After two brothers, I pray for a sister and get one.
· Study voice and piano.
· Show up at a club to sing with a band and discover the bass player is my old grade school art teacher and a friend and frat brother of my father (who is a Pentecostal). Oops!
Spring 1968. I am watching a television commercial that excites me.
· The song is “Up, Up and Away” written by the great Jimmy Webb and performed by the Fifth Dimension. Travelers, crew members, rushing through the terminal. Excitement. Adventure. Promise. The airline is TWA. I tell my mother, “That’s what I want to do,” and she says to go ahead, see what can come of it.
June 1968. I leave Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for Kansas City, Missouri.
August 1968. I am finally in New York.
· But not the New York of my fantasies. No long awnings extending from doorway to the curb. No doormen summoning taxis for me with Henry Mancini compositions in the background. Well, Corona, Queens, but it’s a building with its own pool and steam room. Okay, the apartment is an L-shaped studio shared with another international flight attendant from Cleveland, Ohio, but the rent, including utilities, is $200 a month!
Between 1968 and 1973, in no particular order, I
· Experience a near-miss somewhere over the Alps (the plane was close enough that I recognize it as AA)
· Beat a Roman in the head with a shoe box when he grabs my crotch near the Spanish Steps
· Out Leonard Nimoy, who’s traveling in coach, with, “Spock, will it be chicken, beef or veal?”
· Flee a bullfight arena in horror and tears in Madrid
· Purchase my first car and drive for a year without a license
· Discover New York theater
· Vow never to serve another cup of coffee again.
1973 and onward, I
· Hang out with actors and playwrights
· Am mentored in playwrighting by Ed Bullins and have several small productions and staged readings
· Use my “quota” job at a television station to read at least 4 books a week and compose poetry on anything available.
Overcome public shyness enough to do public poetry readings with a group, alone as featured poet, accompanied by music
· Return to the study of piano and classical voice. Rehearse “Alma del core” by Caldara, “Tu lo sai” by Torelli and “Se tu m’ami, se sospiri ” by Pergolesi and discover I’m not cut out for performance art when, during a student recital, before friends and family, I go blank during “Se tu m’ami, se sospiri,” because my coach is behind me whispering, “Louder, louder, Miss Bahati. ” Ouch. I fall back on my stewardess training and flash my beautiful smile while the accompaniest carries on. With nothing more to lose, I look at him and then miraculously pick up where I floundered and complete the aria when my coach whispers a timely phrase. Everyone applauds. Who knew?
· Work for ABC Radio News as a secretary (loved the people I worked for) and then as a studio director of network newscasts (loved this job and company that was)
· Attend The New School and earn a BA in liberal arts
Attend Columbia University’s School of the Arts, co-edit the literary journal,
· Punched between the shoulder blades one night by an old lady because she wants the taxi I’m hailing
· ASPCA, Former Volunteer Cat Socializer
· SGI-USA, a lay Buddhist and peace organization
· Artist Conference Network (ACN)