Wednesday, May 21, 2014
remembering betty


Having just recently written that memory post of Jack Nicholson and Betty Garrett, it got me to thinking about all the wonderful fun times Betty and I had together......

"Spoon River Anthology"
made us friends, forever.
And that was late 1962
Working on something new in the theatre as it is being created, and with no real thought as to what might happen to it or where it might go, if anywhere, and being so in love with the material, was what "Spoon River" was all about for the six of us who were in it almost from the get-go.
And for Joyce Van Patten, Betty and myself----it cemented these wonderful long-time friendships for the three of us, forever.



Going to Broadway was a dream come true----especially when it was such a labor of love.....

Both Betty and I lived at the Salisbury Hotel---more of a kind of Apartment/Hotel if need be.....It is on 57th street between 6th and 7th----Carnegie Hall is up the street and on the downtown side of 57th, closer to 7th ave.....
It was a great place to live and a great area to live in, too.
We could walk to the theatre in good weather, and walk home, too, after the show.
Betty was on the 15th floor and I was on the 16th---and in fact, my rooms were almost over hers.
Both being Night Owls, we were never ready to go off to sleep after the show.  Our dear dear Joyce---we were the three woman in the show----lived across the street at what was then, The Great Northern Hotel----now a fancy shmancy place called "The Meridian", I think......
Joycie was not a night owl and still isn't.... So she would go back to her digs at the Great Northern and Betty and I would go to either her place or mine across the street, and work on our 'occupational therapy' projects---both of us people who needed and loved to be creating something, even in our off time.....
And time would fly by....
And before you know it, we would hear the Garbage Trucks down on 57th street and that's how we knew it was 4am in the morning.....Time to quit and go to sleep.....
It was great fun and a time of great sharing......
Of the six of us who were in the cast, only Joyce and I are left.  
Everyone else is dead---the three men, and Betty, now, all gone.......
And though Joyce lives in Manhattan permanently now, I speak to her at least once or twice a week.....She knew all of my family, and I knew hers.....
We both have great and precious memories of those days and of so very many other times, too....Shared History..... 



May 23rd would have been my dear Betty's 95th Birthday....
During our more than 50 year friendship, we celebrated many Birthdays together.....hers and mine and other peoples too.....
But of course the ones I remember most are the special parties and celebrations for her big day and mine.
Because this would have been such a milestone year, I can't help but remember and celebrate her long and Beautiful life.......
It is a little over three years since we lost her----almost impossible to believe-----I still miss her every day and I have such wonderful rich memories of this most important and loving friendship.
Betty was such a special person in every way....She was so loved by so very many people---and deservedly so......
I will be grateful forever and ever, for having had such a dear and wonderful friend......
When you know people for so many years-----worked together, played together, shared so many wonderfully happy times together and shared so many very sad times together, too......This kind of 'shared history' is irreplaceable.
I knew her mother and her dear dear husband Larry Parks......
She knew both my parents and my siblings, too, and my 'significant others'.....
We could talk about anything and everything and did.....these were such important and precious sharings.......
Betty was the least judgemental person I've ever known.....and that was who she was, with everyone.
And it isn't that she didn't have opinions----she did, but they were never rendered in a critical tone.....She was so very understanding of everyone.....
She could always see the good in a person....

Well, No, that did not include Hitler.......



I miss talking to her on the phone at 2 in the morning.....
The truth is, I miss talking to her, period---whatever the time of day.......

I know I've written about all this before, but I guess with her Birthday almost here, I am missing her more than ever.
And it brings her closer to write about her and share pictures, and I guess I need to do that right now.
Betty's Birthday, 2001.
Backstage at The Belasco Theatre, in her dressing room----the same Dressing room she had back in 1963 when "Spoon River" moved from the Booth Theatre to The Belasco......She was doing the revival of Sondheim's "Follies".
Across the street for a quick Birthday Dinner between the Matinee and Evening performances, with her two wonderful sons,
Garrett and Andy Parks.




I know if she were still here, we would be celebrating on May 23rd.....So, that's what I am doing.....
Celebrating a life that touched mine in such a deep and lasting way, for 5 decades....!



Happy 95th Birthday, dearest friend......

