Rebecca's Restaurant. I was desperate for work in the winter of my first year of grad school at SUNY-Purchase, and I walked into her place, not a lick of experience, with blue sparkly nailpolish. She gazed at me critically and said, "Lose the nailpolish. Wear all black. We'll see you Friday." And so began a working relationship that would last until this very day. I worked coat check through the winter, and as the weather warmed up I started to bus. It's really hard, actually, being on your feet from 3PM to often 1AM, Fridays and Saturdays, while going to school full time.
After I graduated, I moved to Brooklyn. Rebecca would call me to work catering for private parties (I still had a car) and I would politely decline, as I was working 40-hour weeks and cooking for myself every night. Weekends were sacred. Once I got my Masters at Manhattan School of Music, I started booking musicians from the city to play these private parties for special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Good money, good food, good company. A dream gig!
I now teach Rebecca's mom the piano every Saturday morning in Stamford, CT. We practice scales, sing along with Cole Porter tunes from "Anything Goes" and watch videos on YouTube: Lenny conducting the NY Phil in West Side Story Suite, Argerich performing Ravel's Concerto in G with Detroit, Satie's Gymnopédie no. 1, Debussy's "Snow is dancing" from the Children's Corner. We love Bernstein's conductorless rendition of Rhapsody in Blue and American in Paris. Her mom is a classic, full of stories that I can only dream about: Sinatra at Newport Jazz Festival, Ella Fitzgerald live, Bernstein conducting the New York Phil. We learn from eachother.