Saturday, May 16, 2009
france-1969 part 6

I wanted to say something here about how different my father was there in The South Of France. He was strikingly different than when I would see him in New York, or Greenwich, or even in Los Angeles....Daddy and Olga had not moved to Washington yet---the Museum was still in the planning stages, and there had been many delays for various reasons....
In fact, Gordon Bunshaft, the great Architect of the Museum, flew to Antibes while I was there, because there had been some major changes in the design due to rising costs and he needed to run them by my father--(I must say, Daddy was none too thrilled with these changes and he became quite perturbed about it...that was the only time I saw him get into his 'harsh' and sort of scary persona in those three weeks). As I said, Daddy Joe was so much more relaxed---it was quite incredible. He only allowed himself one "business" phone call a day to New York, because he said..."The French phone system is just cannot ever get through and they cut you off at the drop of a hat...!" (It sounds like the kind of service we have with Cell Phones much worse) For a phone-a-holic

like my father this just about drove him nuts, but it certainly had it's side benefits for him as well as it did for Olga, and in those three weeks, for me too!. So the one phone call a day to NY was in itself completely out of character for him. The Telephone was like an extension of his ear, (he would have loved Blue Tooth....)---In fact, his very favorite phone--his 'good luck' phone that was with him all through his business life----is buried with him in his coffin.When he wasn't talking to Art Dealers and/or Artists, (above, with Georgia O'Keefe), he was constantly talking to different 'brokers' all day long all during business hours---the Stock Market was his world and it had been from the time he was about 14 years old....He was a master at the market and had a nose for the myriad changes that took place during any given day or week or month---I have no idea what he would think about what is going on today.....I do know that he felt 'the crash' coming in 1929 and sold out everything before it happened.

He had started in the Brokerage business as a teenager 'charting stocks'. And in fact, that was how he learned the stock market. But, there in France he was on a completely different schedule and this allowed for him to be a very different person. So because it was just that one call to New York a day, this left most of the day to do all sorts of other things there in The South Of France in a very relaxed manner. It was almost like he was "on vacation" most of the time he was there, and this was a new 'Daddy Joe' to me.We would swim in the Ocean almost every day and they had a Masseur come to the house almost every afternoon, and each of us would have a lovely massage....It was quite special and quite wonderful---talk about relaxed!

Even when Daddy & Olga were in their little house in the Desert here in California, he was not nearly this relaxed. There, in the La Quinta house, he would get up at 5am and would be on the phone, starting at 6am when the market opened in New York, and he would be on that phone all morning long, till the market closed at 12 noon, (West Coast Time)...and only then, would he relax a bit.

After a full days work, a little lunch and a short nap, he was ready to go out and do other things....above, he is standing outside their little desert house, finally ready for some early evening 'social time'......

But in France, limiting himself to this one call, except for emergency's, he was truly like a different man. I found him so much easier to be with and all the things we did there were mostly so very enjoyable in every way. I found that the fun side of him was much more in evidence there. So, those three weeks--(the longest time I had actually lived under the same roof with him since my parents had separated in 1942 when I was just a kid), were quite special for me. Being able to experience him going only 35 miles an hour instead of 100 was quite wonderful! And the best part of Daddy Joe, wherever he was, was his love of Art and Artists. Above, here he is with the great American Artist Kenneth Noland, when we were in St. Tropez for a short visit....more about that to follow.....He had such a true connection to Art and those who created it. The joy he got from looking at great great art and acquiring it too, was something to see, plus he had wonderful friendships with so very many of the Great Artists of the 20th Century, like Ken Noland and Larry Rivers, and DeKooning, and Henry Moore and Alexander Calder, and Georgia O'keefe, to name just a few.....And he knew a lot of people there in France. One good friend who was there was Norman Granz. Norman had had an amazing career in the music business and was still having it then in 1969. He created these fantastic concerts called "Jazz at The Philharmonic", waaaay back in the 1940's here in Los Angeles. They were held at The Philharmonic Concert Hall, and most of them were recorded, by him, on a record label that he started, (which he later sold)---That in itself was a brand new innovation--"Live Performance Recording", at that time---no one had done that before Norman Granz. By the summer of 1969 he had sold his second record company, Verve Records, and was Personal Manager to Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson---Norman was the man that discovered the Great Oscar Peterson in Canada---He would arrange concert tours for these brilliant artists all over Europe, and in fact, Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson gave a Concert together in Juan Le Pins while I was there....It was FANTASTIC!I don't remember how Daddy first met Norman Granz, if I ever even knew, but the thing that connected them was "art". Norman was an art collector, too, and he very much wanted to be friends with Daddy. So, somehow, Norman made that happen. He was a very generous person when there was something he desperately wanted....and he desperately wanted that friendship with D.J.! In fact, he gave my father a fur coat...(yes, rather bizarre....!), the winter of the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Museum in Washington. I remember it rather embarrassed Daddy...but, he did wear it on that one occasion (lol). Norman knew Picasso very very well and he had introduced Daddy to Picasso a few years before that summer of 1969.

