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    Reconnecting with My New York City Roots

    I’ve told you recently about my reconnecting with a friend from the Phoenix Theater Company way back in the 1980s.  Raj is a wonderful blast from my past. He’s also very detailed in his research and reading. When I had written a few weeks ago about all the neighborhoods I had lived in New York, he responded asking me if the landlord in question was someone featured that week in the New York Times. Much to my delight, it was indeed Michael Grabow. I used to wait on him and his then wife and another couple in the late 1980s. This was at Columbus Restaurant which I’ve told you guys about in the past.

    In the course of waiting on him, I became friendly with him, his wife and friends. So much so that at one point Michael offered me an apartment in the West Village of Manhattan. Now, any of you who know anything about real estate in New York City know that it is a coveted prize to obtain a good apartment. As far as I know it still is. The apartment at 72 Barrow Street that Michael offered me was unique in that it had a courtyard and ivy growing all over the bricks of the building. It also had wonderful French windows.

    I was a sun worshipper even back then. I would go up on the roof with a folding chair and lay out on what is called “tar beach” in Manhattan. I guess it was just a matter of a fairly lengthy subway ride out to the beaches on Long Island to get to the real thing, but I would use “tar beach” as a quick sun fix. Now, keep in mind, I wasn’t heat sensitive yet, as I became so later with the onset of MS.

    Anyway, Michael’s wife at the time sadly passed away and I recently found out Michael remarried her best friend, who I also used to wait on. It’s a small world even in New York City.

    I was delighted to hear from Michael after I sent him a letter to his Broadway Real Estate firm. My aide opened my mail and brought me to the computer to show me he had gotten back to me by email. He brought me up to date on his wife, kids and now grand-kids.

    I enclose part of his email so you can see how delighted I was to hear from him:

    “Dear Kathryn, Wow, what a kick hearing from you after all these years.  I was sorry to hear that you have to deal with MS, but it sounds as if your life is active and full.  Remembering you the way I do (“if you remember me at all…”—are you kidding?) You always had a spirit and drive superior to everyone I knew,  so the fact that your life is as full as you describe does not surprise me in the least.”

    Remember, Michael was recently written up in the New York Times and Washington Post, but he has always been a nice, down to earth guy to me. Notoriety doesn’t affect my take on a person. People are people. What they do and if they are famous because of it is inconsequential.

    Seems to me I’ve been reconnecting with a lot of my past lately. I’m so glad I did with Michael.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com