out of this world. I tried to pay some of the costs but he wasn’t hearing about it. When the string orchestra cellist learned that I was in the Philly orchestra he persuaded me to sit in , in the group . Playing on his cello I played all the marvellous little lollypop tunes that they played, mostly turn of the century style pieces. They were so delighted that they wanted me to play some solos with them , but I demurred. I just did not want the young cellist to be shelved so to speak.

Barry and I were enchanted with each other. He dressed immaculately every day , I think just to please me. He was insatiable in bed, with kisses to every portion of my body including of course , most men’s fancy, my bottom.

When we returned I guess I had become hopelessly in love with him. We scheduled a number of dates mostly around my orchestra schedule. Nancy and I were given a raise in pay to 300.00 a week . Life went along for both of us. Nancy was careful about her friends. She did have a young man she had met at a St Georges meeting. A group formed of ex-pats from the United Kingdom. She met him secretly . On a few occasions he came over while I gave her some space.

Then the unfortunate finger of fate intervened!

I came home after a lunch with Barry at a coffee shop .Nancy was sat on our divan , with a glass of wine. The radio was playing from the local easy listening station. She was weeping. She barely looked up. I sat down ,she handed me a letter in a white official envelope. The letter from the US State Department and said:-

 

Dear Mrs. Stembler

We have been advised by your husband German Consular Official Herman Stembler that you no longer live with him or have you been in contact. This letter is to advise you that under US State Department policy regarding wives of consular officials you were granted official standing to work and live in the United States in locations at which your husband was serving.

Please be advised that unless you take up residence with your husband Consular Official HERMAN STEMBLER you will be declared persona non grata and you will have 30 days to leave the US. If you do not leave by your own volition you will be taken into custody and escorted to nearest overseas transport back to the United Kingdom. Please also note that the US government will not under any circumstances pay or arrange for you to leave the country.

George C Kelly

Staff Officer-Diplomatic Services

Washington DC

 

I read the letter several times in an effort to digest the enormity of the impact on Nancy. Her crying became more intense. I reached over to hold her but she pushed me away. She suddenly took hold of her purse and began rummaging around until she found a package of Parliament cigarettes , lighting up one. I really didn’t even know she smoked. I slipped into the kitchen to get her an ashtray.

’Oh Anna , Anna I am flat broke, ’she cried out .“ How in hell can I come up with money in 30 days to leave” .

She began to wail again, smashing the filter cigarette into the ashtray.

We sat for hours talking about her predicament. She at least stopped crying. We finally went to bed, I felt the weight of her problem, because it really meant I would be paying for the apartment myself. We went to rehearsal the next day on a Thursday , she just could not concentrate, made a lot of entry mistakes , Leopold was absolutely livid. The manager came to her after a short break and demanded to know what was wrong . She had to divulge her dilemma. We played the concert on Friday . Following the concert she received more bad news , she was being fired without notice.

I was as angry as I could ever be, I tore into the manager at the following the Sunday concert which was to be Nancy’s last performance. He agreed to paying her one week salary and some vacation pay. But she was done and with less than 300.00. Then on Monday my father with whom I had had very little communication came to me on the steps of the Music Academy holding a photograph and suddenly I felt a terror that I had never experienced before. He said nothing as he held the picture out to me shielding it with his hand . It was no doubt the picture of me with my head turned and my shift pulled back displaying my bare behind!

 

NINE

I waited for my father to scream at me in Italian. But he shook his head muttering what you have done in English . He drifted away throwing his hands into the air I was stunned, the pictures I had foolishly believed were for a New York Photograph Studio presentation. I ran to catch the bus , to get home as fast I could . I immediately called the Fox’s studio on the card given to me by the photographer, the operator advised that the number had been disconnected. Standing there in my living room it became obvious now I had been hoodwinked. I called Barry at his office and the line was busy, but the operator took my number and I waited for him to call. A few moments later he returned my call

“Barry I am sorry to call you at work but I need help” I was close to tears and he sensed it.

“I will take my lunch hour now and I will be right over”

He arrived within 15 minutes. I showed him the photograph , he turned red as a beet.

’It just looks like you there is a certain resemblance . But …..he stuttered momentarily . The bottom is … well like yours but not to say it is you.“

“But Barry it is me” I said breaking into a flood of tears.

I related the story to him leaving out nothing. “

“We were broke , on the verge of being kicked out of our rented house in New Jersey, it seemed like a way to make some money until we could get back on our feet. The work had dried up , we were in a desperate situation.”

My story tailed off as he began to seem to lose interest.

“Look Anna I have to get back to work, leave the info with me for now and I will get back to you when I get the full story. Will that be okay?”

I instantly knew where that was going.

“ And………. Anna was there any other photographs that the guy took of you without any clothes”. He said meekly

I replied yes, and he left without the usual kiss.

Nancy had been out the entire afternoon . I was just about to announce my problem when I realized she was drunk.

“Oh for God’s sake Nancy, you are in serious trouble and you find your way out by getting smashed. I am also in deep do-do, and……..”

By that time she had fell heavily onto the couch and fell into a very deep sleep.

 

Sometime later while she still slept Barry called.

“The story about the guy was a head line article in the New York Times four months ago. His shop was raided, several hundred photographs were confiscated, he was closed down .All of the negative prints disappeared, with the result that pornographers began to sell them all over New York. They have begun drifting into Philly last month. Your photograph appeared in a subsequent edition of the Times without the lower part of the picture or your name. You were recognized. Fox had a list of names of the so called photography studies . None of the subjects are being charged but Fox faces five years in prison for making lewd photography. I looked it up at the Library right after work.

I sat stunned barely unable to respond. He said he would call later but I knew that he would not get in touch with me again.

Later Nancy awaked from her drunken stupor. She lit up a cigarette. Barely able to raise her head.

“I am so sorry Anna, my life is falling apart and ……..”

“Nancy we are both in trouble, this nude photograph has surfaced which I did a few years ago”

I handed her the photograph. She sat up to study the picture. She looked at very carefully, and as I began to tear up she puffed on her smoke.

A very weird look came over her as she glanced at me and the photo. There seemed to be a change in her demeanor. In a flash her face lit up into a smile, followed by a squeal of continuous belly laughter. Within moments both of us were shaking beyond control. She kept glancing at the picture and constantly hooting with laughter. Her laughing swelled at times and finally began to dwindle.

“You know Anna, when I was 18 I went to work one summer at farm near Durham . It was my father’s idea of a vacation. But frankly I worked my bum off “Again we both broke up with cackling .

“Every day for two weekends except Sundays we were up at the crack of dawn”.

I met a rough and tough young farmer and decided that he was going to be the guy who was going to take my virginity. So we did it in some high grass near the farm .I didn’t find it that much fun. Anyway he told me an off color poem which I often recall:

 

There once was a girl from Bass

Who pulled down her pants in the grass

Thus displaying her beautiful ass

Along came a farmer to fuck her

What good luck it was sure

He had a big dong

And that is the end of the psalm

 

Despite our predicament we could not stop the laughter. At last we stopped when I predicted that I was going to be fired the next day.

True to my advance knowledge, sure enough, the next day I was called in before rehearsal like I were a school girl to be punished. The manager handed me a letter to outline my misdeeds and handed me three hundred dollars.

He motioned to me to sit down. I refused deciding to remain standing.

’Anna , I would prefer if you leave immediately you are really nothing more than a pain in the ass“

“I guess it really is my ass that has caused the trouble.” I said holding back a childish snort .

When I came out of his office , I didn’t know whether to chuckle or cry. Waiting outside was Ray Flowers the leader of the Cello section.

He asked to see me for a minute. We slipped into one of the practise rooms.

“They didn’t ask my opinion , moving ahead to fire you immediately. You and Nancy were the two best players I ever had in my section. What a loss when it isn’t even necessary. Americans are nation of hypocrites when it comes to things of this nature. Museums in England and in Europe are filled with nude subjects. The idea of art in the states seems to be a Kansas farmer and his wife standing in front of their ramshackle farm house with a rake in his hand !

“Yes I replied here women are objects that are around to wash dishes make meals and have sex.”

’Anyway Anna here is a few dollars to help you along , I had heard that the Hart House Orchestra in Toronto are seeking Cellists. Jeffery Waddington, I could call him if you like.

I immediately broke down crying , he wrapped his arm out around my shoulder me and hugged me. I thanked him for the tip on a job and the money which turned out is 100.00 which we desperately needed.

When I got home we discussed some of our options. When we pooled our resources we had roughly $800.00. We needed to buy two trunks to carry our clothes along with some smaller bags for other necessities. I owned some of the furniture in the apartment. Nancy had a few small items along with her bedding. We still owed a month’s rent which I had to pay to get back our security deposit. With all things considered we had about $500 left.

We needed the phone as long as we stayed. So that was going to be another expense. We made a decision to go to Canada where we discovered that Nancy would be accepted as British Subject. Flowers called the next day to let us know that the Toronto Orchestra were full but there were other chances later in the year. We were already into the summer. I began to check train schedules from Philly to Toronto . We would have to go to New York and then off to Buffalo. Transfer again and go to Toronto.

I made a split second determination to sell my practise cello. Nancy was aghast. You can’t sell your cello she bellowed at me. We argued all evening, but I had made up my mind. The following day I headed out on the bus to Kroller Music instrument dealers. The instrument had been with me since my arrival in Montreal in 1916.

They asked a lot of questions. I sat down and played for twenty minutes and they realized I owned it . It was an Italian instrument made by instrument maker Anthony Ippolito in 1874. They were very cautious about the price. I understood they needed to pay as little as they could to make a good profit. I waited in a small ante room as they mulled it over. A pocked marked girl came in after fifteen minutes to tell me they would need a few days to consider their offer. I shook my head and said to her today or I go.

The offer was a dream $2500.00 . I accepted immediately. They presented me with a cheque. I cabbed to the bank. Deposited it waiting nearly two hours in a coffee shop for it to clear. Took out for our use .

When I got home Nancy was in dither. I explained about the money . She smiled wanly.

“The fellow from the Hart House Orchestra called while you out Anna. The orchestra is just a volunteer group, there is no payment”. She started bawling.

“Look Nancy, we have to leave here in two days, I have arranged to have some money for travelling, so let’s stop all the self-pity. We need to go to Canada for your sake immediately before the FBI show up.

We began packing . Two days later we had our trunks picked up. We took a local train to New York . Made sure our trunks were at Grand Central Station , took a hotel near the station departing to Canada the next morning , Nancy was excited and relieved, I was disconsolate that had not said goodbye to my father.

 

TEN

 

Anna was growing tired, at this point. We took a break. I went out to a restaurant nearby to buy sandwiches. When I returned she was fast asleep. I put the food in her tiny icebox. She awakened a short while later . Anna was famished, gulped down both sandwiches, downing two bottles of Luke warm soda.

She began again with the account of her life .

We arrived in Toronto in the evening after crossing the border at Buffalo. Nancy was a shoo in, we both said we were on vacation. They asked me a lot of questions which was not unusual. Our luggage was in the baggage car otherwise they would have known because of our cellos that we were going to Canada to seek work.

“I had not been to Toronto for several years. We took a room at a rundown hotel for the night leaving our Trunks in Union Station, for storage.

