Lifestyles of the ……

A few weeks ago, I went to a party at the home of some friends of mine who live just down the road from me in the country.  They have a gorgeous place–a barn that they’ve renovated with a huge living room that’s perfect for the parties that they throw.  When I got there, I didn’t know anyone but struck up a conversation with a guy named Peter.  These friends, Karen and Pat, have a tennis court where I frequently play; so it’s not unusual to meet other people who play on their court.  Peter asked me how I knew our hosts and I explained that I had gotten friendly with them from playing tennis together.  When I asked Peter if he also  knew our hosts through some tennis connection,  he told me that it was a business relationship, not tennis, that brought him to the party.  He then offered, “I don’t play tennis…which is really ironic since my step-father was Don Budge“.  For those of you who are too young to know (and for those of  you who are old enough to know but probably have dementia), Don Budge is one of the tennis gods–the Roger Federer of the 1930’s and ’40’s.  I was blown away!  If Don Budge had been my step-father, believe me, you would know about it before I even told you my name.  

I had some fun with Peter about this and moved on to some other topics.  But not before, in some desperate attempt to let him know that I also had some celebrity in my background, I told him that an ex-girlfriend’s uncle had been the sailor in the famous Alfred Eisenstaedt photo in Times Square on VJ day.  I don’t think Peter was impressed.  Before we finished our conversation, I learned that Peter owned a lot of property in the New Paltz area and was probably pretty wealthy. 

As the evening wore on, I met a number of other people I hadn’t known before.  Each one seemed to be more well off than the one before. I met an interesting couple who, among other things,  had and flew their own airplane.  This was followed by a very brief meeting with a woman whose “boyfriend” owned a number of airports in the area.  That’s right….airports.  Jeez!!  Not a country bumpkin in the crowd.  I tried really, really hard to explain that my house down the road was my vacation home, a second home.  I don’t think anyone was impressed.  It occurred to me that if I was going to feel like a piker, I might as well be in the Hamptons.  

Still, all in all I had a really nice time.  At the end of the weekend, on the way back to my other home in Brooklyn, I stopped off on the Upper West Side to meet someone.  Sometime during dinner, as we were comparing biographies, J mentioned to me that her mother had been a Miss Subways. For those of you too young to remember (and for those of you who are old enough to blah blah blah,  you know the rest……), Miss Subways was a beauty pageant held  for New York locals  from the 1940’s through the 1970’s.  The winner’s photo and brief biography would be displayed in subway cars throughout the city.  Sadly, this is exactly the kind of thing that impresses me. 

When I finally arrived back at my primary home I was feeling a bit insecure and  very sober about the lack of celebrity in my life.   Even as I understood this kind of thing is really unimportant in the scheme of things…. I was still disturbed by that void.   And then it came to me!  I remembered… remembered that my father had been this close to being elected the Justice of the Peace of that metropolis,  Kerhonkson, NY!   Don Budge, Don Shmudge.    Hah!

Don Budge

Uncle Carl

Miss Subways

Almost Justice of The Peace



4 Responses to “Lifestyles of the ……”

  1. Overly Earnest Says:

    Best yet —

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    ..thanks…means a lot to me.
    as the inspiration for the blog…any complaints will be forwarded on to you (the good stuff i’ll hold on to)

    and not ‘overly earnest’ at all.


  3. luap Says:

    Helen Lee!
    The Helen Lee!
    You know someone related to Helen Lee!
    And to think I sit next to someone that knows someone that knows Helen Lee!

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