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Scene 95...Epilogue

WARNING
Spoiler Alert !!!
This is "The End"
Please read scenes 1-94 first.



EPILOGUE...Scene 95...Letter From Janet
Time: June 16, 1948
Place: Nice, France
Storyteller: Janet


Dear Paul,

I can't believe you missed the Monaco Grand Prix, all because of college. Nino won in a Maserati, per usual. The Prince kept staring at me again. Doris needs to see the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco. It's on a cliff above the sea.

Betty likes her job at the hospital. Also, she's taking Mediterranean cooking classes. By the looks of her, she's eating too much delicious food, or she's pregnant.

William will soon be joining the faculty of medicine at Aix-Marseille University. I wonder if they'll get an apartment? Can babies live on boats? Surprisingly, Dad didn't explode about Betty moving a hundred miles away. He's busy getting the vineyard perfect for Tony's visit. Mom continues to paint with the Big Shots.

Guess you heard I graduated. The folks gave me a Canon…

Scene 94

Scene Ninety-four...The Prince
Time: Afternoon, Sunday, July 20, 1947
Place: Grand Prix, Nice, France
Storyteller: Janet


"Now aren't you glad we flew, Dad? Let's see how close we can get to the Maserati," says Paul.

"William, keep an eye on the ladies. Paul and I will be gone a few minutes."

Betty and Mom are chatting about French fashion.

William turns to me. "Prince Rainier has been looking more at you than the race. He must like blonds."

"Where is he?"

"If I tell, you'll stare and point and embarrass all of us."

"Tell me."

"He's with the actress. Red dress. You can't miss her."

"Oh, no. He caught me looking at them."

"You should listen to your folks and go to a Catholic girls school in Paris. That might convince Prince Charming to marry you."

I scoff, "Don't be silly. He's not allowed to marry an American. Besides, you know I'm going to be a Rockette."

Scene 93

Scene Ninety-three...We're flying
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, June 21, 1947
Place: Robertson's home
Storyteller: Janet


"Doris, thank you so much for offering to stay in our house and care for Lucy. Paul won't be gone long," says Mom.

"Don't mention it. I'm renting my place to tourists while he helps you unpack. It's college money for me."

Dad wants to go by ocean liner. Paul wants to get us settled before the Nice Grand Prix. That means we're flying.

"Don't you think your mother deserves a vacation on the 'Queen Mary?'" Dad tries to put a guilt trip on Paul.

"Yes, but you can bring her back for my graduation on the Mary or Elizabeth. We're packed. We have plane tickets. We're flying."

Paul won.


Scene 92

Scene Ninety-two...Engineering
Time: After church, Sunday, February 9, 1947
Place: Robertson's Dining room
Storyteller: Janet


"Lucy, stop begging. Lois, am I allowed to have another piece of chicken?" Dad is hopeful.

"Help yourself, dear."

Paul invited Doris to Sunday dinner because Dad always acts better when she's around.

"Doris, I was certainly surprised when you quit nursing and returned to U.M. full time. The hospital will never be able to replace you."

"She works in the marine biology lab," says Paul.

"It's about time they expanded that department. After all, we have an ocean here," Dad replies.

"Yes, and the school of engineering opens soon." Doris actually had the nerve to say the word 'engineering' to Dad.

"And I'll transfer to that department in June," Paul says casually.

Mom scurries to the kitchen and stays there.

"Damn good idea." Dad shocks everybody.

"Pardon me?&…

Scene 91

Scene Ninety-one...Thanksgiving, 1946
Time: 2:00 PM, Thursday, November 28, 1946
Place: Robertson's home
Storyteller: Janet


I'm tired of waiting for them. Might as well get a drink.

Paul's out back, behind the bar. I'll put in my order before the rush. "Sloe gin and coke, please."

In goes my first shot of booze. "You deserve it," he says.

That sounds like a motorcycle. Betty and William arrive with hands too full to pet Lucy.

Mom rings the dinner bell. "Say a prayer, Harry, then carve the turkey."

"How soon after Christmas are you leaving?" I ask Betty and William.

"We're going next week. Have a lot of stops to make," my sister answers.

"All family?" Nosy me.

"First Tony and then the grandparents," she replies.

"And finally, the Rockettes!" William smiles at me.

I kick him under the table.

"What about Tom?" Mom asks.

"Doc and Sal are fighting over him," answers Betty…

Scene 90

Scene Ninety...Paris
Time: After lunch, Sunday, November 3, 1946
Place: Robert's home
Storyteller: Janet


"I want to spend my senior year in Paris." I announce.

Betty, William, and Paul gasp.

Dad looks surprised, but no signs of heart failure. Thank you God.

"I spent the summer between 'Hill School' and 'Penn' in Europe. Should have stayed longer," says Dad. "Why Paris?"

"That's the best way to finish high school and study advanced dance at the same time. Madame, Anna, and Sergey have all the right connections."

"Your mother and I'll meet with them and work out the details."

Betty's jaw drops.

"Tony and I are researching vineyards in Provence as an investment. Been thinking about moving there in '48. We should be able to push it up a year, if Janet is serious about Paris."

"I'm serious, alright."

"Do I have any say in the matter? Mom asks.

"I assumed you'd be thri…

Scene 89

Scene Eighty-nine...We'll Stay
Time: Evening, Saturday, November 2, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: William


"How's your dad doing?" I ask.

"Looked great today. Wonderful. Back to work. Lost a few pounds. Quit smoking."

"I can see and smell all that, but how is he really doing...deep down?"

"He couldn't be any better, under the circumstances. I'm more worried about us."

"Worried because...you're afraid to ever mention moving again?"

"This changes things, William. What if..." She's choked up...about to cry.

"Don't worry at all, Betty. We'll stay as long as you like."

"But I don't want to stay."

"I know. Come over here."