The next morning we walked out to get breakfast at a diner nearby. We needed an apartment quickly; we went to a small office located in the station that advised visitors. The girl was very helpful. She pointed in the direction to obtain clean furnished flats as Nancy called them. We landed a place almost immediately for 50.00 a month that was partially furnished with an electric ice box along with a tiny stove. The total cost was 100.00 with deposit. There were two tiny windows in the kitchen. It was in ten story building with a very rickety elevator, but we had found a place. The hallways had soiled rugs but the apartment had been newly refurbished. The manager was a man in his early fifties and seemed very nice. He eyed us up and down. I made sure to wear coat despite the warm Toronto summer. He asked a lot of questions so we went to great lengths to tell him we were seeking work . He laughed at that statement remarking “good luck on that account ladies”

I won’t dwell very much on our efforts to obtain professional work in Toronto. We transferred our Musician cards to the Canadian Branch of the American Federation of Musicians but met with stern resistance. In two weeks of trying we were without employment.. We discussed other locations nearby but all orchestras except the Toronto Symphony where we were turned away had very limited seasons. Our only alternative was to seek non-musical employment.

Nancy knew a little bit about perfume so she went to the large department store known as Simpsons. Within a few days she was hired to work at the perfume department. It was a good break. But the pay was 20.00 per week for six days. I began to walk around the down town area . We hardly knew a soul , but I dressed up , walked in dress stores, all around the Yonge St area . I would stop only to grab a bite to eat. One day I sat down on a park bench to rest. I picked up a newspaper from the ground nearby. The Want Ads were few and far between. I was just about give up when I noticed a job description for a music store.

 

Wanted

Salesperson for major Music Sellers

Knowledge of Classical repertoire essential

Call 236-6783 for interview ask for Dominic Petrocelli

 

 

I called on from a phone booth and told to come to a Bloor street address . I walked my feet off until I spotted the building which was some distance from downtown. The company was called Hawkes Music Publishers. The store was immense. Everywhere there were bins of sheet music. I noticed a classical section with a young man in a tweed suit speaking to someone.

I walked over and waited at which time he directed me to a room at the back of the shop. When I entered the room was filled with several people waiting. Some were sitting others standing. Momentarily a very big man with long hair and a goatee entered. The room went silent.

“I am a Pet -ro-celli he said in a very thick and throaty Italian version of English. I talk a to you fora fivea minuta each. You hava no music stuff in your a head. I say goodabye -hokay”.

So it went one after another in and out they went some in no more than 1 or 2 minutes. My turn came.

I immediately greeted him in Italian .He smiled, asking my name and other information . We spoke for a few minutes with my telling him I was from Milan. When I told him quickly my background, he was interested. I told him my single name and he looked at me for some time.

’You are cellist “he said not waiting for an answer.

“You come back in short time” he said pointing to the door.

When I returned he was waiting just inside the door and spoke to me in Italian. I was hired after a few weeks I found out it was a nothing job that paid $25.00 a week with 2 days off. I got 1/2hour for lunch which I spent in a dreary lunch room listening to complaints galore. Mr. three syllable Pet--ro-celli spent most of time in his office smoking, speaking in fractured English on the telephone. His idea of management was to come to the door of his office , yelling for one of us to find a piece of music. The other staff members were a scream. Rudy the boy I met on the first day had a high pitched voice , female gestures ,with a countenance that constantly implied doom. Mable another floorwalker as we were called was much older but wore clothing that no doubt came from a used clothing store, nothing matched aside from the fact that she wore perfume that was poured on by the gallon. Finally there was Henry. He spoke to people in a very low secretive voice, almost a whisper. He was weird. He would come to me and standing very close as if to tell me something of a confidential nature then asked me if I had a pencil he could use.

After I was at the store a few weeks the owner Mr. Alvin Hawkes made an appearance with his wife. There were three floors for the music store. He went to an elevator going to the top floor which I assumed was his office. Mr. three syllable Pet-ro-celli roared out of his office in an effort to greet the owner but was too late. He then ran around supervising us, shouting orders like an army sergeant major. It was comedic, not one word was intelligible. Finally Mr. Hawkes came down in the elevator peered around sniffing, but without speaking. He grunted , harrumphed several times . His wife was lavishly overdressed in a black outsized garment . It was a very warm day ,so the outfit must have been oppressive, everywhere she sparkled with rings and heavy pendants . Hawkes did not utter a word to anyone, he merely went from bin to bin examining the sheet music. Then in a whirlwind of motion they were gone . The Mr. Pet-Ro-Celli returned to office almost on the run.

When I came home that evening, Nancy was making dinner, but spreads out on the kitchen table were several brochures from Cruise Ship lines.

“Going on a trip” I asked

“Anna I know we really haven’t discussed the future, . I want to return to the United Kingdom, there is nothing for us here in Canada at least as performers; we can do much better if you want to go of course, and I really want you to go. You have been so kind to give up everything to move with me from the US. You were there when I needed someone….”

She began to tear up. I hardly knew what to say, she walked over and we hugged. She went back to the pot on the stove while I gathered my wits. We needed to pay for the passage, then the cost of starting up again in Britain. Nancy had been using her money to buy groceries as well as contribute a little towards the rent. My money paid the balance of rent plus our other work related expenses. Our ability to save was almost non-existent. I had some money squirreled away for emergencies.

’How much is the fare from New York to London“ I asked turning to her

“That’s just it Anna I can’t go back to New York remember I am persona non grata. We would have to sale from here in Canada, like Montreal, Quebec or Halifax.”

I waited for her to finish making dinner and we ate. After, I began to study all the brochures. Most of the cruise schedules were from New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Amongst the fare and schedules were a few listed from Quebec. I spotted a special sailing at the end of November. We were into early September so that did not seem feasible. The Cunard line Queen Mary was making a run from New York to Montreal and on to LeHave eventually to Portsmouth but only the most expensive Cabin Class. I suspected that this class was first class. The cost was 249.00 each plus we would need train fare to Quebec City with the possibility of overnight accommodation. I began to think about how to raise the money, enabling us to leave for Britain on the November sailing from Quebec.

 

ELEVEN

 

The following Monday I went to work as usual, waiting for Pet-Ro-Celli- to go for lunch. He raced out his office straight to the cash register, extracting his usual theft of a five dollar bill, and without any comment he left. I noticed that all the floor walkers were busy with customers. It was then that I slipped hopefully unnoticed into the manager’s office. I dialled “O” for the operator ,asking for my father’s number in Philadelphia. He answered on the first ring as a I remember. It was Monday his day off , when he sat listening to the radio. I asked him for 700.00 he was annoyed at me but I explained we were quite desperate. He promised after a few minutes to send it by certified check to our address. We spoke for a few minutes as he gave me a lecture about my behavior closing with his love Italian. Next I called the American Embassy in Ottawa to renew my passport. I was told to send it by mail, they would stamp it renewed. I told them when I was travelling which they responded to send it by registered mail.

I had another call to make , but I was not going to take any chances. I slipped out without being seen rushed to the bathroom, which was nearby, stayed in there for a few minutes, eventually walking out to greet a customer. The next day I withdrew 500.00 from my bank account, that night I told Nancy. She sat stunned , eventually as usual breaking down. This time with joy. We sat until very late hashing over the financial aspects as well as the detail of moving. A few days later the money arrived from father. I had mailed in my passport insuring that Nancy had an updated passport.. The sailing date was November 29th. We took off of work the next day, travelling to the office of the Cunard Line located in a four story building nearby to the banking sector of Toronto.

We discovered almost immediately that they were extremely snotty, almost to the point of being impolite. Within a few minutes Nancy set them straight. It was absolutely amazing how they became subservient to our wishes after our initial arrival. It was really comedic.

We booked a passage on the Queen Mary embarking at the Port of Quebec on November 29th 1936 with a 5 day crossing. to Le Havre. We would debark in Portsmouth the next day.

 

The cabin was on the Port side near the main deck with a round port hole. We were required to pay the entire fare, but to our joy the cost for two persons sharing in cabin class was 189.00. Each. Once we were able to “show the money” they seemed to come alive. They even arranged a hotel near the port of Quebec which we needed for two nights prior to the cruise. Next we made our way to the Union Station for railway tickets from Toronto to Quebec City. Having completed our transport to England we headed to a low cost women’s department store to buy some travelling clothes. We set a limit of twenty-five dollars each and came away with some really nice outfits. At every step of the way Nancy became more excited. I was also getting into a comfort zone. I knew that the bad choices I had made might have a chance of disappearing.

I settled all the matters with my apartment, my passport arrived and we gave notice for a few days before we were to leave, packed our trunks, and called a baggage company to truck them to Union Station. Since the apartment was furnished we had no personal chattels. Nancy was as delirious as a little girl. I tried to maintain my composure but on the last few days before we left I began to come apart with numerous bathroom trips and getting very agitated with Nancy for constantly reminding me about the time we had leave for our train.

 

 Here Anna’s voice had begun to become almost a whisper. I told her to take a rest, she closed her eyes and was instantly asleep. I silently got up to stretch, slipping out the front door of the apartment. I returned some time later with sandwiches which she enjoyed with a coffee she made. She was wide enough now to continue.

“Everything went well until we were waiting to board the ship in Quebec. After a very long delay in the holding area which was nothing more than a large barn like structure, we were waved at by a very impolite man wearing a white jacket with open parka to follow him. We almost ran up the gangway until after walking up some stairs he stopped at an inside cabin on the 2nd deck. It was not the cabin I had paid for, nor was it on the deck I had been given on pamphlet showing a diagram of cabins and decks.

I immediately complained .I levelled my finger at the man, who we later found was an overage cabin boy. I withdrew my ticket from purse showing to him right up to his face.

“This is cabin I reserved and nothing else will do, this cabin is tourist class and I paid for cabin class , the cabin number is boldly printed on this receipt as you can see. Take us immediately to our cabin on the Port side or send a supervisor to the gangway”.

He was astounded that I was not easily misled and his face gleamed bright red. I knew his game must have got handed a bribe to get someone a better cabin.

“Sorry Ladies I must have the wrong info in my notebook.” he mumbled .

Without any discussion he politely told us to follow him. We entered an elevator operated by a young man in a bell hop uniform which went to the main deck. The cabin boy pointed to a room with the door open, which was at least twice the size of the one he had tried to pawn off on us. The biggest surprise was that our trunks were already situated in an open storage locker. Nancy giggled when I remarked to the man

“I guess this must be our cabin , the trunks are in here”

He sniffed and left very quickly. We never did see him again, because our cabin was serviced by a woman with a very thick Scottish brogue who couldn’t do enough for us with the name of Molly MacGregor.

We found that we had a small washroom and we both freshened up taking time to change our clothes. We were anxious to take a stroll around the first class amenities of the Queen Mary.

 

Around the vessel nautical touches were displayed and the round portholes were proudly exposed. The first class lounge was a two deck high creation with little groups of tables and chairs cozily put together around fireplaces and in the room corners. But perhaps the highlight of the ship was her first class dining saloon. The long tables of the old ocean liners, that I had known when I first came to Canada had been long gone, and just as in the lounge the tables were grouped with two to four chairs an each. For larger companies bigger tables were naturally available. On the short-side wall a giant map of the Atlantic was mounted. It showed the exact position of the during a transatlantic voyage. . The first class accommodations were vast with plenty of elbow room, all with a light touch of Art Deco, the new type of art introduced by the one beloved feature was the small and exclusive Verandah Grill. We had asked for a larger table so as to meet other passengers and after a short visit with the Maître ’D we were given quite fancy cards with the table number engraved in script. Just as we finished our tour the luncheon Bugle call of ’Roast Beef of Old England “ was played on the public address system. We had lunch but no one showed up at our table. I thought about it for a few minutes . I suddenly remembered that we were advised to eat very sparingly the first day out as the November weather at sea could be very rough. Thankfully both of us ate only a sandwich for lunch with a fruit desert. We both adjourned to the cabin and were reminded by our cabin matron of the same fact. We also asked where we could practise our cellos which we had brought aboard. She arranged the music room next to the ship’s library which was normally used by musicians in first class. The fourth Officer would be available to open the room at 10:00 each morning. It was quite suitable.

