I have been a fan of singer Vic Damone since 1949. He appeared at my high school. My friends and I started a fan club (Damone's Queens). We all hailed from Queens.
Many years ago, the Paramount Theatre in New York City used to feature a movie and a crooner -- Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Johnny Ray, and, of course, my favorite, Vic Damone. There was one ticket price (Saturday through all-day performances). In the 1950s, Vic appeared at Bill Miller's Riviera in New Jersey.
My dear dad drove us all the way from Queens. Vic gave us a ringside table. I have pictures taken with him. I still have my scrapbook, yellow with age, but precious.
I followed his career. I went to all of his concerts at Westbury Music Fair (always a packed audience). When he sang "An Affair to Remember," he asked all lovers to hold hands. I wish my husband was still alive to hold hands.
Coincidentally, I got nostalgic and sent him a letter. Lo and behold, he called me personally a few weeks ago. It brought me back to the giddy, teenage girl of 14 (I'm 77 now). Vic is 84, sings to his grandchildren, and still plays golf.
--Rosary Rick, Levittown
Never tiring of life's carousel
At the wake the other night of the wife of a dear friend, I got to thinking about life in general. I have a poster framed in my cellar of the Nunley's Carousel that used to be in Baldwin on Sunrise Highway. I remember taking my kids for rides on the merry-go-round that they seemed to enjoy very much.
When I think about it, life is like a merry-go-round. It stops every so often to let someone off when their life is coming to an end. It was an anxious time waiting to get on the merry-go-round. For some, the rush to get the outside horses, where you could grab the rings, was the best.
Among the silver rings was a brass one. Any time you got the brass ring, it allowed you to have another ride. If you were too slow in getting on, you got an inside horse that maybe went up and down, but you could not reach out for the rings. Life is like that. Some go up and down and some can reach for the rings. Sometimes in life you get the outside horse and sometimes you get the inside horse, which wasn't as good.
Then, after many rides, the merry-go-round had to slow down, and every so often, someone had to get off. The ride was over. It is sad but that's life.
I guess the moral is to do your best at all times and get the outside horse where you have many chances at the rings. I like to think of the silver rings as "friends." Grab as many as you can and occasionally you will get some brass ones. This makes the slow-down later on in life much easier to take.
Forgive the musings of an old man who sometimes has a hard time expressing his feelings and who has a deep love for family, children, grandchildren and friends and who doesn't want to get off the merry-go-round just yet. It has slowed down to be sure, but it is still going around.
--James Tomlin, Baldwin
She's there for a great teacher
He taught at Brookside Junior High School and was the vocal music choral director at Calhoun High School. He taught me the value of singing various types of music and listening to everyone around you while singing. He taught me to strive for perfection. He also cared for his students as young people.
After I completed Brookside, I attended Mepham High School and visited him after school on a weekly basis for impromptu conversations.
Mr. Thayer is my best friend and a second dad to me. We have been there for each other on special occasions in our lives as well as family tragedies. I am a nurse practitioner and he appointed me as his health care proxy.
In the spring of 2007, I set up the S. Talbot Thayer Vocal Music Scholarship at Calhoun High School in his honor. It was my way of saying thanks for all he has done for me over the years.
On Oct. 9, 2009, he had a subarachnoid hemorrhage and was in critical condition at St. Luke's Roosevelt. My son and I had just flown to see my mom in Florida, and within 24 hours I was back in New York at his bedside, making critical decisions to save his life. He is living at home with 24/7 care and is fortunate to be alive.
He is a part of my family and is loved so much. Our lives are better because of him.
--Ingrid Bloomfield, Wantagh