She crosses the small room. We curl up together.

It's been too much for my wife; she can't take anymore.
What if she learns the business Janet knows about Harry?

Scene 88

Scene Eighty-eight...St. Petersburg
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, October 26, 1946
Place: The beach
Storyteller: Janet


Nothing like a stroll along the shore after ballet class. It cools the sore feet. That looks like Sergey coming my way. Good. I need to talk with him.

"Master, do you have a few minutes? I could use some advice."

"Of course."

"Madame 'C' suggests I spend my senior year in Paris and take dance lessons after school hours."

He looks sad. "That would be excellent for your Rockettes career. Anna and I will help you find teachers...and it will be best for me, also. I love my wife, but you are like a haunting ghost from the past."

Tears flow down my cheeks.

Sergey continues, "You remind me of my old country. I had to leave, but miss it...Russia before the revolution...St. Petersburg. My home has changed names twice since then. 1914, Petrograd. 1924, Leningrad. I still can't call it that. I won't. Someday it will be my…

Scene 87

Scene Eighty-seven...Sugarplum Fairy
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, October 19, 1946
Place: Ballet school
Storyteller: Janet


I drive east across the bay, still trying to figure our my true feelings. Last week it was disappointing when Brodskys gave Nancy the role of Clara. But now she won't be throwing rocks at the Plymouth; that's good news for Paul.

Why am I even thinking about this childish stuff? Two weeks ago Dad almost had a heart attack...and today, I'm alive and walking and dancing. The war is over; all is well.

Just as Anna asked, I'm early for class. She looks excited...and anxious to chat.

"We picked you for the 'Sugarplum Fairy' character!"

"But you always dance that part. It's the most challenging."

"It requires artistic and technical skill at a high level. You are ready, Janet."

"This is every girl's dream come true. Thank you for the opportunity."

Mistress adds, "We thought it wise not to make a bi…

Scene 86

Scene Eighty-six...Clara
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, October 12, 1946
Place: Ballet School
Storyteller: Janet


What a relief. 
Mom told me not to quit. I better pay attention to Brodskys. They're holding hands, asking for quiet.

"Competition for 'The Nutcracker' has been fierce," says Sergey. "Robert, come up here."

The tall boy blushes and moves forward.

"As you know, I usually play the part of the prince, but... Robert, your dance technique has improved so much since 'Swan Lake', you deserve to be the male lead in our Christmas performance."

Everybody claps and some whistle.

"Anya, would you like to announce who will play the beautiful Clara?"

"Certainly. Nancy, come here..."

Scene 85

Scene Eighty-five...Lifestyle Changes
Time: Afternoon, Sunday, October 6, 1946
Place: Viridian Hospital
Storyteller: Janet


Lucy is sleeping beside Dad's bed.

Mom appears white and frozen in the corner.

"Paul, stop pacing. You're driving me nuts." I've lost all patience.

Doris is checking Dad's pulse. Her face is dry, but tear stained.

"Betty, don't you have work to do? Like finding Dad's test results?" I ask.

Doc Sasser walks in, all smiles. "It wasn't a heart attack."

The room erupts in cheer. Lucy wakes up, looking confused.

"But you do have early signs of heart disease," continues Doc. "High blood pressure, ankles swollen, shortness of breath."

Everybody is subdued again.

"You're going to have to make some lifestyle changes:
Quit smoking, especially those Camels.
Switch from deep fried foods to grilled.
Work less overtime; better yet, retire."

"Betty will tell you the rest and nag you …

Scene 84

Scene Eighty-four...Lucy
Time: Evening, Saturday, October 5, 1946
Place: Robertson's
Storyteller: Janet


"Happy Church Wedding!" William gives Mom a kiss and Dad a handshake.

"Thank you. Let's have champagne before dinner. Paul, go get it."

"Betty, do you want to tell them?" William asks.

"Go ahead, William."

"For heaven's sake. Are you pregnant?" I want to know immediately.

"No! Whatever gave you that idea?" Betty sounds sure.

"Because you're married."

"We're moving." William can't wait any longer.

Mom says, "We left our parents and moved to Florida. How can I criticize you?"

"Where are you going?" I ask.

"Nice, France," Betty answers.

Dad looks dizzy. He sways. Sits down. We all notice. Lucy runs to him.

We all run to him. Lucy whimpers. We all talk at once.

Betty shouts, "Please. Everyone except William, back up. Paul, get the dog."

"I…

Scene 83

Scene Eighty- three...Let's Move
Time: Evening, Friday, October 4, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: William


"Let's get out of this town. Since Janet's accident, we've been getting way too much publicity." I look at Betty.

"I know. I know."

"People treat me like I'm 'Superman'. I just want to be Clark Kent."

"Yes, this is far too risky."

"I want to be a boring research scientist, not a surgeon."

"We need to move. I'll be the doctor. You'll publish your findings," Betty agrees.

"What about Janet?" I ask the obvious.

"That girl's a miracle. She has Maria, Madame, Brodskys. Daddy will buy her additional help if she needs it. She'll miss us, but be fine."

"So how about telling the folks tomorrow night at their anniversary party?" I suggest.

"Okay, but be sure to call it their Church Wedding Celebration," Betty reminds me.

Scene 82

Scene Eighty-Two...The Kennel Club #5
Time: Lunch hour, Wednesday, October 2, 1946
Place: Harry's law office
Storyteller: William


Mr. Robertson doesn't want Betty to pop in on us at the boat, so he asked me to come to his law office.

"Harry, I've been covering for you since May, but Janet is suspicious and worried. She said, and this is a quote, 'If I see Dad or the Hudson at the dog track again, I'm telling Betty.'"

"Lord, she can't do that. Betty will tell Lois and I can't lose my wife."

"William, did Betty tell you about Easter of '27?"

"No. That was a generation ago."