The sailing was scheduled for 5:00 pm and we took short naps on the very comfortable double beds. The matron brought us tea at four o’clock with lovely little cakes. She made several suggestions in her very deep and luscious Scottish tongue. We went out on deck but it was very dark by 5:00, however the running lights were quite strong and we became excited at the expectation of our sailing. When we arrived for dinner all hands eventually showed up, they were a very engrossing group. The lady next to me was very upper class British her name was Delia Gray-Black. After hearing the woman speak to my utter amazement Nancy began to hold forth in a very cultured upper class accent. I could barely contain myself. Across from me was Alistair Craigflower , who it seemed was an American from Boston and was a writer of tales from the South Seas. A married couple from Chicago named Brown joined our table just after the first course had been served. The young waiter mentioned to his assistant in Italian that the young couple were absolute jerks and no doubt had been banging the bed frame .I excused myself and walked over to them, speaking in Italian said;

“If you want to be washing dishes I suggest you make no more statements at our table”.

The young couple were very curious as well as the other table members. I just smiled, welcoming them to our conclave. The last person to arrive was a very handsome man wearing what I thought was an expensive suit . He smiled at me and introduced himself as Tyler Brent. We again ate a very minimal meal. We drank only the sparkling water that the waiters brought in crystal pitchers. After a while the sea became slightly rough .Most of the table members slipped away before the desert. Nancy and I remained, but she became slightly ill and bid us goodnight. Kent made his way around to sit next to me and we discussed mundane issues , he smoked, with both of us drinking coffee. The waiters cleared away the dishes giving us silent notice that dinner was over.

 

Would you care for a nightcap he asked in his enabling style. I agreed moving along with him to the Grotto bar nearby to the main dining hall. The bar was almost empty. He ordered cocktail for himself and glass of sherry for me. He began to tell me mostly about himself, asking if Nancy were making a tour of Britain. I explained that we were both professional musicians seeking employment in Britain. He mentioned that he sailed quite often on the luxury liners to different locales in Europe . He was on his way to take up a diplomatic job at the American Embassy in London. It sounded exciting to me at the time. After sipping our drinks fora while he asked if he could call it a night as he was quite tired. He walked me back to my cabin and asked if we could meet for breakfast. I mentioned that Nancy was my travelling partner and she would be along. He accepted that and we parted, but not before we hugged and he kissed me on the cheek. I held his hand for a moment. When I entered the cabin Nancy was in the bathroom. I was exhilarated and my face was really very warm. Nancy was sea sick, coming out of the bathroom with a very pale f ace and pointing to the bathroom she ordered me not to go in for at least two days gave her some alka seltzer. She immediately felt a bit better. I laughed at her toilet humor and then laughingly scolded her for her acting job at dinner. It was my aunt Paulina all over again she screamed with laughter.

 

The next morning with Nancy surviving her sea sickness ordeal we headed to breakfast meeting with our table mates. I sat next to Tyler. He was dressed very casually with a shirt and sweater. I was dressed for the indoors. Tyler rubbed his leg against mine and I felt a thrill as he slowly began to rub his hand on my knee. I could sense a warmth coming over my body. I placed my hand on his to stop him from his adventure. I ate my breakfast enjoying the conversation which was mostly about the ship and the slightly heavy seas. Tyler was very well versed in sea travel. His hand continued his searching. I was not prepared however for his visit to my private parts. Well you know the rest.

I drank my coffee, whispered in his ear that Nancy and I were off to practice and I would see him on the main deck where we could take a walk. Nancy and I proceeded to the room we had asked to use, which the fourth officer met us , and opened it up, we rehearsed for an hour. Nancy headed back to the cabin. I met Tyler who was waiting for me. We kissed, vigorously , almost ravishingly. It was my first real cutaneous sensation in years. We hugged for quite a long time, he suddenly moaned. He apologized as it appeared he had ejaculated. We began to walk around the deck, there was a minimum if spray but it was extremely cold in the North Atlantic. The passengers were very sparse. I had on a heavy outer clothing but we wrapped each other with our arms. We continued to make our way from the port to the starboard but the weather had become much colder. In time we pushed into the vestibule of the Observation Bar. Tyler went to the attendant and requested coffee, which arrived within minutes. We were the only passengers in the small facility which was a casual bar for evening cocktails before dinner. A piano and drums were situated on a low level platform. Comfortable chairs were spread throughout. We sat close to each other with Tyler’s hand gently rubbing my shoulders and hair. I could faintly hear the luncheon bugle playing. We decided to pass on the dining room. Tyler said the Queen Mary featured a separate cabin-class Verandah Grill on the Sun Deck at the upper aft of the ship. They required reservations but he went to a phone nearby and made a quick booking. We had to wait about an hour so it was nice to sit with him and relax. I noticed we now had the observation cabin to ourselves.

We moved to couch where he began to kiss me. It grew more passionate, with Tyler roaming his ever present hands on my breasts. I was growing very warm as we kissed longingly. I pushed myself up into his arms and his hand found my behind where he maneuvered his hand under my dress and slid down under my panties, I was happy I had ditched my shifts for the more modern under clothing. I took the opportunity to make my discovery of his machinations. His pants were buttoned so I gently undid the them reaching inside to hold his erection. He was blessed with a thick and fairly long member but within seconds of my grasping him , his penis throbbed uncontrollably spurting out his seed. He groaned and went quite limp. I was quite astounded because that was second time he had climaxed in a very short period of time. But we were unspoken. We kissed , with both of us heading to our cabins before lunch.

 

Nancy had slept through lunch remaining in bed . She looked quite pale , so I suggested she see the nurse at the medical station on deck 3. We met the nurse at the reception desk. I waited until Nancy exited with some medications. We headed to the Verandah Grill where we found Tyler waiting. Nancy ordered a very thin lunch, which she could hardly finish. I spoke to Tyler telling him that I would meet him later in the library. Nancy and I came back to the cabin where she flopped on the bed, while I fixed her meds.

“I think you are getting hot and heavy with that fellow Tyler, have you gone all the way?”

I remember laughing at her rather childish delight in my affair.

“When you are feeling better I wonder if I could ask you to step out for a while, because I need the cabin for an assignation.”

She sat up, slightly red faced ’so you expect me to fart around on the deck while you are ………fucking the guy? “

“Well I wouldn’t quite say it that way but yes, I want to fuck him as many times as I can, he is well motivated in that direction. Frankly I would also prefer that you do your farting outside as well because it does stink in here.”

For a moment I thought she would begin to have one of her melodramatic crying outbursts but she laughed uncontrollably. It was really good to see Nancy was feeling better.

 

TWELVE

 

Anna was getting very tired ,I left for the day returning the next day. I called Perky he asked where we were in the story when I mentioned about her relationship with Tyler Brent he stopped talking. He gave me some instructions on extracting as much background knowledge as possible, finishing with the quip I think the guy was a spy.

I returned to Anna’s apartment the next morning. I changed the cassette, we had a coffee and she returned to her narrative.

 

“Tyler and I let nature take its course. Nancy was really put out about the redolence of sex in the cabin. I opened the porthole, wherein she began to question me about the lovemaking. I did not go into specifics however I did say he was despite earlier signs a good lover.

The seas were calm for nearly all of our voyage so far. Nancy felt quite well, meeting a number of young men, but maintaining her British dignity and laughingly she said her virginity. Tyler and I met regularly in my cabin because he had a fellow American diplomat in his cabin. I met the man on a few occasions , recognizing that he was what is commonly called today a tight ass. The weather remained very cold but sunny at times so we walked on deck often. Tyler was a well-educated man spoke mostly of his career. I asked him if had been married but he was very defensive about answering directly.

The lunch that day was a mixture of sea food with a green salad. Nancy and I had skipped rehearsing that day. I was extremely tired from all the love making and took a short nap. Just when I got out of bed, Nancy who had been wandering around the decks came in and she was quite excited.

Anna, you know that British lady who sits at our table Mrs. Gray- Black. I met her in the Library. She told me something I found very unusual. You know the young couple named Brown, from Chicago, she said that they have separate cabins“

’How does she know“

“ It seems she spent two years living in Chicago because her husband was a manager for a wine distributor , she said in conversations with the Brown couple they were not very well informed about the city. So she became suspicious, following them at a distance and watched as he entered a cabin on the navigation deck. The man’s wife continued walking until she entered a cabin on the Promenade deck. Mrs. Gray Black treated the matter as a mysterious state of affairs. She pretended that she wanted to meet with them, going to the purser’s office and asking which cabin they were in. She was advised that there were no persons by that name on the ship.

’What has that got to do with us Nancy?“

“What is important to you and Tyler is that they are, according to Mrs. Black-Blue or whatever her name is watching you!”

’You know what I think Nancy, she is just trying to pump you for information about Tyler and I. You know all about our love life. Just tell her that he enjoys going in the back way , is a wonderful gentleman and never comes before I do“

Nancy looked at me and as usual broke into her confounded giggling , eventually into a full laughing jag.

 

 

The whole situation was bizarre, but I just couldn’t see any connection to either Tyler or me. That evening the American dance orchestra led by Ted Weems were playing in the Queens Saloon which we discovered was the Cabin Class Ballroom. We had taken a table for four Nancy had snared a young handsome crew member who wore a dashing uniform. He worked in the navigation department, so he had two broad stripes on his shoulders. He was from Portsmouth in England. The band was on their way for engagements in Europe. They played well known tunes that we had heard on the radio , most of which were gushy slow love songs. Nancy and her escort go up to dance to every tune, while Tyler and I sat and watched. I had noticed that the duo known as the Browns sat across the room from us. But I noticed that they did not dance, but kept eyeing us.

Tyler mentioned that he saw a man with whom he was acquainted , asking if he could go over and say hello. I did not see a problem; he dashed off across the dance floor to sit with an elderly man in the far corner sitting alone. Within seconds the woman named Brown was standing beside our table. She motioned to sit down, I pointed to the chair vacated by Nancy who was still prancing around with her partner on the dance floor. Without even saying hello she began to tell me her version of events which led up to having their name protected on the ship’s manifest.

“The nasty woman with the dual multicolor name has been tailing us around the ship, so we had our name deleted from the ship’s manifest. My husband Desmond’s mother is in a cabin on the promenade deck, she is an invalid and never leaves, and all of her meals are delivered by the staff.”

I responded that really it was none of my business or anyone else’s. But as she spoke I noticed that Mr. Brown was edging closer to Tyler and the mysterious friend he was sitting with engrossed in conversation. At the time the odd circumstances meant nothing to me but I felt a tenuous stir in my abdomen. Nancy and her dance partner returned as the band were on a break. The woman left smiling and with a wave. Nancy was curious about the woman but seemed in a haze with her young man. The fellow sat with his arm wrapped around Nancy and I pretended not to notice that he was rubbing her vigorously under the table.

I had been nursing my cocktail for a while but they were drinking their rum and coke faster than the waiter could supply them. We excused ourselves heading to the Ladies . I told Nancy to slow down on her boozing, she would miss out on a night of making whoopee. I mentioned what Mrs. Brown had said and what I had witnessed across the room. I said nothing to Tyler who had resumed his seat at the table. Nancy stopped drinking rum and drank only coke as did her amorous partner.

 

Nancy left with her partner , shortly after Tyler and I departed. I watched as the Browns also got up to follow us no doubt. After a few hours of love making in my cabin Tyler left , I just could not make it out of the cabin I was so exhausted, but I imagined that the Browns were in close pursuit when he left. .Nancy did did not return until early the next morning.

