a day of personal satisfaction

yesterday september 22, 2009 i was invited to the Broadway Salutes 2009 celebration in Duffy Square, Times Square, New York City. this ceremony was to honor the working people who make up the Broadway Theater community for their years of service. i got a 25 year pin and the chance to see my name scrolled on the Clear Channel billboard on 47th street and Broadway.

no i didn’t take pictures. it was nice just sitting there seeing my name and reflecting. i thought i did pretty good for a kid who stole postcards and displays from the theaters to put in my room, oh so many years ago. times square what a memory and oh how it’s changed over the years. but to me i see so many things as clear as day there, ghosts of new york.

one of the things i always loved about the ‘Square’ were the people or should i say characters, like the guys who sold ‘Dancing Balloon Figures’. they worked as a team, one of them standing off to the side operating a clear fishline with the other end attached to a fire hydrant or pole. he usually had a coat over his hand so you wouldn’t see him moving the fishline. the other fellow was the pitchman who gave out the packages took the money. this happened to the theater crowd as they were exiting on their way home. my friends and i would laugh about them blowing up the balloons and trying to make them dance. those were the days. i bet those balloons would be worth a pretty penny now.

one day a friend of mine, barry arnold and i were walking somewhere through the square and i was moaning about not getting anywhere in the ‘biz’ when he stopped in front of on of the many book stores on broadway and said ‘come on’ . he strolled in walking up to the theater section where he pulled from the shelves a theater directory. thumbing thought the index until he got to my name, next to my name were page numbers corresponding to the various shows i had worked on listing my title.

‘there you see’ he said ‘feel better now?’ yes i did.

we continued on to wherever it was we were headed, but that moment stayed with me through all the tough lean years. i was a somebody. i wasn’t until years later after winning a couple emmy awards for my lighting that my estranged family was proud of me, they always wanted me to get a job. i on the other hand would have wished the mom who raised me could see who i was then.

after being downsized at CBS Evening News the day after winning my second emmy i didn’t feel too good about the future, but i stuck around not knowing what else to do. at the end of my last show the title page of credits appeared showing my name. it just stayed there not moving until the copyright appeared. i was almost in tears. that’s how much they thought of me.

millions of people had the chance to see my name on the network shows i’d worked on but what was important to me ,were how the people i worked with felt towards me. but sitting in times square tuesday seeing my name i though to myself ‘you’ve come a long way baby.’

no pictures, just a silly pin and a program that will go in my mementos box along with my last Fillmore East program, some Woodstock letterhead and a few other trinkets. not much when you think about it, just some parts of my life.

and what will tomorrow bring?


One Response to “a day of personal satisfaction”

  1. marywehrhahn Says:

    Wish I had been there to share in the moment… but then again maybe it was one that is best experienced alone… a satisfaction that I may not fully appreciated. That was a part of your life before me and I am very happy for you.
    You know I was there in spirit and beaming with pride for you.
    Io t’amo e multi baci.


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