On the negative side, Norman was kind of strange where Olga was concerned, and in turn where I was concerned....He would call on the phone to speak to Daddy and if Olga or I answered the phone, he wouldn't even say "hello" to either of us. He was very short with us, as if we were secretaries or telephone receptionists or something. He had absolutely no interest in Olga, at all, and he certainly had none in me. Daddy Joe was his focus, and in fact, he was quite rude to Olga. And I must admit, it made it quite difficult-to-impossible, to connect with him. And even though his behavior was rather boorish where we ladies were concerned, I admired him tremendously for all that he had done for Black Musicians back in the days when there were no mixed audiences and when no black person could stay at practically any hotel, anywhere....Norman changed all that for the artists/musicians he represented and that was a huge huge thing. He also demanded really good salaries for these Artists, too---and again, no one else was doing that back in those early days......Anyway, I cannot say I enjoyed being around him but still, I did admire him a great deal. When Daddy and Olga and I went to St. Tropez for a couple of days, Norman was there at The Hotel Byblos with his then girlfriend Greta, whom he later married. In fact, he seemed to be everywhere.....In Antibes, in Cannes, in St. Tropez, etc., etc., etc. I remember we had dinner with them the night we arrived in St. Tropez.
It was a lovely relaxed Seafood place, which is still there from what I can gather---40 years later. Another example of how the people of Europe cherish their history. This restaurant, Les Mouscardins, was right on the water and so you could look out at 'The Med' as you ate your Four Star Dinner.....And one of the things that delighted me about this place was that people could bring their dogs into the restaurant! And the dogs were incredibly well behaved. Just laying there quietly, many sleeping under the table---not barking or begging for food, or anything else. None of them seemed neurotic in any way whatsoever. I mean, I could not imagine any fine restaurant in the 'states' allowing people to bring their dogs into the restaurant, you know? Also, I was introduced to "Calvados" there in that lovely St. Tropez Restaurant---another first, for me, because basically, I was not a drinker.
The Hotel Byblos was only two years old in 1969, and it was really quite beautiful....Daddy and Olga had a lovely big Air Conditioned room, on the other hand, was very very very tiny---almost like a 'cell' and was not Air Conditioned. I almost asked Daddy and Olga if I could sleep on their couch because it was so extremely hot and humid there at that time, but I stayed in my little Cell-Like-Room, and sad to say, I slept quite poorly.....but, I was in France and I was thrilled to be there.And as I said earlier, the wonderfully talented artist Kenneth Noland and his wife Stephanie were staying at the Hotel, as was Norman G. and Oscar Peterson, too. Daddy loved Ken Noland's work and owned quite a bit of it and he was very very fond of Ken as a person, too.....We had Breakfast around the pool with Ken and Stephanie one morning, there at the Hotel Byblos. The Noland's were lovely sweet people and very enjoyable to be around and to talk to, as well. What I loved about meeting them there in St. Tropez was seeing Daddy Joe's 'real' caring of 'the man' and his wife, as well as of the 'artist'. I didn't get to see that side of D. J. very often at all. And Ken & Stephanie were both such very attractive people in every way, too.....I think somewhere along the way, their marriage ended...but that day, they certainly seemed very much a couple and very much in love to me. Of course, I was, and still am, a hopeless romantic....Here are some other pictures of us there at the pool at The Hotel Byblos that summer of 1969. Me, at the table by the pool....And then.... Me, in the pool....and then another picture of me, in the pool..... Not a great picture..but, we take what we can get...right? And then, Daddy standing by the side of this very pretty pool, there at The Hotel Byblos...... Another 'not so great' picture--I was really having trouble with my camera and the light, during that time....It kind of makes me crazy that this was the case, because you cannot go back and "re-do" the trip, can! And then, this one of me standing by the pool. What a lovely place this was....And, again, it's still there, too.... Truth be told? I'm grateful that I have any kind of pictures at all from this once-in-a-lifetime trip....!We were only in St. Tropez for a short time, so I really didn't get to see too much of it, but what I did get to see I really liked a lot.....

I hope you are all not too bored with this series, because, yes indeed, there will be......

More To Come........

Links to this post:


Blogger Mar
had this to say:

Bored? are you kidding? I am loving reading everything about your trip, it's amazing how well you remember all sort of little and interesting details. It's great that you have kept (and found!) the pictures, summer light at the Med is very strong and terribly bright , so I find it very hard to take "good" pictures in the middle of a summer day.
Can't wait to

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 1:52:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I am loving your commentary and reflections Naomi. The accompanying photos of the people you met, and of yourself and your father are wonderful. Its a lesson in the world of the Arts.