She was speechless, constantly muttering the phrase oh my God over and over again. She was flushed , her face was bright red , when she undressed I saw she had some hickeys on her shoulder. I asked her if she knew that her bed mate was nibbling on her, she ran her hands over her the bitten areas as well as other places on her body.

Both of us were famished , so we dressed quickly heading to the grand dining room for breakfast. The others were all seated. Nancy was asked if she had taken a stroll around the deck, because her face was so flushed, but she just shook her head. You look quite lovely Nancy Tyler interjected. We discussed our arrival early the next morning in the Port of La Havre , and since none of us were leaving the Queen Mary we agreed to dine that night as a group at our table. Tyler said he would supply a bottle of wine, while the others also said they would also provide some wines. The wine waiter was summoned and the celebration beverages were ordered. According to the ship’s news of the day that was delivered every morning we were to dock at 0600 the next day December 5th 1936“.

Anna had become a bit hoarse with her memories giving me an opportunity to head out with her to our Italian restaurant. When we returned she closed her eyes and rested. With a few minutes without prompting she began her narrative again.

“ The night before reaching our first port of call we had a sumptuous dinner, Nancy’s partner was busy with his ship’s work, but right after our dinner had been consumed he returned. They kissed very emotionally , which caused Nancy to blush like a child. We drank four bottles of wine which made me so romantic that began to rub Tyler under the table. He was getting a little drunk as was I so we left to go to the cabin. I told Nancy not to come back in a whisper. She responded that would not. We bid everyone goodbye and headed to my cabin, where it was a night of sheer joy.

 

~

 

We finally slept but when the ship reached the port at that moment of inertia Tyler was thrusting in and out of me. It was a glorious arrival to France. The stewardess arrived with coffee just after Tyler left and sniffed a few times , opening the porthole. She remarked that we were docked at the French Port of La Havre guessing that Nancy had gone to the dining room for early breakfast. Frankly I just could not keep a straight face and laughed out loud. The Scottish maid chuckled and left.

The next morning we arrived at the dock in Portsmouth, Our steamer trunks were removed the arrival hall baggage room, we carried our hand luggage to the customs area. I left a big tip for our maid Nancy was weepy, and constantly was looking for her lover. He finally appeared at which time they kissed and exchanged information. I met Tyler in the Great hall which was for arrivals at which time we also kissed and he gave me his temporary address as well as the telephone at the American Embassy.

The custom agent briefly questioned Nancy and stamped her passport. But it was different for me. He asked several questions about citizenship and I explained I was born in Italy but I was a naturalized citizen of the United States. Did I have a position he asked, I said no but I would be seeking employment in an orchestra. I was passed to another British custom agent who asked where I had planned to live and how much money I had. I had not noticed but Tyler was close by at hand and had been easily passed through as a diplomat. He had a red passport which he showed the agent . He vouched for me and the agent immediately waved me through the lineup. I felt relieved because I didn’t relish another trip back to Canada. I hugged and Tyler telling me to call him as soon as we were settled.

Nancy had gone to the Baggage counter and had arranged to have our trunks delivered to her mother’s house. We hadn’t discussed where we could stay but it sounded like great idea so we took our cellos and hand bags taking a cab to her home. It was a long ride and would dig into our meagre funds but necessary. Nancy said we could stay for a while and her father would be happy to see her. When we arrived at Nancy’s parents she knocked on the door with a big hearty smile on her face the greeting was not what we expected.

 

THIRTEEN

 

The door opened very slowly and the woman whom I guessed was Nancy’s mother stood in the doorway, placing her hand on her hip, glanced at us with a terrible scowl. Nancy attempted to greet her but was cut off by a flood of invectives any preamble she began yelling!

 

“And now you show up at my door”. She actually screamed at us.

“You little silly cow, I didn’t hear from you once, yes, not once in three years. No letters , no cards , zero not even a kiss my ass. Where is that German you married-the Nazi who made us pay for your expensive wedding? You girl are a good-for-nothing daughter that drained our pocketbook for lessons, never brought a shilling into the house, lived like the Queen and and ……..”

At this point she completely lost it, shouting obscenities. A man whom I was sure was Nancy’s father appeared and my friend by now was weeping like a baby went to try and hug him but he stepped back and waved her away.

He then added more biting words which I really can’t remember but enough for me to push Nancy away from the doorway and out into the street. Not satisfied with shouting at us, they followed out into the street hurling insulting words which drew several neighbors to open their doors or look out of windows. It was a scene of utter hell.

Luckily the cabbie that had dropped us off was still writing his ticket and I flagged him down. Nancy was able to stop her sobbing long enough to give the driver the address of her brother at 10 Harrogate Crescent.

 

We arrived at a very imposing house located in a tree lined street. I was hoping we would not get the same kind of reception but her brother’s wife answered the door . She immediately hugged Nancy , shook hands with me after the introductions welcoming us into the house where we were introduced, her name was Maureen She was very well spoken, and quite attractive, with long brunette hair. . Suddenly we were greeted by two darling little girls, who were told about their visitors. They kissed and hugged us, joyfully talking all at once until a woman in a neat blue outfit appeared named Ethel, who we were told was their nanny and she whisked them away. Maureen led us into a large very comfortable room, where she sat us down and rang a bell . A young woman in a servants garb of blue arrived momentarily, Maureen instructed her to bring tea. Maureen waited for Nancy to begin speaking, mentioning that her husband David would be home at dinner.

Nancy began speaking a very low rather muted voice. I cut in her and asked if she would speak up. She became more confident , as she told about the episode at her parent’s home. She nearly began to break down again but at that moment the tea arrived with some cakes . I was starved and scoffed down two small cakes and guzzled my tea. The story continued. We are really broke , I thought I could sponge off my parents she said.

I laughed along with Maureen as we found her confession quite humorous. Maureen answered very quickly by telling us you can sponge off of us till you get settled, we have lots of room. Both Nancy and I hugged her ,and frankly I nearly broke down myself.

 

After more discussion Maureen asked Nancy about her husband Herman as she had stood up for Nancy at her wedding three years previously.

From my standpoint it was extremely interesting because she had never spoken about her marriage to the man known as Herman the German.

I knew what he was like I guess , he was rather authoritarian she began . But his love of classical music was exceptional. He came to every concert in which I performed, spoke glowingly about my performances. I suppose I was overwhelmed by his adulation and we decided to marry him . A few weeks before the wedding he was transferred from the Embassy here in London to the consulate in New York. I was very excited to move to America. He told me there were lots of orchestras in New York and that he been to the United States in the late 19120s He told me there were lots of orchestras to play in New York . After we married we left by train to German to visit his parents in Ulm. We arrived by cab at his parent’s home which was on a street of small garden type residences. He introduced his parents . We all bowed. His father was dressed in a black dress uniform with a hat that had a deaths head badge on it denoting that he was Gestapo official . His wife was plain and they both bowed to me and Herman. I asked Herman how to address his parents and he said Papa and Mutter. The first thing his father said to Herman was in German he said Keine Schlafzimmer Lärm unter meinem Zimmer Herman. . We entered a spotless home that smelled of floor wax. His mother took our bags and our coats, His father continued his conversation with Herman in German , but finally spoke to me in perfect English, asking where I lived in London and which orchestras I had played . Eventually his mother joined us. She spoke fluent English and explained that she had lived in Britain as a girl at a school in Essex. Maureen spoke very little but after Nancy had taken a sip of tea she interjected:

“So no fucking in my house while you are visiting , Herman ”

We were astonished at her description of the events but we all laughed and Nancy continued her dissertation by saying yes that was about what his father imparted to Herman.. We hailed Hitler ten times during the dinner, with Herman leading the way with such a dramatic flair, it was amazing. His father spoke glowingly of having met their Fuehrer Adolph Hitler on one occasion in Mannheim at a flower show of all places. He said Hitler smiled at him!

 

Nancy continued-When the time came for us to go up to the bedroom above ,we bid them goodnight . We readied for bed with silly me expecting to have another dose of carnal knowledge in a soft feather bed when Herman grunted “not tonight Nancy”

We enjoyed her sexy humor and just at that time her brother David arrived rushing in to the room with a sweep of his arms clutching both Nancy and Maureen in his arms. . He was a very good looking man in his late thirties with a blonde mop of hair . He immediately left to go and see his children whom Maureen said he just adored.

When he returned he had come up with a solution to our problems. He began by mentioning that his parents had become ’bonkers“ or really nuts as he described them. He then said he would get out trunks sent to his house and that we were welcome to stay in the house while we searched for work. The extra bedrooms were located in the carriage house so we could have a level of privacy. The carriage house was located at the back of their house. Maureen said she would bring in some cleaners to have it made liveable. He then asked us very leading question. It was about our finances. I spoke up in this regard telling him we were down to the last bit of our money. He thought about it for a split second. I will finance your search for employment for at least three months, I think seventy-five quid per month should do. It will pay for cabs , and other transportation, also other necessities. Later I asked Nancy what her brother did for a living and she said “he is a vice president at British Ford in Essex.”  I was absolutely overjoyed at his proposal , we could relax for the time being. That night I called Tyler who was at a hotel temporarily, we arranged to meet after we had gotten settled.

 

 

We had breakfast the next morning with the family in the morning room. David left immediately after, giving Nancy 75 pounds, which she handed to me remarking “you are the book keeper Anna”

 

We both began a series of trips around the city by underground , to various places featured in the

To the delight of both Maureen and the children we both had practice sessions. They were very excited to be able to listen to our cellos . Maureen was very solicitous to us . We were very tired. At noon we headed up to have a nap . The trunks arrived while I was snoozing . Maureen arranged for them to be sent to them Carriage House. Nancy and I sat down just after tea time to discuss our situation. She was sure we could get work in London. She began to sound out some of her contacts by phone. Once again we had to face the prospect of a residency law established by the British Musicians.

 

Nancy and I both knew we would have to hustle around to find work in London. Nearly all of the orchestra personnel were unionized. We knew that it would take more than a six month residency before we were eligible for employment. Our only chance would be to search for club jobs.

We both began a series of trips around the city by underground and bus , to various places that featured entertainment. Christmas came and went and every day we returned to our carriage home frustrated by the events. Britain was just awakening from the effects of the depression. We tried to make our money last each week but it was becoming more difficult. The weather in the early months of 1938 turned nasty with heavy rain every day. We just couldn’t look our best. By the time of late winter we were still without employment or even a chance in the future.

 

Nancy took a shot at getting position with an orchestra in Brighton hoping to at least get some limited services with residential orchestra. Through a musical employment service she obtained an interview with a non-union variety show that travelled around Britain playing in music halls. There were generally between six and ten acts in a show, usually beginning with a dance routine followed by a comedian and ending with the most famous act. The pit orchestra was very small as was the salary, but accommodation and transportation was supplied. We discussed the job and both Maureen and I told her to take the job . Her brother agreed with the proviso that she should come home if she is in any way abused. I was invited to stay in the carriage house as long as I needed but the money was cut considerably. I did express my desire to try for another type of employment in the event I was stymied in obtaining work as a cellist.

 

 

Fourteen

 

Anna became very fatigued after this session. I returned to my Hotel and put a call through to Perkey in St Louis. I went through the tape and discussed with him his observation that the man named Tyler Brent had been a spy or even worse a traitor He went silent for a minute and then told me to stick with it until she had spilled out the whole episode, saying this is plenty more than a human interest this could be a cover story. See if you can find anything in the Detroit Free Press morgue and archives.

