7

Zip

The flower song ends and there is distracting movement on stage. Men arrange tables and chairs, a singer slips off his jacket, half- naked women sashay across the nightclub set. It is the first scene in act two of Pal Joey. I can hardly sit still as Melba Snyder and seedy nightclub singer Joey Evans meet stage right to conduct their haphazard interview. The waiter brings them fake Scotch and water. After telling a few casual lies, Joey leaves and the lights start to change: we are finally ready for Melba's song, the racy showstopper.

But the woman now spotlit on stage looks more like a fullback than a stripper. Short and squat, arms encased in white gloves that reach nearly to her neck, she begins a bump and grind that suggests shedding tacklers rather than inhibitions. The music blares for an instant and she breathes deeply. In her snug gown, lime green and black with great poufs at the shoulders, she seems to be wearing a uniform, not evening wear.

The audience, which has filled the auditorium of the synagogue, is not reacting properly. Some chuckle, some laugh, others shift around in their seats. A few people mumble the way I have heard old men mumbling in this place before, lost in their prayers. The couple sitting beside me looks worried. We had expected cheers,

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In the Shadow of Memory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • In the Shadow of Memory *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • 1 - Gray Area *
  • 1 - Gray Area: Thinking with a Damaged Brain *
  • 2 - Wild in the Woods: Confessions of a Demented Man *
  • 3 - In the Shadow of Memory *
  • 4 - Reeling Through the World: Thoughts on the Loss of Balance *
  • 5 - Living Memory *
  • 2 - The Family Story *
  • 6 - The Painstaking Historian *
  • 7 - Zip *
  • 8 - Dating Slapsie *
  • 9 - The Family Story *
  • 10 - The Year of the 49-Star Flag *
  • 3 - A Measure of Acceptance *
  • 11 - Kismet *
  • 12 - Counteracting the Powers of Darkness *
  • 13 - What is This and What Do I Do with It? *
  • 14 - A Measure of Acceptance *
  • 15 - Jangled Bells: Meditations on Hamlet and the Power to Know *
  • 16 - The Watery Labyrinth 218
  • 17 - Tomorrow Will Be Today *
  • In the American Lives Series *
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