Walking home one evening from the house of the Cacique Maria Luisa Escobar, I stopped for an ice cream with an Italian friend, and in walks in Juan Carlos Blaky My heart just fell to the floor at his feet. Juan Carlos was the same man in the elevator of the hotel at Porlamar years earlier. I had been sending anonymous notes to him, asking to meet him at the movie theatre, but I was shy and lied to him about what I would be wearing. He would look for me but I never seemed to be there. But now noticed me everywhere in town, it turned out, and he confessed to me that he had always suspected I was the one who sent those notes. He was intrigued by this little mocosa as he called me, and soon we were dating– going to movies, holding hands and kissing, just a like a dream come true.
One evening, after my midday show with Renny Ottolina, he was telling me after dinner how happy and lucky we were to have each other. He was going to Porlamar for a week on business, he said, but when he got back we wanted to talk to me seriously. At the time I had a very busy social life, as an actress, as a model, and how as a ballerina on my own television show! Part of my work involved being Miss Seagrams VO, where I would to to private clubs and liquor stores to promote the firm’s products and demonstrate how to make cocktails. I actually became very knowledgable about mixing drinks, to the point that they sent me to the most competitive liquor store, owned by William. He marketed his own line of beverages, from Dundee Scotch to Beefeater gin,but I was instructed to put our product on display and promote them aggressively. At the time it was legal to give away cocktail samples and talk with the store’s customers.
Soon William invited to me to dinner at a nearby restaurant, a cozy candle-lit place, out of the way (so his wife wouldn’t know- and I didn’t know he had a wife!). I thought of myself as a good girl, with high moral standards, so how come I was dating these men and behaving promiscuously? Perhaps I thought that life was too short, and I should move like a butterfly from flower to flower. I certain was not thinking about the future, trying to hurt or take money from anyone, or wanting to be bad. I was just trying to enjoy life to the fullest and I found all these men fascinating. One was proposing marriage to me; another was my pygmalion father figure; another was a high society polo player. I liked them all, and I thought I loved them– did I know what love was?
My life became a non-stop busy schedule of work and play, and I would go dancing, fishing, playing polo, stopping off in nightclubs, with these men, none of whom knew about the others. they were writing poems, and composing songs for me, giving me presents, taking me to country clubs and even to the president’s house. At the end of the day, however, I always went home alone to mama and the family. Looking back on the busy life of this sixteen year old, I even think that I envy myself– how is that possible?
In the midst of all these activities, one day I was to a private home by the private airport of General Marcos Jimenez, the rule of the country. It was a big party with Cuban dancers, a Brazilian singer, and there I would meet the generalissimo. He was a short, fat man with a buddha smile- I thought to myself, this man cannot be the great dictator. But it was all very polite and harmless, and afterwards his social secretary Victor Matute took me home.
The next day I had a show with Cacique Maria Luisa Escobar, a kind of Venezuelan Indian dancing and folklore presentation. My friend Marussa, a girl who worked in the same office building where I had worked, invited me to go to a big polo match between Venezuela and Argentina. So after my 12 noon show with Renny Ottolina, I went to the 2 pm polo match at the Country Club. It was up in a little valley in the nearby mountains, about 20 minutes from the Tamanaco hotel. The polo players were all attractive– what a bunch of handsome men, I thought– but I only had eyes for one, a Venezuelan player with big eyes and rich brown hair flowing down. He was very good looking and proud, this man Oscar Urreiztieta. After the game, I somehow wound up with his group of people as we went to the Polo Club bar, where I met his friends Howard Boulton (the son of Lord Boulton), Dr. Enrique Machado, and Enrique Villarreal, who was married to the daughter of the president.
As I sat and drank with this group of powerful and attractive men, I thought to myself, I like this high life! Even in high society, there is another level of society even higher, and this was group of very fine men- one was from Harvard University in the US, another from Cambridge in the UK. And here I was, with no education at all!
One day, Juan Carlos suddenly proposed to me and put a beautiful ring on my finger. I did not say yes, only maybe- I had no idea what the future held! Then he had to go off again for the Hilton hotel business meetings, so I just continued going out to nightclubs and living my life minute to minute. At home, Father was getting more and more depressed, drinking vodka like it was water, straight from a glass without ice or soda. This was about the time that we moved to the Italian neighborhood…..