"It's yesterday to me." Harry's eyes turn to the window.

"I'm in Miami. The family is in Ardmore. Betty's Grandma Allen takes her shopping for an Easter outfit in Philly. Paul, only two, is napping. Lois washes her hair. She steps out to check the mail. The door slams and locks her out. She isn't wearing a c…

Scene 81

Scene Eighty-one...I'm telling Betty
Time: After school, Tuesday, October 1, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: Janet


"You need to hear this story. Thankfully Betty is working," I say.

"What's in the bag?" He changes the subject.

"Avocados from Mom's tree...but more importantly, remember I took adult ballet classes on three Tuesday's while you were honeymooning?"

"Yes. They helped strengthen your right leg."

"Thanks to school, I've been too busy to tell you the bad part. The Hudson was in the Kennel Club lot all three times."

"You're not allowed there! It's not safe!"

"I wasn't THERE. I was safe and sound on the PIER, looking through binoculars. And before you kill me, Nancy and I saw him leave Joe's on Saturday. Guess where he was parked?"

"They're only a couple of blocks apart, Janet."

"If I see Dad or the Hudson at the dog track again, I'm tellin…

Scene 80

Scene Eighty...The Nutcracker
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, September 28, 1946
Place: The Million Dollar Pier
Storyteller: Janet


No sign of rain, but it could surprise me. Nancy and I are walking toward the pier after "The Nutcracker" auditions.

"Clara is such a great character. Her transition from a girl into a woman...I love the way she comes of age," says Nancy.

Hummm. Just when things are going so well between the two of us, my friend wants to be Clara. Thank goodness she doesn't know that half the students tried out for that role, including me.

"Let's get a bagel before walking the pier." I change the subject to something less controversial.

Bagels in hand, we approach Joe's restaurant. I'll be darn, Dad walks out. He blushes, but heads our direction.

"Janet, who is your pretty friend?"

"Nancy, this is my dad, Mr. Robertson."

"Pleased to meet you, sir."

"What are you girls doing over here?"

Mouth f…

Scene 79

Scene Seventy-nine...Confidence
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, September 21, 1946
Place: Ballet school
Storyteller: Janet


Rumor has it, Vicky and Dad had a "pow wow" recently. Maybe he paid her to leave town? Well, it's too beautiful a day to dwell on that woman.

Miami weather is convertible weather. I'm half way across the bay, hair in a bun for ballet, but a few strands are blowing wild. I'll tidy up before class begins.

My confidence soars through warm ups. The Tuesday lessons were exactly what I needed to help strengthen my right leg. Of course Maria's P.T. and Madame's Tap and Jazz deserve credit, too.

"Bourree," says Anna.

Oh, good. I do little quick steps in fifth position releve. After Labor Day, Sergey said I could dance in fifth again. My weight shifts from one foot to the other. I travel in several directions.

Class is over. They want to speak with me. Sergey says, "We suggest you try out for 'The Nutcracker."'

Mistress …

Scene 78

Scene Seventy-eight...High Noon
Time: 12:00 N, Tuesday, September 17, 1946
Place: Harry's home office
Storyteller: Vivien


I call Harry's firm. The secretary says he's working at home today. "Would you like to make an appointment for tomorrow?" she asks.

"No, thanks. Click."

So here I am, on Robertson's front porch. Hope nobody's home except Harry. Oh, here comes Lois, wearing a blue artist smock. Darn, that mean dog is with her. 

"Hi Victoria. Come in. Forget something the other evening? Stop growling, Lucy."

"No, Mrs. Robertson. I have an appointment with your husband."

"It must be about your singing career. Follow me."

Lois taps on the door. "Harry, your appointment is here."

"Thank you, Darling. Now go back to that landscape. Sorry to interrupt."

"Please shut the door, Victoria. Take a seat."

Why isn't he surprised to see me without an appointment?

He hands me an envelope. Cash an…

Scene 77

PART IV...Scene Seventy-seven...P.I. Report
Time: 8:00 AM, Tuesday, September 17, 1946
Place: Harry's home office
Storyteller: William


We wake up to a peachy-pink sunrise and twiddle our thumbs until Betty decides it's time to face her father.

"Thank you for seeing us before work, Daddy." She gives him a kiss.

"No problem. What's up?"

Harry's at his desk. Betty and I are in the client's chairs, facing him. Lucy's at my feet. The dog must sense that I need her for moral support this morning.

I get it over with...the bizarre identity switch story. Harry didn't interrupt.

He looks at Betty. "Did you learn this before or after the marriage?"

"Before."

"I trust your judgment. How can I help?"

My wife explains Vivien's blackmail threat.

I add the part about the gangster.

Harry erupts in a belly laugh. "Don't worry about Vivien. Early August the bartender at 'The Breeze' warned me. Steve said t…

Scene 76

Scene Seventy-six...The Mob
Time: After dark, Monday, September 16, 1946
Place: William's boat and dock
Storyteller: William


"Guess I'll have to do some jail time," I say.

"You most certainly will not! We'll talk to Daddy in the morning."

"He might decide I belong in jail."

"Do you seriously think he would allow the man who saved his daughter's life...and married his other daughter...go to jail? And the entire Rotary Club knowing about it? Ha!"

There's a knock on the door. I peek out the window to see if Vivien is back. Nope. A large man, possibly Italian.

"Betty, I'm going outside for a few minutes. Stay put." I step out.

"Is Vivien Marconi home?" The voice has a Chicago accent.

"No, my wife and I live here."

"I saw her go through that door." He points.

"You must have dozed off, because she left."

"What's her address?"

"I've no idea...just met her y…

Scene 75

Scene Seventy-five...Vivien
Time: After dark, Monday, September 16, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: Vivien


I give the boat a once over. It's definitely Bill's. In my purse is a .38 revolver. I knock on the door.

