Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Nevele Country Club - Ellenville, NY

The Nevele Country Club in Ellenville, NY is a bit of paradise on earth with its breathtaking view. Actually the hotel was built on a narrow valley which makes it even lovelier.
That is the Nevele's nine-story tower which houses all their guests.
The Nevele's nice little tower.
Winter activities as well as summer could be done at the Nevele.  
the valley is really beautiful.
Nevele's ground seen from a plane.
The Stardust Room was Nevele's night-club. I don't think I've ever been there.
This photo must have been taken in the early 1960s.
the road going up to Ellenville, NY around November.

Billboard's Top Ten on 15 November 1975

1.  Island girl - Elton John
2.  Lyin' eyes - The Eagles
3.  Fly, Robin fly - Silver Connection
4.  Miracles - Jefferson Starship
5.  That's the way I like it - K.C. & the Sunshine Band

6. Heat wave - Linda Ronstadt
 7.  Who loves you? - Four Seasons
8.  Feelings - Morris Albert
9.  Low rider - War
10. Sky high - Jigsaw 

By November 1975, I had settled in at the Forrest House, one of the many former guests' houses they had at the Nevele Country Club for housing their staff who lived in the premisses all-year round. We lived individually in comfortable rooms and usually worked only three days a week. That was heaven to me!

We, busboys and waiters usully worked Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. We were off from Sunday evening to the next Friday evening. Oh, what a feeling!

At Forrest House we were mostly Latin-americans and I became friends with two bus-boys: Humberto, a Peruvian half-Inca and Juan Pablo LondoƱo, a Colombian from European extraction. Humberto was the nicest boy possible. He taught me how to ice-skate and I learned it the very first time I took to the ice-rink. They also had a skiing slope at the Nevele but I was warned by other staff that I should not even think about skiing because if I happened to break a leg I would be finished! Health costs in the USA are prohibitive and besides I would not be able to work as hard as we usually did.

Myself at Juan Pablo Londono's room at Forrest House where we all lived. January 1976. 
Having a Budweiser at next-door neighbour Juan Plabo's.

I had all the time in the world at my hands and had the chance to read books but mostly listen to New York City's FM stations. I found out we could connect our radios on the TV-cable people had to watch TV from New York. The signal was not 100% right but good enough for me to listen to WPIX, WPLJ, WXLO, WCBS etc. I loved listening to New York stations. Without a cable it was impossible to listen to anything but a real bad AM signal from WABC. I didn't have a TV set but sometimes I watched TV at Humberto's room but we talked so much that it was impossible to pay attention to the movies or musical shows.

sooner than I realized it was winter. 1975-1976 Winter in Ellenville, NY.
Look Mum! With two hands buried in the snow and with no overcoat on! on the slopes of Nevele's hillocks in Ellenville, NY.
Myself & Shadow... a stray dog that used to live at the Nevele... he would stay outside in the snow for the whole winter... poor dog!
Shadow and me... in the snow... it is probably January 1976.

I had bought a Nikon camera from a Jewish bus-boy who was leaving for good. I'd paid too much for it. I was naive and paid the price he asked without any bargaining... I had a lot to learn yet. Anyway, I had a good camera even though it developed fungus in the lens a few years later.

Every bus-boy was attached to a waiter and they became a 'fixture'. The second week-end I worked at the Nevele I was 'grabbed' by Victor, a middle-aged Hondurean mulatto waiter who was obviously gay. I can't recall Victor's surname no matter how I rack my brain. He was not a bad sort of fellow but he was deep into the American way of sucking up to the rich and powerful which I particularly think disgusting. I wish I had a photo of Victor. He was dark, growing fatter by the day, had kinky hair and was going bald which he disguised by rolling the hair that grew at the sides onto his head pate. Victor was a movie-buff and used to love talking about Lana Turner and all those 1950s Hollywood stars! We became sort of friends but I was irked by the need Victor had to put me down in order to enhance his own position. His best friend was a Polish-Jew waiter I don't remember the name. Victor was very obsequious to Beverly and Marilyn two local Gentile real-blonde waitresses who worked during summer. He wanted really bad to be 'accepted' into the white-people's circle.

One day, during mid-Spring I was approached by Herman, another middle-aged Polish-Jewish waiter who wanted to 'poach' me from Victor. As I was sore with the Hondurean I took his offer and moved to his station. Victor was really shocked by my attitude, but after a few weeks we were friends again. He got himself another Brazilian bus-boy called Delmo. I actually liked Victor and not having to work with him was really good because I didn't have to put up with his histrionics.

Then, a week before Memorial Day when the dining-room world is turned topsy-turvy and everyone gets ready to make the most money possible, I was simply dumped by Herman who was not to be trusted from the start. Well, I should have known better when he took me away from Victor... now I was getting dumped for another Brazilian bus-boy who had just arrived. Herman was married to a Brazilian middle-aged chamber-maid from Minas Gerais who must have called his attention to the new boy from Minas. He was regular fellow even though he took my job away I was not sore with him but with old Scrooge who didn't even flinch when he saw me in the dining room.

I was actually demoted or 'exiled' to the kid's section of the Nevele's dining room! I was really downcast at first but later I realized this whole fracas had been a blessing in disguise because working with teen-agers was much more fun, we worked shorter hours because kids don't linger forever after their meals. They don't drink endless cups of coffee or tea and better still kids arrive earlier and leave as soon as they finished their meal.

The story goes on at the next post which will be titled :  Summer of 1976.

Jeffery Miller on an early spring day in 1976.
my dearest friend Jeffery Miller.
This the Mineiro bus-boy who took my job. He stands at the stairs that led to our Forrest House.
The fellow on the left is his mate who probably worked  in some other country-club not too far away. Look at the flares! It was 1976!
Myself on the roof of Forrest Lodge House our house on the Nevele's ground in Spring 1976.
Ellenville church on Ellenville Road in the summer of 1976. 

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