You are so very missed by so very many.



More To Come.......











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21 Comments:
had this to say:

Naomi, this was a beautiful post. Even though I didn't know Betty, or you, you made my imagination swirl with your memories. Loved it!

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 2:12:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

well one thing is for sure Naomi... your memories are sharp as a tac !..and beautiful memories they are... I am most glad that we haven't lost the abilitly to remember them!



Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 6:50:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This is a beautiful tribute to your friend Betty - who I was acquainted with via TV shows and such. How I wish I could have seen the two of you in Spoon River Anthology!

I love your description of your life in New York City and can just envision what it must have been like. Lovely.

And I'm so glad that Betty wouldn't have seen the good in Hitler! I chuckled a little there. :)

Hugs!

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 9:33:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

A beautiful post, Naomi!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 12:33:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Lee
had this to say:

A most wonderful tribute to a most cherished friend and beautiful person, Naomi.

Your life has been very interesting and fun, by the sounds of it, filled with fun and interesting people...led by one...you. :)

Thank you for sharing your precious memories of your precious friend with us.

Happy Birthday to Betty. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 2:55:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Birthdays always bring loved ones to the fore but like you said, we miss them the rest of the year also. You were so lucky to have had each other for so many years. She was more like favorite family than just a friend. Lift a glass to her on her day.

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 3:17:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wonderful memories of a beautiful lady and a beautiful friendship. You are so lucky to have known Betty and counted her as your dear friend.
Loved the Hitler remark!

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 6:31:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That is an amazing friendship indeed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 9:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Never apologize for writing about your friendships. They are beautiful and I love hearing about them, especially Betty, who was always a favorite of mine. You are so fortunate to have a strong friendship filled with shared experiences and great joy -- and one that lasted a lifetime. I loved every word.

I have friends no longer with me and it helps to celebrate them, share who they were and why they mattered. I'm glad you shared about Betty.

Friday, May 23, 2014 at 6:06:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you my friend, for your comment on my Pelican Gathering. :)

Friday, May 23, 2014 at 9:20:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Beautiful memories and what a blessing to have a friendship like that, of so many years. You know, in the photos, you both for your whole lives looked like you did when at the beginning. You are still recognizable in those younger photos. That's something in itself to admire in the Hollywood word.

Friday, May 23, 2014 at 9:32:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I had goosebumps all the way down as I read and the shot of her blowing out the candles really hit me. You have such a rich well of memories to draw from. Sadness and love are so mixed. xo

Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 6:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

http://theblondeatthefilm.com/2014/05/13/my-sister-eileen-1955/

I follow The Blonde at the Film on Facebook. "My Sister Eileen" is being featured now as I read your post. Thought you might enjoy. I enjoy your posts so much. Thank you.

Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 8:34:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I know you miss her terribly. How good it is that we can see her movies almost any day. You could write about Betty every day of the week and I wouldn't get tired of reading about her and your friendship. She was so beautiful and so very talented.

Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 9:16:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

A lovely tribute to your friend Betty. Great to read you describing how you could live in each others' lives with such a shared history.

Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 2:38:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

I love all the photos but the top one of Betty is really special.
I think photos are so important remembering our loved ones. I'm so grateful that Kim - a fellow blogger - took some great ones of Alastair and they are such a comfort to me now. I'm sure you also find you can have conversations with Betty just looking at her photo.

Monday, May 26, 2014 at 4:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a lovely remembrance. *hugs*

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 4:17:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I can't believe it's been 3 years since she died, that's unbelievable. It seems like a few months.

It's a lovely tribute to Betty, she sounds like a wonderful friend, and those are rare and precious. It's amazing how she kept her good looks over the years, she hardly changed at all! Beautiful inside and out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 3:00:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I miss her too.

Monday, June 2, 2014 at 10:44:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

She was a beautiful lady and a wonderful friend. I can't believe she's gone. :(

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 9:24:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, this is a beautiful tribute to your dearest friend Betty.
I can't believe it's been three years since she died...
I remember so well all beautiful and happy pictures of Betty on your posts "Ladies who Lunch"...
Lovely memories...
Many hugs dear Naomi.

Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 4:43:00 PM PDT 

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