ON THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF
Thoughts While Waiting for a Bellboy at the Traymore
Rolls into shore,
Cascades its spume
Upon the beach,
Retreats, leaves eddied
Pools, ridged flumes
too the floss
Of shell and sherd:
While glistening Inedibles:
flight for life:
Scurry in search
Of haven, burrow
He knows one thing,
One only: ride
To mundane cares,
Scornful of strife,
The surging sea
Pursues its own fixed
by, brown steed
On hard-pressed sands;
Trudge slowly, man;
Weighty, light matters
Not at all
Distract it not,
Nor lure it from
Rain's beat? Alike;
Gulls' scolding cry,
The whine of winds;
The sea spurns all
Its foam-flecked spray
Kisses the strand
In soft caressing
come and go,
Life starts, life ends;
The sea rolls on, wave
Before the might
Of Triton's main;
Fume, rant, command,
The sea "vet rolls; it
that whole week's sojourn in Atlantic City in early December I was in a
poetic mood. Hesoid's memorable marriage of Uranus and Gaea never seemed
more estimable. Caelion and Mundus seemed to join in a mammoth, colorful,
surpassingly beautiful extravaganza to delight the senses even of those less
susceptible to sentience than I.
at eventide I sat in my beachfront room high up in the ornate Traymore,
watching the Celestials parade their chromoscopic wares across the heavens:
blues and golds, pinks and purples, every shade and nuance of all the
primary colors reflecting in the vast dimpled reaches of the sea, smooth and
calm as a softly painted pond except along the shoreline where it came
surging onto land, row after lacy row.
came the handiwork of mere mortals to embellish the twilight masterpiece of
the gods. The curving line of amethysts along the boardwalk's edge vied with
the majesty of Hyperion himself. Downshore the multi-chromatic curv-ings of
the domed Marlborough, the white-lighted cupola of the Shelburne, in the
distance the red Ritz-Carlton tower challenged the pale loveliness of
Cytherea and Diana.
resort's new blue sodium boardwalk lights had just been turned on,
simultaneously with the brightly sparkling Christmas trees, and the blue and
silver simulated lighthouses erected to promote Atlantic City's centennial
winked on and off coquettishly from alternate light standards.
never had it so pretty down there.
clime was balmy as late Spring. Saturday afternoon, after my
responsibilities of running the realtor convention press room were
discharged, Hazel and I sauntered out onto the boards and turned right
around to return our coats to our room. It was shirtsleeve weather.
men did calisthenics on the beach, one or two even ventured into the surf.
Jauntily erect, eyes straight ahead, a bearded character who might have been
a disciple of Bernarr McFadden paraded the Walk in shorts.
lazing in a roller rickshaw, we window-shopped from that moving—and
safe—vantage. So delightful was the day that even natives came out: an
interesting foursome comprised Max Malamut, owner of the luxurious
Shelburne; his son Lewis; Joe Hitzel, the hotel's manager; and Sammy Schor,
my newspaper pal who is living there. We enjoyed very much our brief chat
night or two before we had been at the Shelburne, guests of Fidelity Union
Trust Co. of Newark at a glossy little reception and dinner they hosted in
the lush Mirror Room of that plush hostelry, and it was one of the social
high spots of the convention. There is no better food or more elegant
setting for it anywhere than Max's hotel, and Fidelity V-P Ben Leonard,
George Johnson and Fred Berry did it
of course, are highly social affairs anyway. Par for our course is about six
cocktail parties and room soirees a night. Then, in addition to the Fidelity
dinner, we had the past presidents' dinner-dance, with huge silvery
cornucopiae pouring festive foodstuffs onto the buffet tables —I stuffed
myself into stuffiness—and the gala banquet with its dramatic notes
heightened by Ronco's flaming Cherries Jubilee and the lighted march of the
waiters in the darkened American Room, and our own clubby little press
dinner featuring lobster Newburgh and baked Alaska, so that few evenings
were left for visits to famed shore restaurants like Hackney's and Starn's,
Bishop's and Phillips'.
of my rare ventures from home base was to the airport with Art Van Winkle
to meet Fritz Burns, the fabulous developer recently profiled by Life, who
planed in from Los Angeles to report on the realtors' Build America Better
program which he heads. Art didn't know Fritz, wanted someone along who
is one convention that goes in strongly for speakers-more than a score of
topnotchers, ranging from Elmer "Sizzle" Wheeler to Georgia's
fiery Congressman Bill Wheeler, from FHA Commissioner Guy Hollyday to
Governor-elect Bob Meyner, addressed the 1953 edition.
