Ginny and I, not yet married, used to have coffee on weekday mornings at the tiny Chock-Full-of-Nuts store on the corner across the street from the Greenwich Village branch of NYU, where we were both taking classes toward our BA's. (That particular building, incidentally, now called the Brown Building, was, on March 25, 1911, simply referred to as the Triangle, cite of the infamous Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, worst in New York's history, resulting in the deaths of 140, mostly young women, by asphyxiation, burns, multiple injuries). One winter morning, for whatever reason I can't now remember, as we both sat at the tiny counter, I launched into a discourse on Suzy Parker, then the hottest model in the City. There'd been an article on her in the most recent Esquire Magazine, and I was still full of her.
"What a strikingly beautiful young woman!" I crowed, causing a few customers to turn and stare. "Suzy Parker will surely go down in American history as one of the most gorgeous, most delectable females of the mid-20th century!!"
"You talk about her as if she were a Chock-Full-of-Nuts danish," Ginny replied.
"No, she's just a standout, that's all."
No more than 20 minutes later, as the two of us engaged the revolving door to make our way back into the light gray, intermittently rainy mid-morning, I noticed a rather short and pasty-faced young woman, dressed in a notably grubby raincoat, on her way in. Even then, I knew I'd have to explain to my fiancée why I'd scoped-out a "scrungy-looking broad" (my term, when I was later defending myself against the charge of being a " male chauvinist pig."
"Ya know who that "scrungy-looking broad" was that you were ogling just then?"
"Ogling"? No way."
"Suzy Parker, dear."
"I don't think so," I responded, with an all-knowing sneer. "She was short, and did you check out how she was dressed? Strictly Salvation Army . . . dear."
"Well," my wife-to-be got set to answer. Somehow suddenly I knew I was in a peck of trouble, "for one thing, she came to that fashion show my sorority sponsored over there in the Washington Mews last month. She was pointed out to me by someone who should know, believe me. She lives down here in the Village."
"But I thought she was supposed to be so damned tall . . . "
"Me, too. But the camera can make anyone look tall. I mean, look at Alan Ladd."
To be continued...