Friday, January 16, 2009
alphabet meme

For this 'Alphabet MEME' the letter "B" was assigned to me by Judy of Imagine.....She did this MEME over at her place and invited anyone who wanted to try it to let her know in the comments. I did! She had been assigned the letter "M" when sh e did this, now, she has assigned me, the letter "B"......The idea is you choose ten (10) words that have some meaning for you and write 'why' each one does, in some detail.....
It sounded like fun to me and I thought I'd like to try it....So, here goes.....

BERRY

As with so very many English words, Berry has more than one meaning. There is 'the berry' that is edible, like Blueberry's, Strawberry's, Huckleberry's, etc....And in my case, the other meaning is actually the name of a very old friend, now gone.....named Warren Berry.
I have written quite extensively about The Farm in Pennsylvania----Huckleberry Hill Farm, where the whole hill was covered in Huckleberry's which we picked all summer long and sold to some neighboring summer resorts, then donating the money to charity........ That is me, way over on the left, and my dear sister Robin, who was five years older than me, way over on the right...I don't know who that was in the middle, but there we are, picking Huckleberry's right by the side of the house....This was around 1939-40.....Above, my mother over on the left and a family friend, Hattie Grauer, picking Berry's, too. This was in the back, behind the house, but quite near, as you can see.....Whenever I hear the word Berry or think of it myself, it makes me think of The Farm and the good times we had there.

And then it makes me think of Warren......I don't believe I've written about Warren Berry, or if I have, you will have to forgive me for not remembering.......I met Warren in 1954 when he was longer dancing. The Berry Brothers were a fantastic Tap/Acrobatic Act all through the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's.....right up there with The Nicholas Brothers who were great great friends as well as rivals, sort of. Warren hurt his hip very badly in the late 40's early 50's....when the brothers appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.....Watching that performance you would never suspect that Warren had hurt himself....In the picture above, he was just a kid, as you can see...He is in the center......Here below is a WONDERFUL picture of him taken in Paris...... The Berry Brothers played all over the world and all over The United States, too....They made a few films back in the 1940's, which still play here and there from time to time---"YOU'RE MY EVERYTHING"(1949) with Dan Dailey....and in that picture, it was just Warren and James.....

I met Warren at VAMP Studio's, which I have written about a few times....He sang like a dream...And when I met him he was trying to get his singing career off the ground. It never happened and I will never know why.....He went on the be a Film Editor at Screen Gems in New York for fifteen years....He was one of the most interesting men I've ever known.... The picture above is of Warren, and my first 'important' grown-up boyfriend, Bob Markham, who I had met in 1953. (We were no longer dating here...Just good friends...) The picture was taken in the garden of my mother's house on my Birthday in 1966, not quite three months after she died....Warren called my mother 'The General'....lol.... The picture above is at that same Birthday gathering in 1966......

All through the mid-to late 1950's Warren spent a lot of time visiting with me in Great Neck.....Later, after I moved to California, Warren would drive out from New York every two years or so and we spent a lot of time together then, too....Warren would never fly because one year when The Berry Brothers had been booked into a big theatre/club in Brazil, they were late for the plane, and they missed it. That plane crashed and everyone perished....He never flew again.
In 1975, Warren came on out to Los Angeles once again, driving "The Princess"...that's what he called his car...(The picture above was not his actual car, but his looked pretty much like this one only his was no longer new....)....And in 1975 he actually stayed with me for five months. He was writing at that time and if I recall correctly, by the time he died in 1996, he had written 4 or 5 full screenplays....He also took fabulous photographs....When I was getting ready to go back to work as an actress in TV, he took some really stunning pictures of me, outdoors, right across the street from my house, known as 'Head Shots'! Over the years, Warren would criss-cross back and forth between New York and Los Angeles.....Often he stayed with friends, like Fayard and Barbara Nichols. And always, we spent some wonderful times together...He was fun and bright and very very smart! Eventually he settled down here in Los Angeles, and he was at my 60th Birthday sitting right next to me, as you can see below...(On the left, my neice Debbie, my sister Robin's daughter....My sister Gene next to her, then, a High School friend, Jane Ann Smith, and then Warren....my brother took this picture and he was sitting on the other side of me, though standing up at the time to get this picture......there were a good 80 people at that wonderful party......)A few weeks after that Birthday Celebration, Warren had a stroke....His health was never ever really the same after that, and, as happens, more physical problems descended on him as time went on....But he was game. And though he couldn't drive any more or use his beloved "Green Machine", (the Princess having bit the dust some years before.....one too many trips across the country.....), He had an electric scooter type thingy and he would get everywhere he needed to go on that---His Doctors, The Movies, The Market etc.