 

I cabbed over to the Free Press early the next morning and after a few minutes yakking with the editor Herbie Feather who asked a lot of questions about how the story was moving. I explained that he would get the information shortly but that I needed to do a search of both the morgue and archives. We took the elevator down to the basement of the building where he introduced me to a young woman who was the archivist. She seemed to know everything  I  was looking for and also asked if  wanted to have look at the microfiche papers on the Recordek.I searched the vertical cutting files finding a treasure trove of materials but it would take me hours so I jotted down a few facts and scurried away to Anna’s place.

 

She seemed refreshed from a good night’s sleep we had a small breakfast that she prepared carrying on with her narrative. It was my 8th tape.

“My lucked changed a few weeks following Nancy’s departure on an auto -bus for points north in Britain “she said.

Maureen spotted an advert in the London Telegraphs for non-union orchestra musicians. I immediately called for an interview and audition, I was questioned when I got through by a woman who asked about my instrument and experience, she asked if I was an American and then told me to come at 10:00am two days hence.

After I played for him in the studio he asked me some questions put a manuscript Cello part in front of me, I played it instantly and I was hired within seconds. The man smelled of stale beer but he knew his business . I later learned he was an American from Chicago n in film noir named Maurice Epstein from Chicago who had been a music movie orchestra conductor in Britain for years where he worked mostly in.

The job payed well for the actual work, I would be working in a 16 piece ensemble. It was quite simple we rehearsed and recorded music synchronized with the film. The orchestra was a diverse group. The players included a black saxophone reed man from New York , Russian violinists and a trumpet player from Detroit. It was simple work .

 

I called Tyler at his hotel but discovered that he had moved into his apartment on Glouster Court. I finally spoke to him at the Embassy and we met a few days later at the Russian Tea room. A Russian expatriate owned the place . When I arrived he wrapped his arms around me passionately rubbing his hands all over me. It was exhilarating. We hadn’t seen each other for two months and I knew that he was really in heat. He introduced me around the table but within a few minutes we left for his apartment where we consummated our reunion.

 

The job proved to be fantastic. The string section looked to me for leadership because of my experience. Many of the players were recent college graduates so they needed guidance. Moe as he was called began to rely on my and before I knew it I was given a raise . I went to Tyler’s apartment often as well as numerous Embassy parties . We also attended other cocktail parties in other London Embassies.

 

After a few months Tyler received a very large payment to cover his move to Britain , He invited me to go to a fabulous high spot restaurant called Rules . I visited a dress shop and tried on several outfits finally selecting a black evening dress which was a new ankle length style. I also had my hair done in a girlish style. Tyler picked me with a cab, it was really romantic. It was absolutely a stunning place with waiters running around, providing service for every conceivable part of the dinner. It was a most elegant dining I had ever had in my life. The prices were inconceivable for the times but Tyler had a fist full of pounds.

 

We were just finished our desert when a couple whom I had spied earlier across the room came to our table. Tyler introduced them as Duncan and Isabella Lee. Later Tyler mentioned that Lee was reportedly a descendant of Confederate General . Robert E. Lee. We drank coffee and I listened as they discussed the Munich crisis which Tyler kept referring to as Britain’s folly. They spoke about the need for the United States to stay out of any future conflict, but Tyler referred to President Roosevelt as a war- monger. The Duncan’s agreed. I excused myself to go to the WC , and Isabella followed me. We spoke of the restaurant as we sat in the stalls. After, she mentioned that her husband was in London at Cambridge on a Rhodes scholarship. When we rejoined the table, both men were in the midst of a very confidential conversation. When head waiter presented the dinner tab , Duncan took hold of it and placed several bob in the bill folder. Tyler barely smiled but they shook hands afterward and he kissed Duncan’s wife.

I was astonished a by their generosity giving them my profuse thanks but they shook it off. I could only assume that they were wealthy beyond belief.

 

As the weeks spread into summer the news of a coming war was heard every day. Tyler and I attended several dinners and parties at the Embassies , where the talk centered around various different war scenarios. Major government buildings in London were being sandbagged and we were required by the beginning of August to obtain a gas mask. Signs were being erected to head off to underground stations in case of bombing. Throughout Tyler remained calm and very gentle. Our liaisons were becoming very intense. On a number of occasions I stayed over at his apartment where we thrived on numerous episodes of promiscuous sex.He was insatiable in his desire. Our only respite was when my monthly announced itself.

 

The film orchestra was really working hard. We were doing a number of propaganda and training films for the war office and Moe decided to fill the orchestra out with a few more musicians. Just at that time Nancy came home from her six month junket across Britain . She was really washed out her hair was a mess and she was drinking heavily and it was hard liquor. David was livid with her and Maureen told her to stay away from the children. She said she had had several partners which translated to me as lovers. I talked Moe into taking another Cello for the ensemble and got Nancy cleaned up as well as telling her to quit drinking or else. I had been paying rent to David for the carriage house and mentioned to Nancy that she would be required to pay at least half. The living conditions were to take a drastic change when Tyler asked me to move in with him. It happened one Saturday afternoon in mid-summer while we lazed after a very heated session. He lay back on his pillow with in a kind of stupor but still with an immense erection. I lay near him on my side while he continuously rubbed his hand over my bare behind. This caused him without fail to become aroused. His voice was quite hoarse when he asked me if I would like to move in with him. I was taken aback but it sounded very promising. He mentioned that we could share the rent for the flat and other expenses while we both could save money.

 

I questioned him if this was a proposal of marriage he responded by telling me that it was not possible. I was astonished and began to question him about his reasoning, but I have to admit that the idea of moving in with him was something I had thought about. I asked him several questions but he still avoided the reasons for his denial of becoming man and wife. It dawned on me through the conversation that he was already married. He flinched revealing that he was but did not live with his wife. It was a letdown for me but you have to understand my state of mind. I was not very strong emotionally. I was for the most part outside of music very insecure. The offer, despite the drawbacks made me think of possibilities. I enjoyed the life style and I needed a regular dose of sex.

We talked for several hours discussing the way we could accomplish the change to our lives. At the end we had a wild fun screw.

 

Nancy was very disappointed when I moved but she at least had a job where I saw her every day. The arrangement with Tyler was I found very simple especially in the first few months which was well into the fall of 1938. The storm clouds of war were brewing and Tyler was very often late in returning home. Moe asked me to become the assistant leader of the orchestra with a very big raise. I was already acquainted with the method of timing for the music which the scores were produced. Before long Moe did not even show up which gave me an opportunity to develop my conducting skills. Saturday and Sunday were always free. We went to the Russian Tea room on several occasions on the weekends.

 

Tyler had a number of friends, many of whom were members of a secret society called the Right Club. Most of the persons he knew met at the tea room, to discuss world affairs. I was not aware of their devious characteristics although until much later one man did confront me which I remember as a racist attack. The conversation was mostly about Jews. The man who spoke the most and led the conversation was most vocal about Adolph Hitler that he was going to “rid the world of these vermin.” Others joined in but the man continued to speak in glowing terms of the Nazi method of gathering up the Jews and putting them in concentration camps. I contained my anger for as long as I could and then brazenly spoke out saying. ‘Jewish musicians are among the finest worldwide I could hardly catch my breath continuing that Britain has numerous Jewish performers as well in the United States where they are leaders in music , science and literature’. I could see that I had unnerved both Tyler and the man known as Captain Archibald Ramsey. His looked like there was a terrible smell in the room almost made me laugh. He then proceeded to shout out asking if I were a Jew. I laughed making the entire group laugh for some reason. I responded by saying ’I wouldn’t be making too many anti-Semitic remarks in public, people have been known to disappear in London for those kind of remarks. By now he was apoplectic for some reason the entire tea room was in a frenzy of laughter, but Tyler intervened and took hold of my arm and directed me out toward the doorway. I shook my finger at him as his eyes bore into me, and I said“ if I were you I would watch my step”. At that he came tearing across the room but he was stopped by a burly man in a Russian style outfit which I presumed was the owner. It was my life’s greatest moment. Most of all I just don’t know to this day where I had the unmitigated gall to utter such a bitter reproach to the guy.

 

Tyler of course was absolutely furious but did not say anything to me as we took a bus from the Tea Room in Kensington to his apartment. I knew I was going to get an earful or even worse when we arrived but he took of his coat and poured himself a stiff drink. I sat down on the divan waiting for his verbal attack, but for a long time he said nothing. I could not wait any longer; I spoke very softly asking him if he wanted me to move out. He murmured a no. I asked him he wanted to hit me in some way. He did not answer. “I suppose I need a spanking” I said raising up my dress and pulling down my panties.

 

“Oh for God’s sake Anna stop being so bloody childish” he said

He then began to chide me for being a fool and speaking about matters for which I had no knowledge. Those people are my friends; does that not mean anything to you?

I had to give him his due, he was very controlled. He took another drink, and slowly walked over until he sat next to me. Eventually I just listened as he droned on hardly hearing anything he said. I stayed sleepily rooted to my spot until he was finished. Much of what he said was really meant nothing to me except when he mentioned how he in some way he had anti-Semitic tendencies and believed that all wars were inspired ,fermented and promoted by the great international and banking combines which were largely controlled by the Jews. Even though I was not politically inclined I could see that there was more to his life than met the eye.

 

FIFTEEN

 

I recognized we were getting near the end of the story. It was becoming more and more alarming as she spoke. Anna became extremely tired so I left for the day and contacted Perky in St Louis and rushed over to the Detroit Free Press to file some of the copy . Fortunately Feather was in his office . He said he was not familiar with an American named Brent who was involved with spies I asked him to see if he could dig up some inside information from the London Press Corps. He said that the thought had crossed his mind that we should have some background on her story and a sidecar. He suggested that he would fire off a telegram to the London Times asking if they could send a histrionic from their vault.

 

When I arrived at Anna’s place she was asleep and I went to a coffee shop nearby to read the newspaper and wait. With a few minutes she herself appeared somehow realizing I had gone for coffee. It was nearly lunch time so we had lunch in a restaurant across from her apartment.

She began again as soon as we arrived.

“Our life continued as before, but although I did continue to attend the Russian Tea room I was barred from the main table sitting with two or three others who were satellites, to the group. At that time I met two woman, both of whom were members of the Right Club. The mainstay who had access to both tables was Joan Miller and a man named Gordon Lonsdale who spoke English with a decidedly Russian accent. I have found out since meeting him that he was a spy. I also met another woman who along with Joan was a member of the Right Club. Her name was Marjorie Mackie.

The main table often asked them to sit with them and I sat alone. It became boring and I would leave with Tyler coming home much later. By now I had become the full time assistant to Moe at the studio and we were turning out almost a full score daily. I was working quite long hours but it was an exciting job. I enjoyed the responsibility of rehearsing and providing solid musical backgrounds for the training films.

 

By mid-1939 we knew that war was imminent, every day there were indications that Britain was being put on a war time footing. With Tyler’s knowledge I made an appointment at the US Embassy and met with an official in the overseas station office who handled Americans living abroad. He was very rude saying I should return home as soon as possible and offered absolutely no assistance. When I was leaving I met a girl whom I had met a few times at Embassy functions . She took me to her office and gave me a low down on what we should do in case of war. She explained that Americans were neutral but that in the case of bombing and attacks we were on our own. It was not encouraging. I was also advised to leave but to make my way home through Spain as it was safer.

 

I went to see Nancy’s brother David to sound him out , he was also of the opinion that I should arrange to leave Britain. Finally Maurice Epstein from the studio and I met two or three times to hash over our recourse. I would never get a position in America like I held at that time. Some of Americans in the orchestra left, and I was now faced with auditioning new musicians. There were several players particularly strings who were getting their call up, and it was apparent that we needed to begin advertising for musicians. Right in the midst of all the turmoil I received word that my father had passed away in Philadelphia. We did not have anyone there to assist and I just was not able to return and so I contacted a few people in New York who looked after the funeral arrangements. I was saddened of course , he was still a young man but although I had kept in touch he never complained but I discovered he had a heart condition through heavy smoking. A lawyer in New York handled all of the financial affairs, but I was totally astounded that had just enough to be buried and to pay his taxes. I got a cheque for 500.00 which with all the fees was all that was left. Three weeks after his passing a large box arrived with his two prized violins and the address of my mother and also a half -brother of which I knew nothing they lived in Baden near the Swiss and French border.