returning home Sunday, we ran down to Wild-wood for the testimonial dinner
given Lou Gould by Beth Judah Temple for twenty-eight years of devoted
service as secretary. Lou took the job in 1925 when his late father was
Temple president, has been at it ever since.
men seem never too busy to give unsparingly of their time and vitality. Lou
also is secretary of the Wildwood-Cape May County realtors, vice-president
of the state association, active in many capacities in addition to running
a big and highly successful real estate business, with assists from his
lovely wife Yetta and their handsome son Phil, youngest ever to receive a
salesman's license in New Jersey.
was a gay affair graced by the presence of several from Lou's and Yetta's
families, including her father Joseph Balasny, one of the Temple's founders
who was given a similar fete some time ago. Here truly is a remarkable man,
eighty-five and as sharp and full of life as one half his age.
expressed what was in both our hearts as we drove home. "There are so
many wonderful folks in this world," she said.
in New York
Big Town was at its splendrous best this holiday season, and so was
Newark, the golden web spun across Broad Street putting to shame such
relatively tawdry exhibitions as Camden's.
magnum opus, of course, was the five-ton Norway spruce, bedecked in
sixty-five hundred sparkling electric lights and as many twirling dazzling
aluminum icicles, rising seventy-five feet skyward from the skating rink and
sunken gardens of Rockefeller Center.
Park Avenue from 34th to 96th marched scores of bright, stately sentinels:
memorial Christmas trees honoring for the ninth year America's war dead.
The shop windows on Fifth Avenue seemed more elaborate this year, too,
paced by Lord & Taylor's cloud-billowy angelic realm.
music vied with the glittering lights. No fewer than ten choral groups sent
their harmonic gems caroling through the vast marble and buff-pillared
reaches of Grand Central Station, the terminal-temple in French Renaissance
that encircles Park Avenue. It was quite an experience to walk off 42d
Street through the monumental triumphal arch surmounted by
forty-eight-feet-high symbolic statuary into this goliathic structure, to be
met by a crescendo of vocal and organ music, seasonally sweet, swelling past
the light-shafted, dome-like windows all the way up to the star-studded
vaulted ceiling, lights shining softly through the constellations.
Savoy Room of the Savoy Plaza offered seven church choirs for dinner music
during the Christmas season, and out on Fifth Avenue, Wallach's coach drawn
by two prize white steeds braved Gotham's omnipresent congestion to add a
Pickwickian touch to the festive fortnight.
fabulous, Babylonish Baghdad on the Battery.
big fellow with the portable mike came to the table at Weinman's in Trenton
where Herm Ringle and I were having lunch. It was during the 1949
gubernatorial campaign, and in the course of the interview he asked me who
my favorite client was.
Driscoll," I shot back without a moment's hesitation, and went on to
use the opportunity to throw an election pitch for friend Alfred.
gave me a particular charge out of the incident was that Trenton station
WTTM, which was broadcasting the program, then was owned by Elmer Wene,
Driscoll's opponent in the campaign. I thought of all that the other Tuesday
as I watched the antics of Ernie Kovacs on my telescreen, coming through the
mighty CBS TV network. My interviewer that day in 1949 was Ernie Kovacs.
of the Sexes
at eight is having woman trouble. His special problem is Ann, one of the
Gibson girls behind us on Maple Avenue.
couldn't help overhearing, one recent evening just before dinner, this
you hurt me. You're always hurting me."
keep hurting you as long as you keep kissing me."
my boy—I mean, is that my boy?
hurt me in the store today. You threw me down."
told you a dozen times if you didn't stop kissing me I'd do something you
don't hurt Barbara."
doesn't kiss me."
I show him this—ten years from now!
like Barbie better—you sat next to her riding home from the store."
sat next to you going to the store."
wouldn't you sit with me coming back?"
you tried to kiss me."
amazing dialogue—amazing to one who certainly never had to strike or shove
girls to keep them away from his lips—had an epigrammatic epilogue a few
slipped up behind the chair where Bruce was cleaning his shotgun, put her
chubby little arms around his neck and planted a resounding buss on his
Ross," she said, "I'm kissing your brother instead
she thought that little bit of coquetry would arouse
jealousy, she miscalculated the depth of his juvenile and-I
trust- temporary misogyny. Without looking up from Michael
Gorham's Real Book About Indians, he snorted: "Let's keep it that
way." Such troubles I should have.