Warren died in August of 1996, and up until that time I never really knew how old he was....(He was born in 1922).We used to joke about it and he always pretended he was quite a bit younger than me...wink, wink....He was so very talented and so much fun! I still miss spending time with Warren and listening to his fantastic singing and listening to his fine mind working through all sorts of things...."Empirical Evidence"...that was one of his favorite expressions when defending a position of his......What you are about to see is not empirical. It is fact-on-film...and here is the video to prove it......It's a little video of the brothers doing their "act" in the film "PANAMA HATTIE"..or maybe it was "LADY BE GOOD".....They were really something.....



Warren's ashes are buried in my garden, down below.....It is nice to know he is here still with me in this way.......



More To Come.......



Note: I had no idea when I started this post that I would write so much about Warren...So, the other 9 'words' will have to be covered in my next post...or, my next 9 posts....lol.....depending.......










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28 Comments:
had this to say:

I love it when you post all these personal details and photos of your life! The portrait of you is very good... do they even use the term head shots anymore? I assume they still need them in modeling portfolios even with the digital age? I wonder where my old book is...I had some from younger modeling, pagent days...but I haven't heard that term in years.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 7:15:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oh Naomi I am HONORED to be the first one to comment on your wonderful tribute to your dear friend.
How lucky you were to have had each other and share such a wonderful friendship and history.
RIP Warren.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 8:24:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a great tale! My thanks to Judy for assigning you the letter B. I love old movies and always loved the (sometimes unacknowledged) dancers and singers in them. It's nice to get some real background. Like you, it seems Warren had a very interesting life. I'm glad your paths crossed and you both got to be part of each other's life.

I loved that first picture of you in the field. You do look very happy.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 9:36:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I love that you got so carried away writing about your dear friend :) He sounds like he was an amazing person - so talented and so it seems from your post so easy to get along with and like. You have indeed been blessed with some wonderful friendships.

Looking forward to more 'B's to come!

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 9:54:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

A very good start to your meme, Naomi! I look forward to reading rest.

I love tap dancing and always have, and when ti is done by more than one, the synchronicity amazes me!

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 12:44:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi,
you write with a combination of true passion and realisme I've never before have experienced.

I'm thrilled.

I'm not able to write in English a comment to this post as deserved. I have said that before, and it's still a sad fact. You know, to comment a brilliant post demands more from me - and since it's out of vain to express in Norwegian, I say only:

The photo from you Childhood picking berries is a blast.
That reminds me what we had to do post WW2 here in Norway:
Grow berries if you had a Garden and pick wild berries in the woods.
It was a tough time.
Did I tell you: My first taste of a banana, was due to the fact my 4 year younger brother had a stomach desease, so he got 3 bananas on a doctors recipe. That was in the early 1950'ies;)

btw. You are of course wellcome to take my Friday Fun Challenge.

On Saturday I'll present Hat(s).

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 2:46:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Love it!

You also know this is *my* favorite letter too, right? ;) heh heh

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 3:34:00 PM PST 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

What a very talented man and such a good friend. You must miss him. It is surprising isn't it when you find out a friend is much older than you imagined. Just shows how unimportant age is. Glad you followed Judy's alphabet meme. I look forward the next one:)

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 4:05:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a handsome man Warren was! It sounds like you had a wonderful relationship!
Also, I remember when I was growing up (I still live in PA), my friends and I would pick blackberries in the woods around our house and one of the moms would make jelly out of the few berries we managed not to eat!

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 6:49:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

As usual, a terrific post with photos...Its such a pleasure reading about the ppl you have met and been so dear too over the years..u share part of yourself with us all. Such lovely photos of you and your family and friends! Keep them coming!!