FOELLR HERE GRAMSP

 

My suspicions were really aroused about Tyler when I came home one day and found Anna Wolskoff with Tyler, they were sitting in the living room discussing some documents. I made my way quickly to the bathroom and unbelievably I started sobbing like a child. They hardly paid any attention to me. A week or so later that Captain Ramsey was also there and the three of them were deeply engrossed in other papers which were piled on the coffee table. I stepped out and headed to a wine bar nearby. When I returned Tyler was very blasé about the whole thing. He said it was unimportant. He tried to illustrate that the situation of just friends meeting he laughed it off like somehow it didn’t matter and we had delicious intercourse on the floor of the Livingroom.

The next occasion that I joined Tyler at the Russian Tea Room, I sat alone at my usual table while Tyler met with his secretive friends. Near the end of the evening Joan Miller sauntered over and she pointed to the Toilets which were at the back of the room. We walked together, but when we walked through a door which led to the facilities she took hold of my arm and directed me to an alcove and held her finger over her lips to indicate that we should speak in whispers.

 

She told me without disclosing her source that I was among vipers and that very soon there would be serious consequences . I began to ask why, when she shook her head very sharply and I shut up. Within a few days the conundrum began to unravel. I came home from work only to find that Anna Wolkoff, Captain Ramsey and short bald headed poorly dressed man discussing what appeared to be messages that Tyler had taken from a suitcase he had taken from the back bedroom. I headed immediately to the toilet. They spoke in very low and mysterious voices. I slipped out just as they finished their discussion and I noticed that Anna Wolkoff had taken a very large bundle of documents . They were all smoking very nervously. Within moments they left with Tyler following them and with a backward comment he warned me to remain in the apartment. I waited a few minutes and then called Joan Miller who told me to leave immediately and take some overnight belongings she advised me to wait near the building and she would pick me up.. I raced around grabbing some cosmetics and personal items along with a change of clothing. I ran down the stairs of the building not waiting for the elevator. When I arrived out on the street I waited by the entrance. The minutes rolled by and felt like hours , I felt sick and my bowels were in an uproar. It was very misty out but I saw lights approaching and thinking it was Joan I bent down to pick up my overnight bag, luckily for me I realized it was a black Daimler forcing me to back into the pathway at the side of the apartment which was used as a building maintenance entrance. I began to shake hoping that I wasn’t seen. They stopped in front where they spoke for a few moments. I heard the door slam on the car and glancing out I realized the luxury auto was pulling away. Within moments Joan arrived. I ran like a scared child and jumped into her Ford throwing my bag into the back seat. As she drove away I broke into a crying fit which she finally told me to stop, that I was safe. Not completely safe as I found out.

 

Sixteen

 

Joan drove for several blocks until we reached Coldstream Green, there were several large small cottages, surrounded by a mesh fence. The light of day was fading and we were enclosed in night. We reached an entrance guarded by three very husky men dressed in military battle dress and armed with what I perceived as automatic machine guns. They were very rude, but Joan had her identification out and spoke up immediately for me. One of the men went to a guard house and returned quickly waving us into a lighted enclosure.

Two men suddenly appeared and opening the door took hold of my arm and the bag I had retrieved from the back seat. When we reached the door, Joan joined us and took my bag. She also led me to the toilet and waited in the room as I was desperate to defecate. After relieving myself I was ushered into a well-lighted room with easy chairs where I was greeted by Joan and two men, one of whom introduced himself as Knight, other man remained mute. Joan brought me cup of tea and some biscuits.

The questioning began on a very quiet note, asking about my life and when I had arrived in Britain. We spoke for several hours until I became very groggy. I was able to contact Maurice Epstein that I would be away the next day and he was okay with that. I was given a hot dinner which I found really quite good. I was led afterward to the bed room and immediately fell asleep. I awoke but couldn’t open my eyes and I could hear birds twittering. I fell back to sleep, only to be awakened by Joan who stood by as got dressed and we talked about what a nice day it was.

I was given a full British breakfast and the discussions began again , this time a man who introduced himself only as Kell did the talking. He was quite abrupt in his questioning, but I answered quickly and without hesitation. He asked if I was able to given a statement regarding my association with Tyler from the beginning and sign it. I was also told I would have to appear in court during a trial later in the year.

At the end of his examination I was advised that I would have to return to the apartment, to normalize my affair with Tyler. I objected strongly that I would be in danger but Joan interjected that the apartment was under twenty-four hour surveillance . I wasn’t convinced until I was well advised to go back or face immediate prison for obstruction if I did not

adhere to their direction.

The next day I was driven to a place three blocks from the apartment and I walked back, arriving just as Tyler returned home. He was very annoyed and berated me regarding my absence and asking numerous times where I had gone. I answered that I was at Nancy’s place. late r I arranged to go to the studio the next day. Tyler asked if I wanted to join him to go to the Russian Tea Room . I responded negatively and he stormed out slamming the door.

Tyler came home very late. He was extremely drunk . Banging around in the dark he knocked over a table and lamp and slovenly uttered several oaths. I don’t mind saying that I was scared as hell. He reached over for me but I moved away but instantly he was on me, but before he was able to begin to enter me he fell away into a deep sleep. I spent the rest of the night with a blanket out on the living room coach and at dawn I dressed and left for work.

I made a point of eating my lunch and dinner at a lunch counter in a nearby department store. When I arrived at the apartment the lights were out and I entered as silently as I could but I could hear the sounds of cries of sexual delight coming from the bedroom. I quietly and I guess timidly walked out of the door , heading out to the street. I was really angry by the time I walked in the rain for a while until I found an East Indian restaurant I ordered an English Grill and took my time to eat. When I finished I looked fora phone box and called Joan who surprisingly answered on the first ring.

I used very plain language when I said to her “ Tyler is fucking Anna Wolskoff in our bed and I am sick of this whole charade” .

She replied that I needed to hang on for a few more weeks.

 

I didn’t like it but I had to keep my part of the bargain. The month of April 1940 rolled by and I was very busy at the studio. Tyler was self-absorbed but every now and then took me for dinner and of course I had to perform in bed, which at times was I suppose not too onerous.

 

The entire episode in my life ended suddenly and not without a violent confrontation by Tyler.

 

SEVENTEEN

 

On the morning of May 20th, 1940 I awoke to the sound of heavy knocking on the front door. I was up instantly, as I heard the voices of men shouting “police open the door up immediately” As usual I was nude and I took hold of my robe to cover up. The banging continued and I shook Tyler, he was also naked, he did not seem to hear the commotion, and in a minute of the banging the door was forced open. Tyler jumped out of the bed on their sudden entry into our apartment and the smashing in of the door. He took hold of his robe and covered himself but became quite agitated, by pushing at the men, and shouting for them to get out of the apartment.

“ I am an American diplomat and I have diplomatic immunity , you must leave, while this matter is sorted out with the Ambassador” he shouted

Momentarily the man whom I knew as Knight entered from the hallway.

“Mr. Brent your status has been waived by US Ambassador Kennedy and you are under arrest for activities prejudicial to the interests of the state which will be presented later, and includes seven charges”.

I was told to get dressed and that I was going to be held as a material witness.

Tyler began his prisoner kicking and to shout and push the Bobbies as they attempted to place him in handcuffs he kept shouting I am an American. He tried to drag out the affray without success, a very burly Scotland yard took hold of him and frog marched him out of the apartment with a hold on his arms and despite that Tyler was kicking and screaming. The hallway was filled with tenants as he was dragged bodily down the stairs while I stood watching, I found the whole scene comedic. I suppose the relief of seeing him being dragged away made me just burst into unbridled laughter.

Joan appeared and spoke to the police officer who let go of my arm. She then directed me to gather up my clothing while I was watched by a plain clothed policeman. I also had a practice cello which he examined. I was ready within a few minutes and drove away from the apartment to a location in East London. It was a hotel for women called the Venus apartments.

I was told that I would be kept under guard until the trial which would be some months away. I could still go to work but I was kept under close surveillance. It really became a strain being followed but after a while they stayed at a distance, allowing to take my meals in peace. My room in the hotel was tiny affair with a small bed, a table for writing and a rack for hanging my clothes. There was a dresser with three drawers but aside from that nothing else. I ate breakfast each morning at a long table where several women of all ages were seated. There were two waitresses, one was called Blinker and the other Grumpy. Joan came often in the evenings to take me out to Soho where we had a drink.

In June the Battle of Britain began, I am unable to go into the drama created by the Nazis but it was very frightening. The bombing did not begin until later but it was harrowing.

My orchestra continued to be depleted and this situation caused me to hire people who were inexperienced, although some retired orchestral players were great to have. Moe Epstein had several movie projects while I carried on with the military training films. He never questioned me about Tyler because he was unaware that I was a material witness.. He was busy with several movie projects , particularly with the Hitchcock movies where he was the music director. In July I took two weeks off, as we were not scheduled for any of the shoots. Nancy and I went inland to the her cousin’s cottage near Manchester, food was really hard to come by as rationing had taken over. We made do with sandwiches. We lolled around in the sun and played card games . We took long walks and were able to relax. The MI5 watchers were nearby always , in their 1937 Ford roadster. We came back to London well rested after our short vacation and Nancy and I went back to work. On September 7th the Germans began bombing London and 13,000 people were killed in the first week. I was frightened out my wits . We had gas masks and had to run to the Bomb Shelters every night when the sirens began shrieking.

The studio was moved to a basement storage facility.

The trial date was set for October 25th at the Old Bailey. I was handed a summons to appear in mid-September. I was not charged for my room or meals at the Hotel and I really had a goodly sum in the bank but I also wanted to leave Britain after the trial. Travel restrictions were in effect, because of the fact that the German U boats were attacking shipping in the Atlantic.

 

The day was beginning to ebb and I could see that Anna was reaching a point of exhaustion. I told her that the next day we had to complete the story because I had a by-line date.

She agreed and I returned to my Hotel. There were two messages waiting for me, one from the Free Press and the other from Perkey with an order to call as soon as possible.

He advised me in no uncertain terms that the interview must end the following day, I booked a late train leaving Detroit on the Michigan Central at 8:40 and called the Free Press He said that the transcript of Brent’s trial or at least the portion in which Anna appeared was in his office.

It was too late, to pick it up that night but he said he would get a junior editor to bring it to the front desk of the hotel.

It was an interesting court case but the cold hard facts displayed in the questioning told me a great deal about the character of the woman I had been interviewing for the past 7 days.

I decided to add it exactly as it was entered into the trial evidence.

 

 

 

“The transcript of the Trial of Tyler Brent and Anna Wolkoff at OLD BAILEY 25 Oct 1940 This transcript filed under Official Secrets Act Oct 23rd 1940. Opened for public Disclosure on October 23rd 1960.

 

Judge Sir Frederick Tucker

 

Prosecutor Sir William Jowett

 

Defence Mr. William Cleary

 

prosecutor: Please give your name place of residence and nationality

 

Anna: I am Anna Melotti - I live with my friend at 21 Devonshire close , I was born in Milan Italy and hold American Citizenship. I am the co-conductor and Cellist with the Royal Film Company orchestra.

 

prosecutor: When and where did you first meet Tyler Brent?

