Someone asked why I am writing about people they don't know and I replied that each taught me something, were important in my life and that it was like them talking about their family--these people were/are my family.
I met Eleanor when I started working at Weight Watchers in New York in 1967. She was the first person in one of my classes to lose 100 pounds and we liked each other immediately. She had a condo on the west side in the 70s not too far from where I lived. At that time she was going with a married man and Vinnie, too, would lose over 100 pounds. Both were very funny talking about their sex life and the extra 200 pounds that were in the bed with them. They were even funnier talking about having sex without the 200 pounds and how different it was. More than once I suggested they take their 'act' to the comedy club down in the Village but it didn't happen. Vinnie, like most married men, promised he would leave his wife as soon as the kids were old enough and, needless to say, his wife gave birth again. I think many of our talks helped her realize she was no longer the 'fat' Eleanor that had to settle but could do her own picking and choosing. It was a long time before she gave him up and the idea they would be getting married some day but when I last saw her in 1988 they were friendly enough that she and Vinnie were able to see each other without hard feelings or words.
Eleanor and I continued keeping in touch with each other after I moved to Memphis and I would see her whenever I came to New Youk. I am a little fuzzy on the dates and I am sure I will come across them going through my diaries as I talk about the 90s but being alone wasn't something Eleanor could handle as I was to find many people would settle for less than they deserved because they were afraid of being by themselves. Things would get a lot worse, in my opinion, over the next few years.
"September 22, 1988 Arrived in town--meeting Andy and Eleanor and the 3 of us are going to see "A Chorus Line"--Eleanor warned me that she had put most of her weight back on and that I shouldn't say anything--I told her that I had put on 22 pounds---oh yes, Vinnie had put back his 100+ pounds--in any case after the show we went to the Carnegie Deli to have a sandwich--Eleanor went home after and said she spoke to Vinnie and they would meet us Sunday."
"September 25, 1988 Andy, Eleanor, Vinnie and I met for brunch at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue for brunch---there was no discussion about weight that afternoon--we were there for almost 3 hours and had a lot of laughs--Eleanor thought Andy was cute-- I picked up the check--don't ask me why!
Eleanor met someone--I don't remember what his name was--a Puerto Rican who hustled gay men. We were still snail mailing each other---hey, this was in the late 80s, early 90s, I think--but in any case the next thing I knew she told me he was in jail and that when he got out they were going back to PR so she could meet his family and then they would get married. I just had a feeling he was playing her from the things she was writing and I advised her against it. He didn't have a job, she was paying the bills and he hadn't said anything about giving up the gay sex. It all concerned me and I told her that but she responded that I shouldn't worry she knew what she was doing and he loved her. The last I heard from Eleanor she and the guy were getting married, taking a cruise. I tried to reach her at home without luck. I wrote her but didn't get an answer. I called where she worked and was told she wasn't working there anymore. Had my worse fears happened? Was she so involved with her new life that she had left her old one completely? I asked Andy to check around but he came up with nothing. I hope she is well, has the family that she always wanted and, most of all, is happy.
People come and go in your life but some make deeper impressions than others and Eleanor was one of them. I am still hoping she is alive and will one day google my name or look me up in the telephone book . She was (is?) a giving, loving warm person.