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 10:33:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Wow! Those brothers are quiet talented. It must have taken a lot of practice dance and twirl those canes at the same time.... I am glad that you had a special friend like Warren and that his ashes are buried in your gardens below. Thanks or the wonderful post, Naomi.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 11:27:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I prefer to read about your Huckleberry Hill Farm and your wonderful friendship with Warren Berry than anything else you could've come up with starting with a B.

Warren sounded like he had a great sense of humor and a love for life. (I wouldn't have gotten into another plane again either after what happened to the one heading to Brazil! Wow!)

The photos are fantastic and I love that Warren is forever with you in your garden. How sweet. ;)

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 1:56:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

thanks for another lovely post, Naomi.
It's always interesting to look back at one's life, and this was a great way to do so.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 6:57:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Oh, wow. The plane he missed crashed? Yeah, I'd have stayed away from them after that too.

I can't wait to see what memories your other "b" words stir up!

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 7:48:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Warren was so talented, and obviously from what you've written, he was a great friend.
In that one photo, your sister Gene looks a lot like your mother.
I always love when you write about Huckleberry Farm.
What a wonderful place!! The house, the memories... it always sounds so pleasant.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 9:27:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Hey there stranger!

I was blown away when I finally got over here, and found one of my very favorite "stories" of yours. The berries! I'm back and hopefully can figure out a way to stay....chat soon, XOXO

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 10:35:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Good Sunday morning to you, Naomi !

You've made wonderful use of the letter "B" so far, with berries and Warren and all the stories that went along with it :)

You have lived such an interesting life - and been interested in so much ! It really shows !

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 1:01:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

AH, nothing like the old dsnce groups - synchronicity was the word. Now we look back at those wonderful routines with awe :-)

I love that you have let your memories run away with you :-)

[currently watching the Van Pattens and Dom DeLuise on the Diagnosis Murder show - class acts]

I am thinking about my Alphabet Game, Bobkat has given me G...

cq

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 3:19:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I think its great that you take 'B' for Berry and then have a jazz improvisation that brings ins a good friend. Great story telling as usual!

...and I only found out that Huckleberries were really berries from this blog sometime in the past. You have to forgive we English!

best rashbre

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 7:37:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, you have such a wonderful writing style that I find myself pulled in to your posts every time.

Nice headshot photo of you btw.

-Rick

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 9:47:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I loved learning about your friendship with Berry. And I loved the pictures. There's nothing like the passion felt behind the human stories we share. I love that about blogging. It feels like my world is so much richer and fuller...definately broadened.

I had read Judy's alphabet meme too, and asked her for my own letter. Just posted mine. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 11:12:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Hi OOLOTHills! I just found your blog via Awareness I think. I am loving it and loving hearing your stories...what an intersting life you have lived! I loved your story of Warren..what a special friendship. I love seeing the photos on blogs and hearing the rich stories behind them...your old photos are fascinating! I seem to have loads of love to give around today!! :) ANyways, will keep reading some of your "old" posts..no pun intended!!All the best, Karyne

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 7:13:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a wonderful story!

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 11:35:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I like that you shifted into telling us about your friend.

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 7:32:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Always the amazing story - O Naomi - what a joy to have you in my life - you are a treasure.

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 7:36:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

HI Naomi!! I'm sorry I am so far behind in my reading!! Oy!!

I loved reading about Warren Berry! What an interesting and fun person he was. How perfectly wonderful that his ashes are buried on your property!! That is truly special.

I hope your plumbing problems got all taken care of without much bother to your lovely plants!

Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 8:52:00 AM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

UH OHHHH! This will teach me to stay away for so long! I see I'm quite far behind here....Had NO clue at first what all those "B's" were about....lol
And I've been at this computer all day doing book-related work, so must shut down for tonight. But I promise that tomorrow I will be here to catch up on ALL your recent posts.
Hugs and love to you, Naomi.
Terri
http://www.islandwriter.net

Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 5:22:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Thank you for sharing.

Monday, August 20, 2012 at 12:09:00 PM PDT 

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