Women of a certain age at a certain time in history were the fulcrum of change in the empowerment of women. The 60’s was this certain time, as was the suffragette movement at the turn of the 20th century. Every bit as powerful and enduring as the early movement demanding equality on all levels, women wanted it all. They wanted to be the Ingenue woman. Women everywhere wanted to be recognized for their contributions to society on every level. They wanted to prove themselves viable in their work, their sport and their chosen loves. Women wanted to be brave enough to step outside the box to discover for themselves what was once a silent dream whispered only in the depths of their curious minds.
When I was 15 years old (in 1957) Mary Higgins Clark was my mentor. She lived across the street from us in Westwood, N.J. She was 30 years old. I wondered at age 15 how I could become as worldly as MHC. Mary saw her world through Rose-Colored Glasses. She was undaunted. Her published articles and series stories appeared in magazines. Mary was a woman of substance. She had five children; and she was married to Warren Clark, VP of Marketing for Capitol Airways. Mary often drove to Manhattan to publishers and modeling agencies for the children. New York City, I was sure, was where I wanted to begin my worldly adventures. In June 1960, after graduating high school, I was, a $60 a week typist/transcriber in a typing pool at Reeves Bros Textiles on Broadway in Manhattan. Six months later (my typing and steno skills were very good), I was Executive Secretary to the VP of Marketing at Reeves Bros. I was on my way to my worldly world. And so, it was on that dreadful and ominous day, November 22nd, 1963, that Mary and I stood on a Short Line bus queue together at the NYC Port of Authority, dressed in our NYC finery of hats, fine leather kid gloves, color-coordinated shoes and purses and sophisticated silk billowy scarves. We stood together in shock and silence after the tragic and senseless assassination death of JFK.
This book and my coming of age began with Mary; and 60 years later, after three years of writing and over 300 pages, this is my worldly story of accomplishment, love, sorrow and adventure and my joyful journey that continues to this day. From my Sicilian Brooklyn family roots to the high profile Manhattan textile industry to USEASA (United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association) pre-Olympic slalom ski racing at Mad River Glenn in the mountains of Vermont to Caribbean Windjammer rescues, an Amsterdam love affair, a Barcelona gypsy dancer’s friendship, Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Istanbul, the Greek Islands, Lisbon, Portugal, a South African Diplomat love affair and Biafran airlift mission mercenaries, London work visas, an Ischia Island, Italy priestly love affair, my first marriage, the birth of my daughter, respite to spectacular and pristine Estero Island, Fl on the Gulf of Mexico, my formal education and Masters degree in Psychology, my Mental Health practice at the Marriage and Family Center in Ft. Myers, Fl, and, my redeeming and soulful marriage at age 47 to my extraordinary husband, Bill, our four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
My story continues to this day to be a search for adventure and accomplishment. As a member of Happy Taps, a senior group of women who tap dance to Big Band and Broadway show tunes, we perform gratis for local venues, nursing homes, American Cancer Society and Children’s Scholarship funds. I am grateful for my many wonderful and privileged opportunities, and I continue to enjoy my view of life through my Rose-Colored Glasses. I am grateful to my husband Bill, who is “the wind beneath my wings”, to my daughter who encouraged me to write my story, and to the inspiration that I receive every day from so many wonderful friends and family. Remember always, the moment is now. Enjoy it all! Elena Troy is a pen that combines my mother’s first name with the beginning of my maiden name.
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