1969 all around was such an interesting year. It was like this world had made a transition to be more accepting and expressive....both in human relations and in the art world. You were wonderfully immersed in it and I find your stories fascinating.

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 2:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

In my wildest dreams I cannot imagine you being boring Naomi!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 4:24:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hey no not at all Naomi, I appreciate the time and effort you put in all this lovely series.

Looks like your Dad was a busy man and it is go to be away in France and get to enjoy the rest of the activities, most importantly a chance to slow down and relax :D

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 9:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I have really enjoyed this series. You have had an amazing life filled with love, friends, art, music and nature.

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 11:35:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I am definitely not bored reading about your 1969 trip to the South of France. Its so fascinating to hear about how your workaholic father finally relaxed for the three weeks you were there, and how you met all those interesting people from the world of art and entertainment. You tell the story so well, it's almost as though I can hear you saying the words!

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 11:40:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

It's fun to get an insight into your life then.

Swimming in the ocean and have a massage every day? I could get used to that :) They are two of my fav things!

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 1:06:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Your Dad's story deserves a book and you should write it. What an amazing man and what marvelous people he was friends with. I wonder if you were as impressed meeting them then as we are in reading about them now.
Each time as I get near the end of your post, I fear it will be "the end".
Always relieved to see "more to come."

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 4:23:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That generation of highly successful men often behave as you describe towards women - the wives and daughters didn't count. Only business did.

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 5:34:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

The stock market, Georgia O'Keefe. You lived a world away from mine.

Norman looks like he's in his underwear. You look lovely, Naomi. And the bullseye art is a trip.

I think Europe in general has a slower pace. Things in general seem more relaxed there. Your dad would have blackberry today, I bet.

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 7:32:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

No way are your stories boring, Naomi. We are privileged to read of your life. In 1969, while you were living it up in St. Tropez, I was pregnant and suffering in the heat! LOL I would have preferred your life then!

Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 10:28:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I was only six at the time so the fact that you have all these pictures and memories is fascinating to me.
It probably sounds redundant now because I have said it so many times but I honestly could just sit and listen to you talk for days.
Then when you ran out of steam I would just read out of your library :D
Boring NEVER

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 4:07:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This is certainly not boring... I enjoy reading your stories, Naomi. I feel like a fly on the wall of your life. You do such a good job telling your stories, I wish I could see France now.

I hope you are feeling better.. I am sorry to hear that you lost two friends so close together. My Uncle Bill died on Feb. 1st and his wife, Aunt Shorty, died May 1st. So we have had two family members die within three months. Both were in their late 80's and had lived a full life.

Hope things are going well for you and keep telling us your wonderful stories.

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 4:33:00 AM PDT 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

You are fortunate to have any photos of that time - I haven't a single photo of my time in Paris in '69.
It must have been great to see your father - at last relaxed, and how exciting to meet those people. I have often read of Norman Granz in biographies of the musical 'greats'. Pity he lacked charm with the ladies:)
Did you get on well with Olga? She looks nice but I know it can be a difficult relationship.
Thanks for sharing such treasures.

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 7:52:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm thoroughly enjoying this series! delightful stories, Naomi. And you were a regular Esther Williams, weren't you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 9:54:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

No way can anyone be bored like a sponge we want more and the photos are great for the time taken and the age of just being around.

Your daddy what a joy for you and how I love the honesty in your story telling.

Just wonderful..I'll be back..

Dorothy from grammology

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 10:41:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love reading about your experiences, Naomi. Are there more parts to the story? I hope so!

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 4:31:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Totally loving hearing about your trip and seeing the photos.

And yes, it's a lucky thing that you have any photos and the ones that you do have - you supplement them with your words so well!

From reading about France, it's not hard to believe that your Daddy was so relaxed there!

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 5:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I know you don't like the quality, but I LOVE the look of these old photos. There's a charm about their imperfections.

I love how your dad was able to relax and show you a more peaceful and attentive side of himself in the South of France. It's part of what makes these memories so warm and wonderful for you.

The Byblos looks beautiful! Everything sounds fabulous about it except for Norman Granz and the cell from hell you had to stay in. Still, you were in the South of France with your dad and lots of interesting characters. I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to part 7!!

Happy Sunday and have a fantastic week, Naomi!! :)


Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 5:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Your daddy sounds like he was a very intense man. Is that what his job was then? Was to trade in the stock market?

It's interesting, reading this because I see such longing in your words to "get to know" you father. It sounds as if you did get to know him, or at least another side of him, on your trip.

It also sounds to me as if Norman was very focused on pursuing what he wanted. Which at the time was a relationship with your dad. I doubt he meant anything by brushing you and Olga off, I'm guessing you were merely distractions from his goal. Probably more of a lack of social niceties on his part than an intentional insult.