"Victoria...come in." Betty says cheerfully.

William stands and extends his hand. I refuse it and look him in the eye. "You killed Bill."

Betty gasps.

"No, Vivien. You killed Bill."

Betty drops onto the sofa.

"You're Vivien Winters. I figured it out in the middle of that beautiful song," says William, "but I didn't kill him."

"Then how did you get his boat?"

"He gave it to me because he was dying."

"So he's dead?"

"He's M.I.A. under my name, Moses Smith. Sit down, Vivien. Would you like a drink?"

"Gin and tonic."

Betty mixes three.

"Did Bill write you about training me to function as a doctor?"

"Yes, you're a medic."

&q…

Scene 74

Scene Seventy-four...Bill Again
Time: Evening, Sunday, September 15, 1946
Place: Robertson's patio
Storyteller: Janet


Vicky and I join the men's table. Paul looks mad as heck.

"Speaking of careers, Janet, have you picked a college yet? How about U.M. for undergraduate like Betty? That would thrill your mother."

"Remember Dad, I'm going to New York City to become a Rockette.

Then Vicky shocks me into submission. "You're so lucky. I quit growing at 5'4", too short for Rockettes. At least I can sing."

"You sure can. Let's hear 'Just My Bill.'" Paul practically begs.

Dad echoes his request. "Please, Victoria. I haven't heard you yet."

"If you insist." Vicky is blushing, or is it too much rouge?

"Along came Bill, an ordinary guy..."

The men are eating it up and she knows it. The women hear her melancholy voice. Betty and Mom join us.

"But along came Bill,
who's not the type at al…

Scene 73

Scene Seventy-three...Guy talk
Time: Evening, Sunday, September 15, 1946
Place: Robertson's patio
Storyteller: William


Paul says, "Sam died at Midway...Jonah is buried at Normandy. Doris was awarded the Purple Heart. And I come home without a scratch. It doesn't seem right...not right at all."

I add, "How do you think I feel, with all the death I've witnessed?"

Harry's turn. "What about me? Didn't even enlist. Talk about guilt. I confessed to a priest and I'm not even Catholic."

"And he confessed back to you." I point out.

"I'm so proud of our Doris. I'd like to adopt her, but I'm hoping Paul will wise up and marry her after law school."

"So now you're picking my career and my wife, Dad?" Paul is shaking his head. He looks mad.

Scene 72

Scene Seventy-two...The Fib
Time: Evening, Sunday, September 15, 1946
Place: Robertson's powder room
Storyteller: Janet


Vicky's drink must have gone down the wrong pipe. She can't stop choking. Her face is wet with tears.

Paul gets to her first. He bangs on her back.

Betty tells him to stop it and get away.

Finally Vicky is breathing normally.

William pronounces her okay.

Paul returns to her side.

"Let's go to the powder room," I say. "You need to fix your face."

She follows me upstairs and reapplies a little make-up.

I plop down in the hall chairs. "Want to relax for a few minutes?"

She sits, then asks more nosy questions.

"Yes, actually Paul has had a steady girlfriend since high school." I fib. "Doris goes to U.M. and is working tonight."

"Really? He's never mentioned her," she says.

"That's a man for you. Doris and Paul enlisted together. That's quite a bond. They're practically engage…

Scene 71

Scene Seventy-one...Welcome Home
Time: Evening, Sunday, September 15, 1946
Place: Robertson's dining room
Storyteller: Janet


Victoria isn't here yet, but I hate her. Everybody knows Paul is supposed to marry Doris, my best friend.

"Ding, dong." I run to the front door. There she is with a scrubbed face. Where did she find that frumpy dress?

"Come in. I'm Janet. Everyone's in the dining room."

"Nice to finally meet you," says Vicky.

"Victoria, this is my mom, Mrs. Robertson...Betty and William...and you know my dad and Paul. Let's eat."

Paul is obviously smitten. Why doesn't he see her for the little gold digger that she is? He probably thinks she loves him for his personality.

And Betty is even worse. "Victoria, it broke my heart to hear about your fiance and husband. If you ever need to talk about it, I'd be happy to listen."

I bet she's lying about both men. Dad should have her followed. Lucy loves alm…

Scene 70

Scene Seventy...New Dress
Time: Night, Friday, September 13, 1946
Place: The Breeze
Storyteller: Victoria


"Oh, no, no, no. See the back of that giant up there talking to Steve?" Paul says.

"Brownish-gray hair? 220?"

"That's my dad."

"And he's coming our way. Smile."

"What a surprise to see you, Paul. Introduce me to your beautiful friend."

"Dad, this is Victoria Marconi. She sings here.
Victoria, this is my father, Harry Robertson."

"Miss Marconi, what will you be singing tonight?"

"Mood Indigo, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, My Man, and of course, The Breeze and I."

"Wonderful songs." Harry approves.

Paul excuses himself and walks toward the men's room.

"Mr. Robertson, Paul told me you asked him to join your law firm, but he turned you down. What could he be thinking? Maybe it's shell shock from the war."

"Call me Harry. I keep hoping he comes to his senses. May I call y…

Scene 69

Scene sixty-nine...Medical issues #2
Time: 6:00 PM, Saturday, September 7, 1946
Place: Sal's Seafood
Storyteller: Victoria


"I'll pay the bill tonight. You're a college student."

"A college student with a job. Don't insult me."

"If you insist. This seafood platter is delicious. I should try different foods more often."

"How about a Budweiser?"

"Not that different."

We laugh and click our glasses.

"Victoria, I told you my sister is a doctor."

"Yes...I'm not sick."

"She'll be back from the Bahamas soon. Would you feel comfortable talking to a woman about that medical issue?"

"Oh, the ovary. I was afraid to bring up the rest of that story."

Paul turns white but replies, "You can tell me anything."

