- Plant Your Dream! by YourEnchantedGardener
- Our Neighbors at Harpos by YourEnchantedGardener 15 y
- Millionaires by Tina Andrews 15 y
My Dad knew many famous people. One of the most famous individuals was Jack La Lanne. As my Dad told me the story, Jack wanted to go into the gym business with my Dad. At the time my Dad was already renting a space on Polk Street in San Francisco. My Dad did not agree with some of the changes Jack wanted to do. I do not think Jack was working for my dad as was mentioned before. He was more of a friend and possible business partner.
My Dad as always felt his way was better than anyone else’s. He admitted he told Jack that he did not know what he was doing and that his way was the best. We all know the outcome of that story, Jack La Lanne became famous with his television shows, his physical fitness programs and his health facilities.
My Dad faithfully watched all of Jack’s television shows. Sometimes he would exercise along with them, other times he took notes, but almost always he talked to Jack while he was on our television set. It was rather disturbing and sad to witness. I would have to tip toe around the house and not say a work in fear that my Dad would yell at me. He would often say something like “Tina, have some respect, Jack la Lanne is on now and you know how I feel about this man.”
I always thought my Dad should have just picked up the phone, swallowed his words and admitted he was wrong and had made a mistake. My Dad could have been a guest on his show or perhaps worked for Jack La Lanne. I think my Dad was too proud to want to work for someone else. He wanted to be the man in charge. He wanted to run the business.
As we all know my Dad was not a businessman. He may have been an expert in his field but not in how to make money out of it. I think maybe his smoothie recipes and other items served at Harpo’s Place should be recorded and possibly published. I was always impressed with the things he made me for dinner. I have to admit some of his smoothies came in the most unattractive colors. His base was usually carrot juice or beet juice and when he added other fruits and vegetables the color of his drinks changed to odd shades of murky brown and green. They did not taste bad and many tasted wonderful, but the color certainly wasn’t marketable. It took guts for me at the age of six on to drink these things. You never knew what it would taste like. Sometimes it tasted like radishes, turnips and parsley. Before he was a vegetarian he used to add cooked liver to these drinks as he thought I was malnourished. I could not stand those drinks. I told my physician and he laughed and explained to my parents that I could take vitamin pills to make up for these deficiencies and did not have to consumer liver drinks.
There is another story. My Dad was a professional masseuse. He knew many celebrities. One who he claims always adored him was Liberace. I was about 12 when he boasted about this. He said Liberace bought him jewelry, expensive gifts and gave him big tips. The funny thing about this story was I never saw my Dad wearing any jewelry from him. If he did get big money he must have spent it. He never had an LP, a photo or a book signed by Liberace. In fact, he did not have any of his recordings. I would have thought if he was so important to Liberace he would have given him free LP’s or at least a signed photo or one signed record.
I play piano so I was interested in what pieces Liberace performed. I began to look for some of Liberace’s recordings at thrift shops. I always hoped I would find one that was signed to Harpo love Liberace....Anyway along the way I found LP’s of old musicals and vocalists. It led me down a different path. My Dad seemed to love whenever I played the piano. I used to try to find songs that would interest him and entertain him more than my required classical pieces I practiced for my piano lessons. Because of my Dad, I tried to find pieces that people could sing along too.
This led to me later in life working in a piano bar and restaurant. If I had not heard all those stories about Liberace I may have become a more disciplined classical musician instead of the musical/operretta buff I am. Maybe I would have gone to SF Conservatory of Music instead of moving to New York to be near all the Broadway shows and piano bars.
I do believe that my father as a masseuse did come in contact with famous people while he worked in Lake Tahoe area and perhaps he did work in Las Vegas too. I know he did live about six years in Lake Tahoe; he started a commune of some sort with several people much younger than himself at the time (rather shocking in fact); the best word to describe these people at the time would be to call them “hippies”.
When my Dad came to visit me he seemed to need to have a story of some sort. He always wanted to look good in my eyes. He walked around our apartment like he was the king or a god of some sort. In reality the poor guy had no place to hang his hat and often came to us when he was out of a job, out of money and had nowhere else to live. I admired his courage to keep up the act. He always made us feel that he was doing us a favor by living with us intead of the other way around.
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