I like Thanksgiving. New York is always very quiet on this day and the trees on the side streets have turned their leaves to pretty colors and sprinkled them onto the sidewalks, and inside my old-fashioned, unrenovated place today, Miss Radiator is making all kinds of nice noises which attract the kitty to go lie down in front of it and roast herself like a turkey. I’m not a meat eater myself, but I love all the other things on a Thanksgiving table. Many years ago I would sometimes go to Tiffany’s, the diner down in the Village for their Thanksgiving, and that was a real scene, full of drag queens and funny old people and the waiters in their red vests serving everything with a little flourish. I remember a friend, who was in her nineties, telling me that to her, mashed potatoes were like dessert, and I think so too. I wouldn’t need anything more than mashed potatoes to be happy about Thanksgiving dinner. 


Today I looked in a little pile of things I’ve jotted down over the years so as not to forget and thought, maybe this is a good time to put them in here so as to not forget even more. Some of this stuff I’ve probably already thought of when writing one of these Walkers posts and included, but maybe not. So, in no particular order, and without dates, here are some jottings I want to keep.


I was sitting at the counter at Veselka on 2ndAvenue having a grilled cheese sandwich. Jim Carroll was sitting a few stools down from me, and at one point I looked over in time to see him sneak the salt shaker into his pocket.


Today in the record store down by Union Square I looked over and there stood Al Sharpton doing the same thing I was doing, looking at the records. I took a risk and spoke to him, and he was friendly. I apologized for bothering him and he said that was quite alright. 


Once when I was with Pilar Tammy Faye Bakker came out of a bar on West 22ndStreet into a big crowd of people, aiming straight for a waiting limo. I’d been tipped off she was in there, so I had my King James Bible with me, and I thought, well, that was a bust, it’s too crowded. I was holding Pilar in my arms so she wouldn’t be trampled, and when Tammy Faye Bakker saw her, she changed course. She came over and put kisses all over her. And she autographed my bible for me with the silver pen I'd brought for that purpose.


Once Sylvia Miles hit me with her umbrella at Jackie 60 and told me to watch where I was going, and somehow it felt very glamorous to have had that happen. 


Vincent Gallo gave me a kiss at an event that had to do with Joey Ramone. Someone told me afterwards that Vincent Gallo was a conservative and I was shocked. I wouldn’t be now, but I was then. 


On 48thStreet on my lunch hour, I got pinched by a man in a white linen suit, kind of a Ricky Riccardo type. I had on a white mini skirt, and he pinched me as he swept past, with an almost prim walk. So I chased him and pinched him back. He was shocked, haha! He was completely shocked.

One day as I came up out of the subway up by Carnegie Hall, a man came abreast of me as we reached the street, an ordinary nebbishy businessman type. He caught my eye and started running towards the park. So I raced him. We ran to the entrance of the park, both of us laughing, then he went one way and I went the other and not a word was said.   


In 1972 I went on Pan Am with Ma. And I decided that to be a Pan Am stewardess would be the best, most glamourous job in the world. And in 1972, it kind of was. I remember the movie they showed on that flight. It was called The War Between Men and Women with Jack Lemmon and Barbara Harris. The Stewardess gave me a little Pan Am pin, a little pair of wings, and she pinned it onto my sweater somewhere out over the Atlantic. I remember that I drew her a picture on some of the paper she had given me, and when I gave it to her she asked me if it was for her to throw away. I told her no, it was for her, and she dutifully and believably told me that it was the best drawing she’d ever been given.


In 2010 or 2011, I went on KLM by myself. I always feel afraid in an airplane—I didn’t used to, but I do now—and a few hours into the trip things started getting very bumpy. Most people were asleep because it was night, in the United States and Europe both, so I got up and went to the galley, where I found a steward standing there by himself. He was friendly and chatted with me and told me how funny his sleep patterns are because of his job flying around in airplanes. I told him about Pan Am in 1972, and how great it was to be a kid then and have the little pin given to me by the Stewardess, and as I was saying so a glamorous older KLM stewardess came and went from the galley. In a few minutes she was back, with a little pair of KLM wings, which she pinned to my sweater and said it was because I was the best passenger on the airplane. I was a grown woman, obviously, but it had the exact same effect as it had in 1972. Except that I didn’t draw her a picture afterwards, or think about becoming a stewardess late in life.

Happy Thanksgiving 2021


Copyright Romy Ashby

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful experiences thank you for sharing your treasures. It put a smile on my face.