"Remember the surgeon said I might not be able to have kids?"

"Yes, which is why I recommended Betty."

"You need to know the rest; it was a cold Ch…

Scene 68

Scene Sixty-eight...Bill
Time: Night, Friday, August 30, 1946
Place: The Breeze
Storyteller: Victoria


The taffy is melting in my mouth; it's slightly sweet, but salty caramel.

"Boo!" Paul sneaks up, gives me a kiss, and sits down. "How can you eat candy with gin and tonic?"

"Remember, I worked at 'James Original Salt Water Taffy.' It's an old habit." I kiss him back.

He looks serious again. "I haven't wanted to pry, but may I ask a question?"

"Shoot."

"Was your husband's name 'Bill?'"

"No, his name was Jimmy. Bill was my fiance, killed in WWII. My father was killed in WWI."

"No, stop. You've been through too much heartache. How do you stand the memories?"

"Think about the happy times, like when I met Bill."

"Go on." He squeezes my hand.

"It was June. Hot. Umbrellas dotted the wide beach. I was only fifteen, sunbathing on the sand. Even with my ey…

Scene 67

Scene Sixty-seven...Unlike Him #4
Time: After ballet, Tuesday, August 27, 1946
Place: The Million Dollar Pier
Storyteller: Janet

"Anna, I'm so sad. Next Monday is Labor Day. And next Tuesday is school."

She gives me a hug and says, "This isn't goodbye. See you Saturday."

I walk briskly to the pier and pull out my binoculars.

There's the Hudson. Silver. Navy. This is not like my dad. He's addicted!

I cling to the railing and face east. The ocean. "William, please hurry home. Otherwise I'll have to pour my heart out to Paul. Do you hear me? Come home!" My voice travels across the warm water.

People are staring.

I better stop talking to someone in the Bahamas.

Scene 66

Scene Sixty-six...Unlike Him #3
Time: After ballet, Tuesday, August 20, 1946
Place: The Million Dollar Pier
Storyteller: Janet


"Janet, your right leg seems stronger already, but don't overdo it," warns Anna.

Class is dismissed a few minutes early. Think I'll take Mom's advice. She keeps talking about the gold and silver glitter pasted on lobby walls of "The Calvert". I head down Ocean Drive to take a peek. The small, family hotel is a block from Pier Park. I enter through a pink door, pretending to be a tenant. I sniff the pink roses in a pink vase before exiting through another pink door. According to the brochure, Mrs. Mitnick, the owner, provides pink ceiling fans, refrigerators, beds, and sheets! Mom always has been a sucker for pink, ever since her "Dogwood Queen" days.

Let's see what's happening on the pier. Hopefully no shark sightings; they give me the creeps. On my way, I buy a bagel.

From the pier, I see a shiny silver roof i…

Scene 65

Scene Sixth-five...Medical issues #1
Time: 6:00 PM, Saturday, August 17, 1946
Place: Sal's Seafood
Storyteller: Victoria


"What a great idea, Paul. We'll have plenty of time to eat before I have to be at work."

"Too bad my sister and her husband are out of town. They live close by and I'd like you to meet them."

"Betty, you mean?"

"Yea, you'll have more in common with her than the baby. Oh, but you and Janet both dance."

"How's she doing, since the accident?"

"Keeps busy dancing. We're all in shock. She's so driven."

The waitress wants our drink order. Paul tells Gail my usual, gin and tonic. He's a "Bud" man.

"Wish I knew more about football, since you played it. We only went to one 'Bears' game."

"Wow. They're the champs now. How about baseball?"

"My husband took me to several 'Cubs' games. We didn't live far from Wrigley Field. Baseba…

Scene 64

Scene Sixth-four...Unlike Him # 2
Time: After ballet, Tuesday, August 13, 1946
Place: The Million dollar Pier
Storyteller: Janet


"Bye Anna." I wave and leave my first adult dance lesson.

What a nice group of ladies. No shenanigans. Mom should try it. William says dance is great exercise for diabetes.

I meander by the Corsair Hotel, where the Brodskys live. What more could a couple without children want? Art Deco, private bath, elegant, walk-in closet, solarium, private beach. It's first in line on the south, next to the park.

I'm in the park now...thick coconut palms and a bandstand in the middle. A dance floor and stage, with plenty of folding chairs. No wonder Anna raves about the free, live music, a few nights a week.

Following the path from the park, I see the concrete Million Dollar Pier jut several hundred yards out into the ocean. I walk to the end. There are restrooms and a smaller bandstand. The roofed seating area is a good place to prop up my feet and watc…

Scene 63

Scene Sixty-three...The Singer
Time: Night, Saturday, August 10, 1946
Place: "The Coral Breeze" nightclub
Storyteller: Victoria


(This is Connie Jane speaking. Please treat yourself to Ava Gardner's rendition of the classic song, "Bill". It will put you in the mood to meet the one and only Victoria.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCsYSS6ddT4


Storyteller: Victoria

"Think I'm gonna like The Breeze." I say to Steve. "How long you been tending bar?"

"My entire life, but only been here a couple of years. How long you been singing?"

"My entire life...and I better do that right now or Jake will fire me." I smile, turn, and flirt my way up to the stage.

People are clapping. I adjust the microphone. "Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. Thank you. How about a Dinah Shore favorite?"

Clapping gets louder; some whistles.

"How many of you know a special man named Bill?"

Hands go up; more clapping.

"I…

Scene 62

Scene Sixth-two...More Ballet
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, August 10, 1946
Place: Ballet school
Storyteller: Janet


Dance, that's what I need...not the Bahamas.
More ballet lessons...maybe Brodskys will agree to let me join their Tuesday adult class...if I act very mature. It will only be til school starts; school really takes a toll on my Rockettes career.

"Janet, pay attention. You missed a step." Anna caught me day dreaming.

"Echappe," she says.

