Books Reviews

Uncle Ralph

By: Milt Montague


One particularly bright and sunny spring day back in the middle 1960’s Uncle Ralph walked into our store on Madison Avenue and announced that he and his wife May had just arrived from their home in Miami Beach and were spending a weekend in New York. Uncle Ralph was our most favorite relative and Sivia and I were both delighted to see him. He was also greeted enthusiastically by our almost four year old daughter, Stephanie, and her two year old sibling, Andrea, who had stopped by for a visit on the way to the Children’s Zoo in Central Park with their nursemaid Maria. [There was no admission fee to the Central Park Zoo but the Children’s Zoo located inside it was 10 cents per person and adults were not admitted unless they were accompanied by a child.]

The purpose of his visit, Uncle Ralph explained, was to attend an important party given by his business associates at the Copacabana Nightclub which happened to be around the corner of the store. [The Copa, as it was called, was “The Place” for lavish dining, dancing, and drinking, plus an elaborate floor show that featured a large band, and starring famous singers, comedians, and scantily but extravagantly clad gorgeous showgirls [“The Copa Girls” with lots of skin, feathers, and rhinestones.]

After a few minutes, Uncle Ralph offered to take the girls for a stroll on Madison Avenue. Stephanie readily accepted, but Andrea demurred. When the two strollers returned
to the store, Uncle Ralph related a story about their being stopped, interviewed, and photographed for an article that would appear in the Daily News tomorrow. [The Daily News was a tabloid newspaper, published daily in New York City, and available at all newsstands for 2 cents, remember this was 1965.]

The next morning I bought a copy and on the editorial page there was a column entitled The Inquiring Photographer. There, smiling up at me was a picture of Stephanie and Uncle Ralph. Stephanie was adorably dressed in an off white coat and matching sailor hat, wearing white gloves and carrying a small pocketbook and holding hands with a beaming Uncle Ralph.

The story, printed alongside the picture, was simply, “Miss Stephanie and her Uncle Ralph strolling down Madison Avenue.”

Categories: Books Reviews, Non-Fiction

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