Thursday, June 28, 2018

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part CLXV

by Bob Schulenberg

Spring, 1969:
Anti-Vietnam War protests everywhere! Nixon had made good with one of his campaign promises;  he’d promised to unify us and bring us together and he had largely achieved that.  Everybody I knew and a majority of Manhattan couldn’t stand him!

We were unified!

I had regular assignments and several times when I had a major deadline every day.  It was such a satisfying feeling to be doing something I loved to do and to be getting recognized and paid to do it!

Needless to say, my mother was thrilled and carried a collection of my current magazine or advertising work with her to every luncheon, club meeting or card party that she attended.

I still found time to relax or hang out during the day! Being around crowds of people made it easier to sequester myself and work through the quiet nights with no interruptions.
Being around so many people in fact made me grateful for the nocturnal solitude.

While I worked I had Pacifica station WBAI-FM to keep me aware of where the action was and who were the major actors!  Sometimes I’d have to meet with an advertising or magazine art director to talk about a job but usually I’d get the description and details from my rep, Pema Browne.
Annie Rieger invited me to an evening at her friend Edward Carrol’s apartment.  I didn’t know much about him aside from what Annie’s told me, but he was smart, bright and had interesting friends.  He was a very generous host.
The following day, I met Bob Olton for lunch;  he was getting bored being an advertising copywriter and wanted to be a novelist.  Writing copy for products he didn’t care much about was getting to him!  He was beginning to feel that words didn’t mean anything.
And Burt Bluestein, who’d worked on our movie The Secret Cinema, had met and moved in with Christina Mason. Eventually they would marry and move to Los Angeles where Burt would become well respected as a motion picture production manager!
Gary Van Kirk and Bill Rilling and I had decided to take a trip to Puerto Rico. Gary and Bill could lie in the sun and become gloriously bronze-colored. I, however, have what amounts to a sun allergy and can lie in the sun and become hideously and painfully sunburned!

I’d read about a caucasian writer who’d taken a pill that enabled him to become so dark that he could pass as African American.  He wrote a book called Black Like Me telling how his life changed when people thought he was black.
I went to my dermatologist and asked if he knew about the pill.  He did.  He said it was called trisoralen but it could be tough on your liver.  I asked if it would enable me to sit on a Caribbean beach without being hospitalized. He asked if I were a drinker?

I told him just an occasional red wine.

He said that it would probably be okay and gave me a prescription!

So I was going to the Caribbean and would be able to get a tan. I wouldn’t have to be wrapped up like something weird or possibly toxic sitting in the shadows as Bill and Gary cavorted in the sun.

Maybe I could write a book, Tan Like Me!
Contact Bob here.
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