We do an escaping or slipping movement to the second or fourth position. Feet go from closed to open. Both move equal distance from the beginning spot.

Class is finally over. I bring up the adult lessons to Anna, hoping she'll make an exception for me.

"Okay, give it a try. See you Tuesday." She waves goodbye.

Would love to go for a dip, but don't want people gawking at my bruise. My Bermuda shorts will cover it.

The water is knee deep. I scan for sharks.

Someone says "Hi."

Holy cow, it's N…

Scene 61

Scene Sixth-one...Honeymoon
Time: Afternoon, Friday, August 9, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: Janet


"Tom's ear looks completely healed. I can hardly see the scar. He's letting me pet it. Where's William?"

"Boxing. The three of us did a good job on that cat." Betty is giving me credit for doing nothing. She's such a kind person. Wonder if I can talk her into taking me with them?

"You know I've been to Bimini, but never to the Bahamas. Please take me along? I'll be good as gold."

"Are you crazy? This is our honeymoon!"

"Belated honeymoon. How did the both of you manage to get time off work anyway?"

"Doc called all over Georgia. Hired doctors and nurses. He even talked Daddy into letting Maria work at the hospital part time. You still need her, but not full time."

"What about Tom?"

"Sal loves him. We'll sail at dawn tomorrow."

"Pretty please?" I beg one last …

Scene 60

Scene Sixty...The Fall
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, August 3, 1946
Place: Ballet school
Storyteller: Janet


"She has a long way to go," says Sergey to his wife as I open the door.

A few minutes later Anna begins. "En croix."

In the shape of a cross. I go from fourth position front, to second, to fourth position back. Then I fall! My right leg is weak.

The entire class runs to me, even Nancy. Sergey makes them return to centre.

Slowly I stand at the barre. Pupils and teachers stare, while holding their breath.

Sergey tells Anna to teach me strength exercises. Then he says something in French before continuing to instruct the students.

Mistress says, "Adagio, for the next week." She is telling me to exercise at a slow pace.

"Eleve," she says.

I rise onto the balls of my feet.

"Plie and then releve," says Anna.

I go from a demi-plie to the balls of my feet. These will strengthen legs, ankles, and feet.

"Battlement tendus," she says…

Scene 59

Scene Fifty-nine...At the Barre
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, July 27, 1946
Place: Ballet school
Storyteller: Janet


It feels so good to be back in the Plymouth, headed to a ballet lesson, wind blowing my hair.

In class, everyone is nice except Nancy.

I make a point of complimenting her on the thirty-two fouettes. Life's too short to bicker. Boy, the accident has turned me around.

We warm up at the barre. Anna makes me stay there when the other students move to centre practice. No pointe shoes and no fifth position either. Nothing remotely challenging.


I have a long way to go.

Scene 58

Scene Fifty-eight...The Performance
Time: Evening, Saturday, July 20, 1946
Place: Miami Auditorium
Storyteller: Janet

"Front row seats!" I can't believe our good fortune.

"Nothing but the best for you," replies Doc Sasser.

Madame "C" is sitting between Doc and me. She squeezes my hand and smiles at him.

The program answers my question. Nancy is playing Odile. What's come over me? I'm actually happy for her.

Sergey and Anna are exquisite together...can't imagine any other Siegfred and Odette," I whisper to Madame.


"You'll be the White Swan someday," she assures me.

It's Act III...almost the end of the Black Swan pas de deux. Odile starts to spin. I count...thirty-two fouettes! Hooray! I clap for Nancy.

After the final bows, applause, and flowers, the Brodskys walk down to personally speak with me. I hug her and shake his hand.

"That was inspirational. May I return to your school?"

"Whenever you are read…

Scene 57

Scene Fifty-seven...Man to Man Talk
Time: Early morning, Friday, July 19, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: William


"Knock, knock." I answer the door. It's Harry.

He comes right to the point. "I was having breakfast at Sal's...saw Betty leave...looked over...there she went..."

"We're married, sir."

"Thank God," he exhales. "I was planning to have a man to man talk with you."

"I'm sorry, sir."

"When did this happen?"

"Fourth of July."

"Why that sly fox, Tony."

"He didn't want to do this to you. We convinced him you'd never find out."

"That's preposterous. Half of the Rotary Club eats breakfast here. They must be snickering behind my back."

"I'm so sorry, sir."

His wheels are turning. "I need to cancel the fake wedding, put a formal announcement in the paper, call our minister. He'll put it in the church bulletin. Hea…

Scene 56

Scene Fifty-six...An Old Secret
Time: Early morning, Saturday, July 13, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: Janet


Won't William be surprised to see me riding a bike again. He'll want to treat me to breakfast. I park at Sal's and walk to the boat.

"Knock, knock," I say and open the door.

There stands Betty...wearing nothing but William's pajama shirt.

Thank heavens he walks out wearing the matching pajama bottoms.

I scream.

They run to me. Betty puts her hand over my mouth. With caution, she removes her hand.

"You're gonna get pregnant and have to get married, just like Mom," I whisper.

"Don't be silly. They eloped almost a year before I was born."

"Nope. They got married seven months before you were born."

"But that was the church wedding Grandpa wanted."

"Yes, but the elopement was a big, fat lie. They promised each other to tell nobody...ever."

"Then how did you find out?"

"Love…

Scene 55

Scene Fifty-five...Table for Three
Time: Suppertime, Tuesday, July 9, 1946
Place: Sal's Seafood
Storyteller: William


Doc's staring at a sophisticated lady who opened the restaurant door. It's Madame "C".

"Thanks for joining me for supper, Doc. I get lonely when Betty works evenings."

"Anytime. Life is very quiet for this widower." Again, Doc glances toward the entry.

The cosmopolitan woman is waiting to be seated. Her silver hair is in a French twist...Royal blue dress. Sal escorts her to the table next to ours. She notices us and says hello.

