(HOST) Every year we invite commentators to write on the same theme and
share their essays at a brunch, which we record so we can feature a
sampler of their efforts later on the air. This year the topic was
"Picture This" and commentator Susan Cooke Kittredge offered a vivid
account of a rather steamy, late night adventure.
was nineteen, working in Manhattan when I got my first apartment. I paid
$125 a month for a tiny four-flight walk-up on 63 rd between Lexington
The Saturday I moved in was a real scorcher; so that
night, when I had unpacked the few belongings I owned, I threw open the
windows and collapsed, exhausted in bed. There were still mosquitoes in
the city in those days and in no time my face was pockmarked, my eyes
swollen shut with bites. Longing to go home to my parents’
air-conditioned apartment, I, nonetheless, held firm, "I will not give
in; this is my first night in my own place."
At 2:30 am, I
changed my mind, put on a T-shirt and my little mini-skirt and fled to
the street to hail a taxi. No cabs cruised Part Avenue at that hour.
Standing on the corner I stared at the empty street. But as luck would
have it, a shiny black limousine soon slid to a stop before me. The back
seat window rolled down and a man in a tuxedo leaned across the leather
seat and asked if I’d like a ride. Bending down to see him, I said,
"Yes, that would be wonderful." And I got into the car.
asked where I’d like to go, I replied "96 th and Fifth, please."
Meanwhile, a black-cloaked arm slid along the back of the seat above my
shoulders as the body to which it was attached moved ever closer.
Feeling his heat close to me, I said, "I think you know my father."
He froze and asked, somewhat haltingly, "Who is your father?"
Cooke," I replied, and the arm slithered quickly in retreat like a
snake seeking refuge beneath a rock. He moved to the far side of the
seat and the chauffeur guffawed in the rear-view mirror.
As the limo pulled up to my parents’ building, I turned to him and said, "Thank you very much, for the ride, Mr. Sinatra."