 

Anna: We met on board the Liner Queen Mary where we were passengers from November 29th to Dec 6th 1936

 

prosecutor.: Explain your association with Mr. Brent.

 

Anna: We became good friends after our first meeting and later we were to become intimate. I began to search for work as a cellist in London and in early 1937 we met again several times and finding we had similar interests we made a decision to move in together and share the costs of Mr. Brent’s apartment on Gloucester Place.

 

persecutor: When you say similar interests to what are you referring.

 

Anna: We both enjoyed having sexual intercourse.

 

COURTROOM LAUGHTER

 

:Judge Tucker: I don’t believe there is anything to be gained to continue with this line of questioning Sir William.

 

Prosecutor : I had no intention of doing so My Lord I was attempting to find out if the witness had an inclination towards politics or was of the same mind as the accused.

 

prosecutor: What other interests did you have MS Mellati

 

Anna Oh the usual after work and weekend entertainment-theatre, the cinema, dancing, visiting galleries, talk sessions at a tea room.

 

persecutor Tell the jury about the tea room you refer to.

 

Anna Yes I …. well we …. attended a tea room in Kensington called the Russian Tea Room. In the beginning I sat with a group of men and women at a long table where a conversation was held and led by a man named Captain Archibald Ramsey. He spoke often about Jewish People calling them vermin. On one occasion I had had enough and berated him where he almost made an attack upon me but was stopped by a man in a Russian style costume, I understand he was the owner Nicolai Wolkoff. I was never asked to sit at the table again but did meet several other people who were friends of Tyler’s. A man named Gordon Lonsdale who spoke English with a very thick Russian accent sat with us quite often . I spent most of my time at the Tea Room in the company of two women one of whom met me one day after work. Her name was Joan Miller. She and I had tea together on a few occasions after the first meeting in a restaurant located in the west end near my employment. The other woman was the owner’s daughter Ann Wolkoff.

 

persecutor: What was the gist of the conversation with Joan Miller.

 

Anna She told me that I was on very dangerous ground with the group in the tea room and that Taylor was strongly ani-Communist and pro-fascist in his outlook . I knew from Tyler’s conversations that he was very concerned about that the American government wanted to join the war against Germany. I can see her in this courtroom so I assume that she was an agent for the British Secret Service.

 

Defence Attorney: My Lord I rise to have that information by the witness stricken from the record and she be cautioned not to make any declarations about attendees in this trial as it is being held in camera.

 

Judge Tucker: Thank you Mr. Healy I will allow the witness statement regarding Miss Joan Miller.

 

Prosecutor : Is there anyone else that you are acquainted with besides the woman you have identified?

 

Anna: The man sitting third row on the aisle was known on the Queen Mary as Mr. Brown and sat with his wife at our table.

 

Judge Tucker: Will you stand sir and give your name and your affiliation and reason for being present.

 

Man: Your Honour I am Howard L Greenleaf a special agent of the US Secret service I am here acting on behalf of the US State Department .

 

prosecutor:(Turning back to the witness) Now tell us what happened after your meeting with Miss Miller

 

 

Anna: I became quite frightened but agreed to help since I found out I could be immediately be detained and sent back to America I agreed to help, by giving information on Mr. Brent’s activities.

 

prosecutor: Explain what you mean by activities

 

Anna: Anna Wolkoff visited the apartment on numerous occasions, she used the Woodstock typewriter owned by Mr. Brent, and I also learned that she was sleeping with him when I was at work. On one occasion when I was at home I pretended to go into the washroom and he gave her several documents from a suitcase he had hidden in a back closet. He often spoke secretly to her when we were at the tea room. She drank quite heavily and she once said to me that we were sharing Tyler. Early this year I came home to find Miss Wolkoff , and Captain Ramsey in the apartment examining papers which I could see were flimsies. I Learned Tyler Brent was a cypher clerk at the US Embassy and he had some kind of messages in his possession. That was in February of this year. He (Brent) advised me to stay in the apartment and they left. I immediately called Joan Miller and she said for me to leave as fast as I could. I did so with a few personal items . I ran out on the street hoping to get a taxi but there were none around. Tyler arrived in a black Rover car and I hid across the street. He entered his apartment building and within seconds Miss Miller arrived and I got into her vehicle and was driven to what they called a safe house.

 

prosecutor: What happened at the safe house

 

Anna: I was questioned at some length by a man from the Special Branch named Knight, I then made a statement about all of which I have described today.

 

persecutor: Is this the statement you signed.

 

Anna (After Viewing) yes

 

prosecutor I have no further questions My Lord

 

Judge Tucker ; Mr. Cleary do you wish to question this witness

 

Defence: Yes if it please My Lord

 

Defence directed to Anna What happened after you went to the safe house

.

Anna I was advised to return to the apartment so that Brent would not be suspicious I was naturally frightened but did as I was told and returned after a night away. Tyler asked me a number of questions but I said that to tell him that I had spent the night with my friend Nancy.

 

Defence Now Miss Melloti you said in your witness statement that you were not aware of Mr. Brent’s duplicity in conjunction with Captain Ramsey and Miss Wolkoff

, is that true?

 

Anna: I had no knowledge of Tyler’s activities. In fact until they came banging at the door on May 20th I did not even know what he did at the US Embassy. My contact Miss Miller told me that the situation was very dangerous , but to report only what I had seen, and heard without doing anything to arouse their suspicion.

 

  Defence Come now Miss Melloti how could you be living under the same roof without knowing that Mr. Brent was involved in some form of alleged treachery without learning the details. Are you sure you yourself were not involved. After all you are an Italian and we are at war with Italy and we know that Miss Wolkoff passed secrets to the Italian Embassy prior to the declaration of war by Italy. You admitted to this court that you undertook to assist the Special Branch to save yourself from this debacle and go to prison

 

Anna: I was born in Italy in 1898 and came to Canada in 1913, I have never been back, I have no contact with Italy other than to play music by Italian composers, I am now an American citizen and have been since 1918 , and I have a legal working permit for Britain good until 1945. For you to intimate that I was involved in this scheme is both wrong and just a fanciful trick on your part to have me immersed in this plot, which is just your way of trying to save Mr. Brent’s ass.

 

COURTROOM LAUGHTER

 

Judge Tucker: Will you move on Mr. Cleary, the witness has answered your questions very well may I add.

 

Defence: I have no more questions

 

Judge Tucker: The witness is excused.

wore a collar pin under his tie ,

I went to Anna’s apartment the next day and she was up bright and early. I broke the news that this was to be our last day. She was slightly miffed and then began to relate to me the bitter sweet ending to her life story.

 

Eighteen

 

She began “The trial went ahead as scheduled. Tyler looked terrible. He had been in lock-up for five months and his appearance was dreadful. He was in the dock in his prison garb, although I did remember that he had numerous suits, but I realized he had lost considerable weight. The court room was filled with Scotland yard and MI5 people. Also the man whom I described to you as Mr. Brown who turned out to be an America G man who had been following Tyler and I from the states. I was not privy to his testimony or if he was called”.

At this point Anna glanced at my copy of her witness transcript and she had a real good laugh remarking that she found the whole episode quite hilarious. I urged her to carry on with her as we were short of time. She breathed in angrily and began to cough, I ran to the kitchen and got her a glass of water following which she carried on recounting her life after Tyler.

 

Tyler was found guilty and got seven years in a British Prison. I was summarily kicked out of Venus apartments two days after his trial ended. He did not ask to see me and for that I was extremely grateful. I got a tiny flat with Joan’s help but I was in fear of the bombing , and moved out when the buildings close by were hit. The blitz was severe and no place really was safe. Nancy and her brother came to my rescue, I moved into a basement apartment in Hampstead right near the Decca recording studios. I felt like I was in a cave most of the time but there was shelter close by in the Green underground Station. I was able to continue working but the musicians were very much afraid of day time raids, however the Germans were getting a licking in the skies over Britain.

I started eating my meals every day at Charters , an artist and musician’s lunch and dinner cabaret. The meals were reasonable but the food was very skimpy, with lots of soup filled with indiscernible vegetables. I usually never had to wait but as the war progressed more service people found their way to the cabaret. I was always seated alone but on one occasion I was asked to sit with two military officers.

They proved to be very nice company. The food was really awful but at least the men were quite talkative. I introduced myself and I found out through conversation that they had an elite standing but really not much more. I guessed that they were in their mid-twenties and I became instantly attracted to one of them. He was very well dressed with an immaculate uniform and he wore a collar pin under his tie. He was a Captain and spoke with a British public school high class accent. The man gave his name as Jonathan Winters but he said people called him Jon-Win. He did most of the talking but often stopped to ask about my work. Both were very agreeable dinner companions. When we were finished our meal the junior officer adjourned to the W.C . Jon-Win leaned over to me and asked if I would join him the next day for a drink at Duke of York Pub in the late afternoon. I agreed and returned home to my flat.

 

The relationship began from there. I realized because of the war it was going to be for a limited time and after a few meetings I made up my mind to sleep with him, although he just seemed to enjoy being with me. He came to my film studio on one occasion just around Christmas 1940. He was amazed and delighted and praised my work no end. We often sat in a cinema and hugged and kissed but he did not touch my body sexually or fondle me. I was invited for the Christmas holiday to his family home located in Bristol ,for which we were able to take a train. Jon-Win’s father a very distinguished man greeted us and warmly took my hand. The car was a Rolls Royce which Jon drove . The house was on a hill overlooking the town. Jon-Win introduced his mother and the family . He had two sisters both of them were very attractive and had boy friends who were in the armed forces. His brother was a teenager who seemed to want to be older so he could join the Navy. His mother was very polite but seemed to know that I was much older than Jon-Win. She asked me a lot of questions as did the sisters. Jon-Win laughed and told them to stop interrogating me, he said that was his job. The Christmas dinner was scrumptious . Later we sat around while I led them in song from the piano which no one- had ever played. I drank a little wine and began to feel really good. They all exchanged gifts and were going to open them the next morning which was their custom. They all lauded my musicianship, which really was just mediocre. Jon-Win was just overjoyed , he kept kissing me and somehow I felt a real love affair brewing . He was really a very nice man with a lovely family.

I arose early the next morning with Laura, Jon-Win’s younger sister in the bed next to me and dressed in a sweater and skirt ensemble. My room -mate rose right after me and watched as  I dressed and commented in her own words she said “gosh you sure have a round rump” . I laughed and told her it was my most redeeming attribute.

I went down to breakfast where the Lady of the house was already sipping her morning coffee. She was very astute and spoke quite deliberately about Jon’s early life and his desire to join the service. I recognized her protectionism , but alluded to fact a few times that we were just good friends thrown together through as unlikely dinner companions.

 

She responded by mentioning that Jon-Win was a sensitive man who was very inexperienced in his ability to deal with women. She went on to say that I was a woman of the world and despite the war I needed more than companionship. She appeared to be worried about our future. She said “ Anna you are a beautiful charming and gifted woman who is in your forties I expect whilst Jon is twenty-five”

I merely shook my head because she did have very solid argument. I thanked his mother for being -forthright without resorting to platitudes or warnings. In reality the relationship with Jon-Win presented for both of us unbelievable consequences.

 

 

Nineteen

 

After Christmas of 1940 Jon-Win was drafted to Scotland for an assignment. When he was to return in mid-February we decided to rendezvous at a little Inn in East Bourne. London was really being hit hard by the blitz. The American Embassy kept in touch we me and suggested that I head to Portugal and escape the bombing. There was no doubt it was extremely dangerous. Every day became a challenge and food especially was in short demand. David, Nancy’s brother suggested that I join them as they went to the midlands to escape the German devastation. Moe Epstein my boss at what was now called the Starlight branch of the Royal Film group was not well and I was fully in charge of the music division. I hired , fired musicians and rehearsed the orchestra as well as provide backgrounds for both training films and movies about the war. I had even filled in on cello with the London Philharmonic for some concerts at Albert hall.