We both stand. "How nice to see you Madame 'C'...sorry, that's what Janet calls you," I say.

"Madame Caillebotte," the southern gentleman pronounces her name perfectly, as if he's been practicing.

"Are you meeting someone?" I ask.

"No, dining alone."

"Please join us." Doc moves aside to offer the lady a window.

"I've been wanting t…

Scene 54

Scene Fifty-four...The Apology
Time: Afternoon, Sunday, July 7, 1946
Place: Robertson's home
Storyteller: Janet


The doorbell rings. Mom's shopping, so I answer it. "Anna, what a nice surprise. Thanks for all the hospital flowers. Come in. Let's visit on the patio. I was just going to pick a few mangoes. Take as many as you like. I'll get another bag."

She says, "We are so very sorry about your accident. I'm stunned to see you up and around. Let me help with the fruit."

"It was a miracle." I reply.

"Are we alone?" Anna asks.

"Yes. Just Lucy." I pet my dog.

"Please accept both of our apologies. Sergey would have come...but thought it best not to...he's embarrassed."

"You're both welcome here."

"I need to tell you why we acted so inappropriately. Will you hear me out?"

"Sure."

"It begins way back in Russia. Sergey and Dina, his fiancee, both danced for 'Kirov Bal…

Scene 53

Scene Fifty-three...Need to Know
Time: Evening, Saturday, July 6, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: William


"Sal serves the best 'surf and turf'. Thank you William," says Doc Sasser. Tom is in his lap.

"Don't thank me. Harry insisted and picked up the tab. Said something about saving his daughter..."

"Daddy bought the champagne, too. We decided to drink it on the boat, in private. Want a refill, Doris?"

"No, thanks. When did Tony slip away without even telling me good-bye?"

"Yesterday. He'll be back Labor Day for the renewing of our vows," I casually mention.

"Oh, the wedding." Doc is losing his hearing.

"No, the renewing of our vows," I speak louder this time.

Our guests stare at us with bug eyes.

"We're married!" Betty bounces up and down laughing.

"You can't tell anyone. Only the five of us know," I remind them.

"Tony!" Doris figured out the fifth pe…

Scene 52

Scene Fifty-two...A Secret
Time: Afternoon, Wednesday, July 3, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: William


"Let's sail over to Palm Island and try to find Al Capone's villa," says William.

"Speaking of Italians, Tony, has anyone ever said you look like Perry Como?" Betty asks.

"Yes, all the nuns think he looks like Perry," William teases.

"What a compliment. I have more gray hair than Mr. Como, but we're both from large Italian-American families. Harry was going to play some of his hit records at your rehearsal dinner...'Prisoner of Love', 'Surrender.'"

"About the wedding...I have a license. You're a priest. Betty and I want you to marry us tomorrow as planned."

"What? I thought Harry rescheduled for Labor Day. Same color scheme, so Janet can shine in that red dress?"

"He did. It will be a renewing of our vows, but nobody will know that except us. It will be another three-way secre…

Scene 51

Scene Fifty-one...Wine
Time: Evening, Tuesday, July 2, 1946
Place: Robertson's home
Storyteller: Janet


Lucy's by Tony's feet. "I like your dog Janet."

"She must love you, because she's been glued to me since yesterday."

"I hear your physical therapist is moving to Viridian tomorrow."

"Maria, yes. I'll have her, and my dance teacher Madame 'C', and my boxing coach..."

"Wait a minute," says William. "You can't box for six months."

"Why not?"

"Because you must take a blood thinner pill for that long to prevent clots. The medication will cause you to bruise easily."

I roll my eyes...too tired to fight.

Dad hands the priest a glass of wine and sits down next to him. "Cheers."

"Tony, I hear you went to Loyola. When did you graduate?"

Here we go again. College. How boring. I shake my head.

"1919, but I should have gone to war instead."

"I feel the …

Scene 50

Scene Fifty...Superman
Time: Evening, Monday, June 1, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: William


Tony has only been here a couple of hours and Tom is already sleeping in his lap. "I like your cat, Moses...I mean William. Golly I'll try harder."

"It wasn't right of me to ask you to call me William. To ask a priest to lie...it must be a mortal sin."

"Nope. I should call you William. You're in a Catch-22."

"Practicing medicine without a license is illegal...I could go to jail.
Refusing to save a life, when able, is immoral...I could go to hell.

"But Clark Kent always does the right thing and so do you. Maybe you really are Superman. Maybe your biological father beamed you down into my church from Krypton, right before the planet exploded?"

"You'll never let me live that one down...back when I was a delirious half drowned kid."

"Never...I thought you were gone...never prayed so hard in my life, and I'…

Scene 49

PART III...Scene Forty-nine...Maria
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, June 29, 1946
Place: Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami
Storyteller: Janet


"Did you cry much?" Maria asks.

"No, I was unconscious."

"How many operations did you have?" My physical therapist chats on and on while watching me walk.

"Three surgeries in five days. An ambulance brought me here for the second one."

"What all did they do?"

"Dr. Templeton...you know he's from New York...checked out my femoral vein. It looked fine, so he closed my groin incision. He couldn't sew up my leg at that time, because it was still too swollen."

"Oh, that's too bad."

"Let me tell you about William, my almost-brother-in-law. On the night of the accident, he sewed that vein back together while my sister worked on the leg. What a team they are."

"I'll say."

"A couple of days later, Templeton operated on my leg. It took hours. He flew ho…

Scene 48

Scene Forty-eight...The Operation
Time: Night, Saturday, June 22, 1946
Place: Operating room, Viridian Hospital
Storyteller: Janet (invisible)


I have separated into two Janets.
Anesthetized Janet, on the operating table...asleep.
Invisible Janet, floating around the ceiling...awake.
Awake, but in no pain.
Aware of the serious situation, but unafraid.
I see the medical staff, wearing blue-green.
I see pints of red blood.
Doris says Dad and Paul donated blood.

