This is how my blog looked beginning in December, 2004. Pretend there’s an arrow leading to the first two words in the next paragraph!
Sam’s Summer is still one of my favorite stories. And absolutely true. The woman who had lived in my apartment for 25 years was a madam. I wish I had kept all the cards men put through the door or in this case gave me. The names and companies were—well it’s a good thing I was never into blackmail.
The woman who lived next door was kept by a scion of two famous families—one known for good works; the other for playboys.
One night my college best friend, Shelby and I were going out to dinner with a group of friends. For some reason we invited my neighbor, Lizzy, along. Lizzy got wasted, very wasted, very quickly, and when I went to the ladies room ate all the shrimp off my plate.
Shelby found that hilarious. It wasn’t. We got Lizzy back to her apartment before she threw up. I had her keys as she could never work the lock. Wasted was her usual condition. She didn’t work or do anything but apply and reapply her makeup.
Her boyfriend came on weeknights for a few hours, and when his wife and children were away. He didn’t trust Lizzy with money, and hated her taste so he bought all her clothes. He even ordered and bought her food that was then delivered from the Gristedes a few blocks down Madison.
I hated that Gristedes as you had to make a shopping list, and give it to the man behind the counter who then walked around selecting your food. I mostly bought roast chicken until I got food poisoning from one.
One Saturday morning I was sleeping, and woke up because I heard Lizzy screaming: “call the police, call the police.” I admit I waited a few minutes before I called the police—her screaming became more and more muffled and I was scared.
The police came. I heard Lizzy’s boyfriend meet them at the entryway to the building. The police then rang my doorbell, and rushed into my apartment though I hadn’t said they could come in.
The were very angry at me.
“Do you know who that man is?”
“Yes, of course I do.”
“Then why did you call us?”
“Because Lizzy was screaming ‘call the police.’ ”
“Don’t you know how important he is, and how crazy she is?”
They had a point. She was crazy.
But he was only important if you were a member of a certain part of society. I doubt even they took him seriously. I might have only been 26, and knew nothing about abuse, but I knew men could be deceptive and dangerous.
Though I had no way of knowing that then, making that call would be the first step in my own survival.
The next year Gristedes became self–service, and Lizzy’s boyfriend found her an apartment in a doorman building. I ran into her once, and she invited me over. I declined, and never saw her again.