An Epiphany in the Elevator!

by Marilynn Scott Murphy.


Around 2:30-ish Friday September 4, Mocha and I passed on getting in an elevator inhabited by one human and one BIG dog. As Mocha and I were descending from the 10th Floor I experienced a wave of heartwarming satisfaction, an epiphany in the elevator.

I had planned to be free today, the Friday before Labor Day, so that I could experience a full four days with nothing to do. My only scheduled time was lunch at noon with Reverend Dick Leonard, from All Souls Church. Lunch was to be at Café Luxembourg, commonly known as “my Kitchen” because I live upstairs.

I was a few minutes late because I had miscalculated how far 305 West End Avenue (Dick’s new home) was. This was absurd because it was one block away from 325 West End Avenue, which was one of the first apartments I experienced in New York City. It was the nine-room home of Vera and Lester Lockwood and their children, Arthur, Lester Junior, Guy and my friend Helen. I had met Helen through her brilliant actress mother, Vera Lockwood. Vera had been hired by The Hartford Stage Company to play Serafina in “The Rose Tattoo” by Tennessee Williams. I was hired to play a neighborhood child.

As fate would have it, it was my third year as a “Local Jobber” which made me eligible to join Actors Equity Association at the age of 16! Charlotte Moore, whom I had met at age 14 in the Stage Company production of “The Three Sisters” played Olga, and I was a young Russian maid. Charlotte asked if I really wanted to be an actress. “Oh yes, with all my heart,” I proclaimed. Charlotte went to the Artistic Direct, Paul Weidner, and encouraged him to give me my Equity card so I would not have to go into hiding by changing my name. Ironically, there was a Marilyn Murphy already in Actors Equity so I had to change my name anyway! My full birth name is Marilynn Scott Murphy. I dropped the Murphy and so my acting name became Marilynn Scott.

I adored Charlotte. She took me under her wing when I was 14. I was dutifully doing my homework while sitting on the floor. Standing over me, Charlotte exclaimed “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???”

“My homework,” I sheepishly replied.

“NO YOU’RE NOT! YOU ARE COMING TO LUNCH WITH ME.”

I jumped up on demand, and followed her lead. I have loved Charlotte ever since that day.

In the dressing room, she helped me with my make-up, helped me with my homework, and has given me every opportunity possible throughout my entire life...I am now 68 years old.

Charlotte fell in love with John McMartin around the same time that I fell in love with Bernard Erhard. Charlotte and John had a remarkable life for over a half a century in New York City. I ran away with Barney after graduating from Adelphi University having completed a summer tour of “No, No Nanette” starring Helen Gallagher, Jerry Antes and Sara Louis as Nanette. Sara and I became roommates. We had met in 1971 at the Canal Fulton Summer Theatre when we had played sisters in “Fiddler on the Roof” starring Shelly Berman. Sara was Chava and I played Hodel.

THIS IS A SERIOUS DETOUR FROM WHAT I STARTED TO WRITE ABOUT ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2020.

Actually, not unlike the eight-year detour I took while loving Barney and living in Chicago, Minneapolis and Los Angeles. That was eight years of deep love and high drama.

BUT BACK TO FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 and my “EPIPHANY IN THE ELEVATOR”

Taking Rev. Dick Leonard to lunch for his first social outing since moving into 305 WEA was my treat to him that turned into a gift for me. I had navigated his wheel chair up the slight hill on West 70th Street to Café Luxembourg (“my kitchen”!) where Schuyler and Rachel were the “hostesses with the mostesses” and Stephanie was our lovely server.

Dick and I both chose the Odeon Salmon entrée and we both chose Harry’s Super Sundae for dessert. Dick was as charming as ever, full of great stories about his move and an extra special story of VASA!

Vasa was a sunken ship in the 17th Century – 1628, to be exact. She was salvaged in the early 1960’s and was restored as a museum in the 1980’s, inaugurated by King Carl XVI Gustaf June 15, 1990. The Museum reopened in 2013. I can’t wait to go to Stockholm!!!

BACK TO THE “EPIPHANY IN THE ELEVATOR”

After taking Dick back to 305 WEA, I decided to take Mocha for a walk. My heart was so full of sharing lunch with Dick. I felt I had experienced such a valuable exchange that it was not necessary to accomplish anything more on Friday 9/4. The news was so full of the degrading remarks from the “Commander in Chief” who has no respect for those he is in charge of. He degraded the members of the Service as “losers and suckers.” It was so disgusting that I chose to focus on the sweetness of life that I had just experienced with Dick Leonard.

Later Friday night, Mocha and I walked to the Hudson River. We had just missed sunset, but the lights of New Jersey and the city danced on the water.

I purchased a Signature Sangria not knowing that I had to order food, too! No Problem. Chicken tenders fit the bill. We sat a “socially distant” 10 feet away from a delightful accordionist. Mocha and I shared the chicken tenders (the first people food I have ever given to him).

This was a special day. My day had been sweet and full...avoiding the news and sharing lunch with Dick and dinner with Mocha.

My “Elevator Epiphany” had been fulfilled.

God had whispered in my heart.......

SHARE GOOD FOOD AND LOVE: THAT MAKES A DAY COMPLETE, WORTHY AND VALUABLE!!!!

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