Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brooklyn goes to Ascot

London in the late 70s…McCann would sponsor a day at the races, Ascot actually.

We would invite our clients, suppliers and senior staff for a day out. We had a tent with drinks and food.
It was quite a posh thing and it was something new and different for me.

In Chicago we would sometimes take clients to a baseball game. No Champagne, just beer and hot dogs

Now the real problem for Ascot was the outfit, men had to wear a morning coat. The ladies wore flowered dresses with big hats. I naturally had no morning coat so I went to Moss bros. to rent it. Moss bros. was an amazing store…Google it, you could find anything as well as pretty much rent anything in the way of clothes.

I owned a tuxedo since London was a tuxedo kind of place…but I had to rent a morning suit.

When you wear tuxedos or morning suits there are a couple of tests that tell you if they are rented or they are actually owned.

If they fit well and are clean, they are probably rented.

Guys that have their own usually don’t actually fit them any more; also if they have a slight green sheen they inherited them from their Grandfathers or their Fathers.

This green sheen adds a bit of class to the whole thing.

Guys that have their own do not seem to care very much about the shoes they wear…I have seen suede shoes with greenish tuxedos.

It really takes confidence to pull that off, I suppose when you have your own tuxedo or your Grandfather's, confidence is part of the package.

My tuxedos had no green sheen since my Grandfather was a fisherman in Asia Minor, no real call for a tuxedo and certainly none for a morning suit.

There is another test for a rented morning suit, the vest (waist coat) has no back, just straps, a real one has a back to the vest. If it is not greenish and you give him a manly hug you can tell by how the vest feels in back.
Remember no back to the vest and straps it is rented, probably from Moss Bross.

Back to Ascot.

The Queen came in her carriage and opened the event, Prince Phillip was there, I’m sure his morning suit was his own…no need to hug him and check on the vest.

It was a great day, lots of greenish outfits very classy, also lots of well fitting outfits, the Moss Bros. crowd.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Diving 50 years ago in Nassau.

We have been married over fifty years and we went to Nassau on our honeymoon.
It was January and not only did we go diving for the first time in our lives but we took our first airplane ride….lots of firsts on our honeymoon, no sly comments please.
The hotel arranged the dive boat, the captain was a cool guy and his mother was a crewmember and some weird other guy actually seemed to do all the work. The captain would be in the water with us when we dove. He wore a traditional scuba suit and tanks. We on the other hand (2 at a time) wore these huge brass helmets and were connected to the boat by an air hose and a rope. The captain’s mother was in charge of the helmets and connections to the boat, weird, but it worked.

We went out for about an hour to what seemed like the middle of the ocean.
He told us we were over a reef and the water was about 15 feet, seemed nuts, we could not see land.
The water was just about 15 feet; we were surrounded by an amazing sight, thousands of fish, coral, colors, plants, a new world for us. Never saw any of this in Coney Island.

Trained Groupers came to be fed and petted, they expected the tourists and were super to them, mostly because they got their supper from them.

I loved it and Jeannine adored it, she normally was not very good in the water and her going under water with this thing on her head was unbelievable.

The pictures pretty much sum it up. We were very happy under there.

For some reason, it took years for me to dive again, at age 69 I started to dive here in Greece. No big helmet on my head, but normal scuba stuff. We do not have what we had in Nassau, from the point of view of scenery, but it is much freer and still amazing.

What took me so long?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pavlo, my cousin...my tailor.

I come from a family of tailors on my Mothers side.

Mama and her family ended up in Paris after the Asia Minor catastrophe.

My uncles were all men’s tailors and my Father was totally transformed when he went to Paris to marry my mother.

He embarrassed the Frenchified Greeks when he turned up in his loud American outfits; they made him a complete new wardrobe.

The only way they could introduce him to the other Frenchy Greeks.

Mama ran the workshop and was a talented seamstress and tailor herself.

When we went to Greece for the first time in the early 60s, we visited relatives in Edipso on the island of Evia.

These were my Fathers relatives, fishermen stock and all, except one cousin, were fishermen.

Fishermen on one side, Pops folks,
 Tailors on the other side, Mom’s family.

 Nevertheless the fishermen side had one tailor, I wonder how that happened?

 Every Greek village at that time had at least one tailor; my cousin Pavlo was one of the tailors in Edipso.

I really felt that I should have a Greek suit made by my cousin, my first custom-made suit.

It seemed appropriate that it should be Greek and by Pavlo.

OK, it is not Saville row; it’s a shop on an unpaved street on a Greek island.  That’s Ok; I am from Coney Island after all.

I wanted the trousers low cut like my Levis, Pavlo agreed but insisted on pleats.

The jacket had wide lapels and shoulder pads…nothing Ivy League about that.

Pavlo said the suit needed a vest (a waistcoat, for you Brits) my first three- piece suit.

We were going to be travelling around Greece and he had three weeks to make it, no time for fittings.

We arrive and I try on the suit, it seemed everybody in the village came to the unveiling.

Jacket is great, wide lapels and big shoulders…I feel good in it.

Trousers fit great, low cut and pleats, it works.

They help me off with my jacket and I slip into the vest, they do not reach the top of my trousers, normally the trousers are a lot higher. My low cut trousers have screwed it all up.

It works OK if I lean forward. Pavlo wants to make the vest over; no time we have a plane from Athens in the morning the next day.

I put on all three pieces and sort of bend over and everybody starts spiting three times (it means you look great and the spitting prevents the evil eye)

I wore that suit many times…made me look very continental, Greek at least. In the Greek restaurants in Chicago in the 60s it was recognized as a Greek suit, an authentic Pavlo.

The photo is Jeannine and me in Chicago; we were expecting our first child. I am the one in Pavlo’s suit.

I miss that suit.