stella face

part 12

I cannot go in to too many details of the next couple of months on the grounds that it may incriminate me and others who went out on a limb to help me stay here and work and make money to survive. But I can tell you I did get a job that was created especially for me as a hostess at the International House of Pancakes aka (I.H.O.P.) on Miami Beach.

There had never been a hostess before, but at that time Freddie Laker was flying the Brit’s in by the thousands for such a low price that every day working folks who had never traveled outside of Great Britain before were taking advantage of this deal. Coming here on package deal which brought them to the hotels such as the Carillon and included a bus trip 2 days Disney world. Most of them stayed in the hotel and walked across the street to our restaurant every night for dinner, went to Disney on the bus got severe sun burn and heat sickness and returned home, with the blisters and story to tell of their trip to the United States Of America.

The line outside our I.H.O.P. every night went down the street, I used to go up and down the line with glasses of cold water for everyone and sing and dance and have fun with my fellow countrymen as they waited in line or in the Queue, as we say. They were happy and appreciated me as someone from back home, able to make them feel welcome. Some of them actually lived one street away from my sisters and knew them .Anyway I made very little money and no tips, but I got free food and was eventually made night manager closing the place at night and partying in the bars across the street till morning.

I worked with beautiful people, like myself a long way from home alone, and trying to build a new life we were French, Haitian, Bahamian, Cuban, and Honduran and oh yes one from New York. I am still friends with Annie the French girl and Coreen from New York to this day. And who knew that one American girl who worked on the day shift would one day be my step daughter.

Her name was Jeanie, pretty girl, always full of fun.  Her dad used to come to pick her up often from work. Sometimes he would come in and have something to eat, I didn’t pay much attention, but I saw him looking at me many times. I was 27 years old and was enjoying many men looking at me with goo goo eyes.

All the police officers would congregate in our place at night for coffee and pancakes and they would flirt with me a lot, and ask me to talk so this could hear my accent which they seemed fascinated with, so I was enjoying all the attention and was dating quite a bit.

Then one day Jeanie started asking me to date her dad. I told her she was crazy, she kept saying what a wonderful man he was and how he had separated recently from her mother. How kind he was and how crazy he was about me but was too shy to ask me himself.

I told her she was crazy he was 19 years older than me; has 6 grown children, one of whom is the same age as me. He had grandchildren for God’s sake but she asked every day just go for dinner with him just one time. George was not a very tall guy, thin, cute with a mustache but not really my type but finally I gave in and agreed to go out with him for dinner.