Thursday, August 2, 2012

Yet another Shel Silverstein story...

I knew Shel in Greenwich Village when he was living there, back in the fifties.

I used to drink at the Limelight Cafe (where I ran up a tab of over $1,000 before they noticed it and stopped me). 

Anyway, he hung out there too and we were on a nodding basis, and, when enough beers went down, we had conversations of no importance. 
I can't remember any of them.

When I ran into him here at the Pier House Beach Club in 1986 I told him that when I came home from working at Birdland around 4:00 a.m. (in '59 or '60), I'd emerge from the subway at Sheridan Square...there was an Israeli coffee shop across from the subway entrance. It was always crowded at that hour from all the drinkers from the bars that had just closed. There was a huge plate glass window running the length of it, and in the winter it was all frosted up and you couldn't really see inside. But I knew when Shel was there, because he would always sit at the same table, and there was a spotlight over the table shining directly down on his bald head, and it would cause a glow on the frosted window.

...and that's my Shel story. What's yours?


  1. I saw shell walking down Caroline St. Approaching him was a small girl with a handful of helium balloons on strings. She approached Shel and asked him if he wanted to buy any. He said yes, how much. A quarter a piece. He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out cash, a wad of cash. Her eyes lit up, with her free hand, she grabbed his wad, handed him her entire handful of balloons, which he accepted, freeing her to run away in delight with a big roll of money. I couldn't stop laughing. Big girls, small girls, all girls that Shel played with. . . he evoked that kind of generousity.

    Well,I do have another Shel story, but it is not for mixed audience.

  2. I asked Shel if he was ever lonely, working at home by himself. He said that for him, an empty room was "like a gymnasium," that he "knew what to do in it." I think of that from time to time, now that I'm writing novels, and I'm sorry Shel won't be there when I renew my acquaintance in Key West over the next few months.
    Anne Carlisle