It truly is a blessing that you have, and are able to preserve these photographs electronically.

Have to say, that picture of you in your yellow swimsuit, you've got some good tone in your arm muscles... definitely a swimmer's arms. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 6:48:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I completely understand how your dad could be "different" somewhere else. I find that geographical separation from my work is necessary to put it out of my mind, because, there's nothing I can do about it. My guess is, your dad felt the same way. That's why cell phones, e-mail and the like are a detriment to true relaxation: They prevent us from truly "disconnecting" with the stuff that stresses us.


Monday, May 18, 2009 at 6:16:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That was lovely Naomi! Wonderful pictures too!

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 12:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

This is all so interesting. How lucky you were to live a life so infused with the arts! Most of us can only dream of having lives that afford us the opportunity to meet and see all that you have. Your life is one to be admired, particularly for someone like me who loves all things creative and artistic. I find myself turning a slight shade of green when I hear the stories of some of the people you have met. That said, I also appreciate all that you have shared. It's nice to get the insider's viewpoint.

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 12:59:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I've longed to visit France, and now I'm going first class with you and in a time period during which I would have enjoyed being there -- except for that "tiny tiny room" that lacked A/C. Hope Daddy Joe had a good reason for not doing better by you there.

Oh, what a thrill to attend an Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald concert -- together! I've seen each of them separately, once each. The best was Peterson in a small intimate club -- my preferred setting for listening to jazz groups.

I look forward to more of your memories and photos. Never mind the photo quality at this point, just be glad you have the pictures you do.

I think of the altered state of your relationship with your father after your parents divorce based on my similar experience beginning when I was five years old. Too many fathers don't recognize how significant frequent and regular contact with their daughter is to the young girl.

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 11:52:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Bud
had this to say:

Naomi, your series on the South of France is absolutely fascinating!! You have so many wonderful memories. And guess what I just bought. A Fuji Finepix S8000fd. Found one on Ebay...should have it in a few days. Hugs,Bud

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 1:48:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Your memories and photos are very interesting to me. It's of a world I have read about, seen other photos from but to see it personalized, it's enjoyable to read and keeps me coming back hoping for a new chapter. What interesting people you knew and your father moved among.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 8:35:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Well, I know you KNOW "I" am not I asked for more after Part I.
All of this is so wonderful, Naomi....the photos, the commentary, the "inside" info, etc....but I what I really love and what I'm picking up on, is that this trip enabled you to get to know your dad in a whole different way. I am so glad that you had this very special time to spend with him and build memories so strong and filled with love, that you share them with us all these years later.
Ah, yes...the dogs in France. I've always said they're SO much more civilized that we are here in the States. I love seeing the dogs everywhere over there!
And the Calvados! OH, MY!! I had my first sip of that stuff in Normandy in 1985. Whew! My dad drank it following the D-Day Invasion and I brought him back a bottle 40 years later...he took one sip and wondered HOW they'd won the war drinking that!! LOL Powerful drink!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 1:53:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

More to come? I like the sound of that!
This series has been interesting, and I've loved reliving the trip through your eyes and memories. It is not at all boring.
It's too bad that George was so rude to you and Olga. He sounds like he did such wonderful things for others whom he worked with in the music industry, but it's like he made no effort to even be friendly to the two of you. Maybe he was just oddly eccentric and didn't have great social skills. Who knows?
I bet those pics of you beside and in that lovely pool bring back the memories of how wonderful that water felt, especially after sleeping in a hot, humid room!
No wonder you dad had such a relaxed nature while in France. A massage each afternoon??? I'd be in HEAVEN! I'd be so relaxed I'd feel like a limp noodle.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 2:23:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Just wanted to let you know that I gave you a little shout-out on my blog :)

Hope you're having a good one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:37:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Your father looks younger and happier in those pix of France. I'm sure he loved all the action of his business dealings, but obviously, you can see on his face it was stressful. His face is so much smoother in the France pix.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:43:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

OMG - I tink I could write a least one book as a comment to this post.
We were both there in the same year,
me we to very young kids, bringing tents and also stayed overnight at the best hotels. The kids loved to be at a camping resort - friends to play with - languages did not matter.

I'll call you. OK?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 12:55:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm so glad you have written about your trip Naomi! As so many have said, you should write a book. You write so well!! I'm glad you got to spend that time with your Father when he was more relaxed.

Such wonderful memories you have!!
Hugs to you dear Naomi!

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 10:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It seems a special gift that you were able to spend time with your father when you were older and when he was more relaxed. It must have been very special to see him less connected to the phone and business. The people you encountered in that life were indeed interesting and you have remarkable memories. I can understand why this was one of your happiest times in life. I really do love this post.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 8:35:00 AM PDT 

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