Thursday, December 24, 2015

Schulenberg's Page: Paris, Part XXXIX

Peggy and Nye Pharr, September, 5, 1964.
Schulenberg's Page: Paris, Part XXXIX
Text and illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

MY AMERICAN NIGHTS. Peggy and Nye Pharr were American ex-patriots who'd lived in Paris for over ten years. Although not officially married, they were very compatible and lived in a comfortable left bank apartment.

Nye was a writer, had worked in advertising in New York, and was an old friend of Paul Bartel's father. No matter how many classes he took, no matter how long he'd lived in Paris, his knowledge of the French language was barely rudimentary. Peggy worked in the Paris office of Columbia Records, was a fluent speaker, and both were big jazz fans.

One summer, Paul Bartel's sister Lucy came to Paris with her friend Kathy.
The two girls quickly shared my routine, beginning at the Café Flore ...
And then dinner in the neighborhood where Lucy, without fail, ordered the same familiar thing every night: Steak-frites.
Finally, we'd finish the night at a club ...
The Fiacre was a very popular and sexually ambiguous club not far from the Boulevard St. Germain. Kathy surprised us — and herself — flirting with a very pretty German girl. That was the night she realized she was bisexual!
While Lucy developed a crush on Daniel ...
They experienced another view of Parisian life when we were invited to Nye and Peggy's.
But the next night, it was back to the other world, one which was vastly different than New Jersey! The Flore ...
And later, back to the clubs ...
The Pergola near the Mabillon Metro was a good place to go after the clubs, and even at 5:00 AM was usually crowded. It was there, in the middle of the activity, that I heard an unmistakable British voice say to her French escort, "... and tell him I want it on French bread!"
Lucy and Kathy left to return to New Jersey, Kathy with new realizations and Lucy with a little nostalgia for her truncated flirtation with Daniel. Years later she shared that she always wondered what his life was like.

The next season, Lucy's parents came to Paris and with them, I spent another evening with Nye and Peggy.
We went to dinner.
After dinner, Nye and Peggy took us to le Living Room, a tiny, dark jazz club down a narrow alley. I have a vague memory of American jazz pianist Bud Powell stopping by our table to say hello.
Nye and Peggy, after being together for more than a decade, finally got married later that year. I later learned that shortly after, they'd divorced!
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