William is standing near my right groin.
He's staring down.
Doing surgery with both hands.
Doris is assisting him.

Without looking up he says,
"I'm sewing a two and a half inch hole in her femoral vein.
Had to make a five inch incision to find it."

"Doc, you and Betty work on her swollen leg.
Show Betty where to make incisions in both sides of her calf.
They need to be nine inches long.
Then, clean out the pooled blood.
It's causing massive swelling."

I watch my operation for three hours.
They don&#…

Scene 47

Scene Forty-seven...Dance recital
Time: Evening, Saturday, June 22, 1946
Place: Viridian Community Theatre
Storyteller: William


Why must we sit in the front row? First Paul, then Lois, Harry, me, Betty, and Sal. Doc and Doris are working.

"Fortunately Madame Caillebotte was able to rent the theatre for her recital," says Betty.

"It's warmer than usual, but the fans help," I reply. "Sal, how did you manage to take off work on a Saturday night?"

"Janet's worth it. Gail's the hostess," he says with an Italian accent.

"Thank you for donating refreshments for the after-party, Sal." Betty continues to chat with him.

I close my eyes to relax until the show begins. Harry's voice carries; he's still upset about the art exhibition. Lois's painting came in second. He says she got robbed...wants to call the judge at home.

Lois looks straight into her husband's eyes. She puts her index finger over her lips and goes, "…

Scene 46

Scene Forty-six...Surprise
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, June 15, 1946
Place: Ballet school
Storyteller: Janet


Master teaches the class. Mistress is nowhere in sight. Everybody is dismissed except me.

"Janet, let's try Act IV one more time," says Sergey.

The dance is almost over when...surprise...he kisses the back of my neck.

Surprise again...I whirl around and punch him in the stomach.

His knees buckle and his head goes forward.

"I quit!" I scream and turn my back on him.

And there she is. Anna saw everything. She claps her hands.

I'm half way to the car and still hear her, "clap-clap."

My heart won't slow down. The Plymouth is a welcome sight. I need air...put the top down. Glad my hair's in a bun.

No Swan Lake for me. Might as well concentrate on Madame's recital.

Scene 45

Scene Forty-five...The Brewing Storm
Time: Afternoon, Sunday, June 9, 1946
Place: Doris's house
Storyteller: Janet


"Stop whining about your dad. I can't stand another word of it. He bought you a car, for heaven's sake!"

"Gosh, Doris. You're usually more patient. Is it that time of the month?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact, but I'd be irritated with you anyway.Your father has sacrificed so much for his family."

"Oh, no. The Great Miami Hurricane story again."

"Yes! Think about it. Your dad was observant. He recognized early signs of the brewing storm in the Atlantic and took his family from Miami."

"True, many people died."

"My papa was observant, too. He recognized early signs of the brewing storm in Nazi Germany and sent his family to Miami."

"And you're observant. You figured out the connection between those two stories. Both dads are heroes."

"And I'm jealous that you have a…

Scene 44

Scene Forty-four...Shallow Waters
Time: Afternoon, Saturday, June 8, 1946
Place: Ballet School
Storyteller: Janet


"Assemble," says Anna.

We lift off the floor on one leg. We land on two legs at the same time and return to fifth position.

"Temps leve," Mistress says.

We rise. Hop from one foot. This can be done in any position, but she demands fifth today.

Anna calls Nancy and me aside. "While the others do barre exercises, Janet, teach her a proper fouette."

Lord. She's making me work with my arch enemy. I obey.

Nancy pays attention. Spins rather nicely. She always has had aspirations to be the black swan. She didn't trip me until I was picked for Odile.

We are finally dismissed. I need a dip.

The shallow water soothes my aching feet. Looking toward the horizon, I wonder how many sharks are between me and that big cruiser.

What a chicken. Fear is ruining all my fun. Is one hammerhead gonna keep me in shallow water forever? I dive under the waves and…

Scene 43

Scene Forty-three...Makeover
Time: Saturday, June 1, 1946
Place: Downtown Miami
Storyteller: Janet


"Let me drive, please." I hold out my hand for Betty's car keys.

"No. Not in the rain," she replies.

"I've driven the Plymouth in the rain...and besides, Dad let me drive Mom to shop in Miami."

"It wasn't raining...but I suppose you need the experience," Betty gives in.

Doris hops in the back. Betty bosses me from the front. "Turn the lights on."

I keep both eyes on the wet pavement all the way to Burdines. The rain stops. The sun pops out from behind a cloud.

"First things first. The Bride." I lead the way.

There are about ten shades of white. This is confusing to me...never been so bored in my life. Silk, satin, taffeta. Betty tries on them all. She is now modeling the one with the "V" neck. Can't believe I skipped ballet for the first time in my life to shop.

"That is my very favorite," I s…

Scene 42

Scene forty-two...Unlike Him #1
Time: After school, Thursday, May 23, 1946
Place: William's boat
Storyteller: Janet


"Is Betty at work?" I ask.

"Yes, why?"

"Because I have another secret to tell."

"Please no. We're engaged. No secrets."

"But I must tell you and if Betty finds out she'll be sick with worry. Is that what you want?"

"I hate this. Get it over with," says William.

"Nosy me...I surprised Dad in the Kennel Club parking lot. Actually we surprised each other. Normally I'd get the ninth degree, but instead he asked me to deceive Mom about his whereabouts. Well, that's a first. It's not like him at all. Something is wrong with him or between my parents. I'm scared."

"What am I supposed to do?"

"Just keep an eye on him. A couple of other times I caught him headed toward South Beach or leaving that parking lot, but he didn't see me. This is odd. I'm worried about…