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The Oregon City Library is a beautiful building. A legacy of Andrew Carnegie’s committment to philanthropy, the library looks as it did a hundred years ago. All in all a perfect spot for a talk on “River of January.” The best part was seeing former students from way back, and friends from home. Big Thanks to Maureen Cole, and the staff of the old OC Library. And a thanks to my boys for the help and cheering section.
Remember Ed Sullivan’s promise for his Sunday night broadcast? I am shamelessly stealing it for tonight’s book presentation about “River of January.” Join me at the Oregon City Library, 7:00 sharp, where we will travel back to the glamorous past.
606 John Adams St.
This is part of a snapshot taken in Rome in 1932. Helen, the subject of my book, River of January stands above wearing the white fur-collared coat. Posing next to her, in the white cap is dancer, Carmen Morales, another member of the “American Beauties,” an American ballet company. The two girls met when both were cast in this troupe booked to dance across the cities of Europe. They remained the closest of friends until Helen’s death in 1993.
I have perused countless pictures of Helen’s European tour, closely, (close as with a magnifying glass) the faces of her fellow dancers. And I have decided that of all the girls in the show Carmen, next to Helen of course, was a classic American Beauty.
From the little I could find on the internet Carmen was born in the Spanish Canary Islands around 1914, and came to the US where…
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“Rumor has it that Mistinguett served as a spy for the French government during the Great War while she was dancing across the continent. They may be watching her again because of that new leader in Germany,” Lillian remarked as the company sunned themselves on exclusive Larvotto Beach.
“Who told you such a thing, Lillian?” Una, another dancer, asked skeptically.
“Didier, the older stage manager at the Terminus—he seems to know all about Miss.”
Charlotte’s eyes grew large. “How thrilling!”
“And she’s had many affairs with younger men,” Lillian continued, enjoying the attention. “You’re familiar with Maurice Chevalier?”
“Supposedly they shared a passionate, very public romance. Miss launched his career when she plucked him from a music hall chorus line and cast him into his first film, La Valse Renversante.”
“No!” Charlotte blurted.
“Isn’t he a lot younger?”
“Thirteen years, according to Didier.”
“Lucky woman!” Charlotte said. The rest of the girl’s laughed at her response.
Page 75, River of January