One day my sister called me out of the blue, asking if I could help her with her “garage sale.” I asked her why– and what are you selling? She replies: “Everything– my house, my Mercedes Benz — everything! I’m moving to Florida to work with my ex boss, the famous beautician John, and my daughter is coming from Caracas too– depending on what happens with her romance with Carlos. So she may be moving to Florida if she doesn’t get married to this Mexican director or the president of Mexicana first. But Mexican men don’t divorce, especially when they have a high position and the wife has a big, powerful family and children!”
Well, I guess that’s their business!
The next day we set up a big garage sale. I went and put out signs for the sale everywhere , signs that I myself made, and I started selling things for her, next to mama, who was there too. That day we sold everything and what was not sold Galina gave to us and her neighbors as gifts, She was so happy giving almost everything away just to get rid of it al. When we asked her how much she made, she answered: “Enough to buy another car and a home on the water in Florida!” But she kept her favorite antiques, furniture from famous people she got when they divorced; being their manicurist she had some very expensive, beautiful furniture, from people like General Omar Bradley to Jayne Mansfield to Elvis Presley, and on and on!
Then we sat on her front lawn drinking champagne and eating red caviar with black bread, playing Churavly, a favorite song of all of us and many others, like Moscow Nights, very popular in those times. Russian music, tragic but somehow happy and romantic too, and most of the time melancholic, and being very strong Russian people when we drink we are happy or sad we dance and sing the evening away and then go to dinner and after all, happily we went to sleep, me too at my home– the little castle full of greenery and flowers..
But sadness set in the next day: Galina was going away! I was going to be all alone here, with more parties and more drinking. More nights showing up at my mamasita’s doorstep drunk, with Mariachis, bringing her a serenade. That was all I could do to show her my love and gratitude…
In those days you could take champagne to the airport and flowers for a farewell party for your friends and family, a real Bon Voyage. We had done this fiesta for many years since we first moved to North America.
Remember once Galina flew with her daughter to Europe, and to Hawaii and Egypt with mama, I have pictures of her on a camel– at that time very few people traveled that why, it was expensive, the whole trip for the 3 of them.
This time it was only across the American continent to Florida, but we still had that lovely bacchanal (sorry, the bacchanals were Daud’s parties,) this was just drunken parties, all with a beautiful excuse of farewell.
How far I had fallen from my early 30s, from fine dry champagne and cognac VSOP, Napoleon, to just plain vodka or scotch, just booze. That was a long way down from elegant drinking to just boozing, even stealing the vodka or anything and once in a while a glass of good champagne just to remember how it tasted. In those days all the good liquor was not hidden behind lock and key, so it was easier to steal something good, then use some cheap bottles to carry it away..
My sister had wonderful furniture, from all the famous people were her customers, her clients because she was one of the best manicurist/pedicurists at that time (early 60s). That was the Golden Hollywood era! She actually invented the French nail manicure and extension, but did not patent it (ignorance is not always bliss!) Her client’s gave things to her when they got divorced or remodeled their homes– after all, they were their confidantes and friends and she made them beautiful for the world.