Jon-Win and I met at the Paddington Station for a rail journey to East Bourne. He carried a small over-night bag and I had my travel case. We registered as man and wife at the place for which I shall never forget the name as it was called the “Love More Inn”

 

Jon-Win, I noticed was very nervous. We sat down on the bed kissing and holding each other until I said I will adjourn to the spiffy and change suggesting he do the same. I stripped off my clothes and wrapped a robe around to cover my nakedness. When I returned Jon was undressed to his underwear. I told him to get comfortable in the nude. He turned out the light and joined me in the bed.

 

Anna stopped her narration quite abruptly and I could see she was becoming emotionally drained, she weeped quietly for a few minutes, I was really beginning to know that she was in the rapturous part of her story and although time was not on our side I decided to allow her this, her final word.

 

She began again“ I discovered he was a neophyte lover . I had to teach and show him what to do. It was actually at times a real hoot as they say. All I can remember is that the guy was magnificently hung. I was astonished at his length and thickness , it was breathtaking. Once we actually began he came in a flash shooting out his load all over the bed. It was absolutely hilarious and we laughed as I cleaned it all up. He thought it was all over ,by rolling over and beginning to fall asleep. I shrieked at him and he began to rub my behind and was amazed that he was standing up again. This time after some minutes he entered me. I gasped with the power of his erection. He went deep causing every nerve ending in my body to become electrified. Jon began to move and thrust quite boldly , finally succumbing when with a final lunge brought me to a torrent of words, shouts and cries I had never uttered. But what was truly amazing is that he cried like a child for several minutes and had trouble withdrawing.

 

We lay in each others arms and spoke in tiny whispers. Eventually we fell asleep, only to wake a short while later and again reaching an apex of a delicious climax. I may only be able to describe the weekend as the most joyous of my life. Over and over we made love, with very short intervals for obtaining sustenance by having meals a small restaurant near the beach. We met often afterward in various hostelry’s for what had become magnificent coitus. On one occasion we went to his home for his mother’s birthday to their home and did it in his room, I was completely in love with him.

 

My job was beginning to dry up , we had a monthly schedule but it was very much reduced. Pathed had taken over the World News in the trailers shown in British Cinemas leaving Royal with limited shoots. The entire matter however became a back burner issue for me, one morning when I awoke with a sick stomach and threw up. It began to happen at very unusual times. I went to the chemist for some over the counter power. The counter girl retrieved the bottle for me, and looking at me said “are you preggers dear”

 

It just never occurred to me that I was able to have a child. I made arrangements to see a Doctor on Fleet Street . He confirmed that I was indeed pregnant and in the first trimester. The Doctor was very concerned because of my age . I was forty-three. He advised me to bed down as much as possible. Royal gave me leave of absence without pay but I took a few jobs as an extra with the Philharmonic. Jon-Win was away over the time I learned that I was going to have a baby. Nancy and Maureen invited me to stay with them and I let go the lease on my little flat. When Jon finally came home and learned the news , he was enthralled. He couldn’t do enough for me. He gave me money to buy whatever I needed. I received help from the Victoria Order Of Nurses as well as visits from a military Doctor serving at the United States Embassy.

 

On November 5th 1941, my darling daughter was born in the American Hospital on Barney lane in East London. It was a surprisingly easy delivery done by a Dr. Stein of the American Embassy Medical staff. She was 5 pounds 6ounces and Maureen said she was a doll. \ as more excited than I. We mulled over names one night after the birth with several recommend. WE called her Heather because that was Jon-Wins mother’s name. Nancy said that I would have made a great politician. I did call her and explain the situation . Unbelievably she came on next train to American hospital with her husband Royce. Her joy was unbounded, she held the child , cooing and doving . She kissed me and held me along with her husband. She was in seventh heaven over the fact that I had named her granddaughter after her. Frankly I can say now that Jon-Win suggested the name for me when I told him I was pregnant.

 

The next and last thing on my agenda was figure out what I must do if I planned to be a mother to the child. The people at American hospital remarked that children born out of wedlock were often turned over for adoption . That was however not an option. Nancy and Maureen had fixed up a nursery for me when I was released from the hospital. I tried to delay things hoping that Jon-Win would be back in the London soon. His mother came to Maureen’s place a few weeks after I had taken up residence with bad news , which I guess I rather expected. She had a war office letter telling her that Jon had been taken prisoner in the Battle of Crete. She had no further information.

 

Jon had been gone during the long hot summer . I did not know where he was because as I surmised he was involved in covert operations. Later I learned that he led 12 men of No. 62 Commando took part in Operation Dryad in September 1942, when they captured seven prisoners and located several German code books. Most of what I learned was after the war in 1945. His pay had been going to his mother but she forwarded it off to me for use of the baby.

 

 

…And now my dear friend this story will end and I will give you this letter which you may open after I am gone, which will be soon I am afraid. . This will explain some matters that I cannot speak of without becoming quite ill.

 

Anna handed me an envelope with my name printed on the front. She stood up and we hugged , and kissed, she cried slightly and before I knew it I was outside with about three hours to train time. I filed a shortened version of my story with Detroit Free Press and headed to the Michigan Central rail way station.

I returned to St Louis and filed a very dry rendition of Anna’s story which Perkey approved, it was published in the Sunday Edition. There was very little comment and I moved on to doing other projects.

 

Anna had made friends with a cellist in Windsor over in Canada across the river from Detroit named Celia Hardcastle. She called me the day after Anna passed away. I asked her who was making the funeral arrangements and she said someone special to Anna. I thanked her and went to my car where I kept her letter .It was a warm day for late winter and I searched out a bench in a park near the newspaper. I can only say that I wept for her because she was such a wonderful person who made very bad choices. Here is the letter , which I read and kept, even when I entered a Seniors home in 1995. It has yellowed now but when I can see okay I still read the contents. If I feel alone and unwell I reach for the letter , or read my notes from my visit with her. She will be with me until I go, The story for the most part was sad but still there is something very special about Anna.

 

 

My Dear Dennis

 

I will be gone by the time this letter is read . I know you will be wondering why I did not say this into your recording contraption . I do however appreciate you coming to see me and spending such quality time with me. In fact it was really the most wonderful episode in my rather sordid life. Thank you for sending the article which you did a marvellous job of editing out my incredible bad choices. It was Jon-Win who coined the phrase that I was “the Girl with the Beautiful Behind” It was his idea of a back handed compliment ..Like all you guys it seemed to be your entry into love land !!I think there must still be lots of the pictures of my ’beautiful backside“ out there in porno-land.

After I had Heather, I realized that motherhood was not something I wanted to undertake , I went to Grandmother Heather and told her outright. She acquiesced, and said she would bring up the child . Her husband Royce was not so forthcoming. He still held out hope that Jon-Win would return. My plan was to leave London as soon as possible. The war was heating up and despite having a few friends and a sometime job I just could not bear the thought of having to live in a rubble strewn place with night time vigils. I did wait until Heather was a year old.in November 1942 until I took her to “Grammy”. I must say that it was very awkward for me but sadly I admit I was relived. Maureen and Nancy were broken hearted and very angry with me.

 

I suppose I should have been condemned for my actions but why try and be someone I was not,- a mother. I began to search out a way to leave Britain. The only methods of travel were by ship which was extremely dangerous because of the scourge of the U-Boats and by air from the aerodrome at WhiteChurch near London. They were BOAC Douglas aircraft that ran to Lisbon across the Iberian peninsula. They began service in June 1943 but sadly one had been shot down shortly after inauguration. The British actor Leslie Howard was killed on a flight that was attacked by German fighters. , The news was all over British papers. I was now unemployed except for an odd call as an extra at the London Philharmonic. I did get some regular employment with a musical but the pay was very low. I had to be placed on a waiting list with an idea that I would have two weeks’ notice by the airline. I got rid of just about everything I owned including my practice Cello. I paid my plane fare which was very steep, but I was still able to keep some money aside for the plane fare from Spain or Portugal to North America.

 

In August of 1943 we learned that Jon-Win had been killed while attempting an escape from a German POW camp in Crete. I went into mourning along with his mother. No one is prepared for such a feeling of loss. I had always felt he would return and we meet after the war. His mother said the creed among prisoners was to escape from captivity. He was not successful and it was a loss that I could not really bear . I had held out hope that he would come back to me, but I also realized he would be scared by the war and his time in the POW camp.

 

Up to that point I had not heard anything from BOAC but late in 1943, I was advised that I was on standby. I packed up went to see the baby, made my goodbyes to Nancy and Maureen. The time went quickly and on Nov 25th , I flew out, with every nerve in my body on edge. I made it to Lisbon and immediately applied for an overseas flight to Halifax, Canada. It happened so fast I just couldn’t believe my luck. Within 2 days I was in the Airport in Halifax Nova Scotia . Eventually I trained back to Philadelphia and was able to obtain employment in the Mid-West in Kansas City and after that I went to St Louis and I met you. My story was not over however. In 1951 I was let go by the St Louis orchestra as you know and I had difficulty getting work anywhere. But as fortune would have it, Moe Epstein had returned to the United States and was working in the movie industry in Hollywood, he offered me a playing job in an orchestra at MGM . I took the train out, beginning work and living in a bachelor apartment in Silver City . It was not a good job, the instrumentation was often cut back and many days I did not work. I stayed there until 1953 when I saw a position being advertised for the Detroit Symphony . Money was short but I flew for an audition to the Motor City. I was in the mix of the last three players and I was hired. I flew home gave my notice and with some of my last money took a train from LA to Detroit.

I decided to stay in a B and B in Windsor for a few weeks until I got my first pay. I was going to start a few days after I arrived I was wandering around in downtown Windsor went into a Ladies store and someone was playing cello in the back . It was then I met Celia Hardcastle. She was not a very good player but when I told her about myself she immediately asked if she could study with me. I couldn’t refuse and our friendship grew. She took me in and gave me a place to live for a while until I got on my feet. The orchestra was quite good and I certainly got along with most of the players and the conductors. I was well paid, with a chance to teach which gave me a comfortable living.

In June 1962 I received a letter from my daughter Heather. I think she found out where I was living from Nancy. She was twenty years old and married and had a desire to meet with me.

 

I was surprised because after all I had made no effort in several years to see her. She said she and her husband could fly from Heathrow to Detroit directly now. I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation and of course my conscious bothered me, besides I really wondered what my progeny looked like after 20 years. I sat down and wrote a letter saying I

didn’t think that it was a good idea mainly because I was a rotten mother to her leaving her in the care of her grandmother. Further I exclaimed in my letter that my life had been one of very bad decisions including the picture which still haunted me . Possibly we should leave well enough alone as I said and she should send a few photographs.

 

I never did make contact with her, except a few photographs and two letters. I think you know the rest. I was really never a very good person. I had a wonderful talent to play music, I  had a terrible ability to make very bad decisions . Life is really I suppose about choices. So long Dennis, you were wonderfully kind to help me log my life. We will meet again .

 

’Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing;

Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;

So in the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,

Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence“.

 

I found out much later that Anna’s daughter Heather made the funeral arrangements, and finally met her mother , but in death. Thus ended the story. I constantly question my self was it a love story, a spy story or perhaps just the life of a disillusioned woman

 

 

 

 

:Authors note: Some of this story is based on fact- with names changed and times as well as locations. The court summary is pure fiction in what is called I suppose a writer’s license!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© Copyright 2020 Jack Kay. All rights reserved.

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