When I first arrived in Los Angeles (1972) I rented a small guest house behind a large home in the Silverlake district, and my first job on Venice Blvd. near La Cienega (not a very safe neighborhood in those days). Well, my first night we also had a new bartender who wasn’t familiar with the security system; the rule was that no one left alone. So, the bartender emptied the register and put the money into the safe and we all opened the door to leave (there were 3 of us) and there were a semi-circle of police with the guns aimed at us and had us on the ground, helicopters flying above with their searchlights on. We stayed on the ground for about 20 minutes when they finally said “Sorry, you may leave”. That was my first night in Los Angeles — it seems there was a silent alarm that goes off if anyone take the money out of the register and does not leave the last $1 bill in the register.
Well, can it get any worse or better – I was a nervous wreck for hours, and driving home I could not find where I lived — no lights in the hills, no sidewalks — if you don’t know where you are going, you don’t belong there. So I went to the Copper Skillet Restaurant on Sunset Blvd. and had breakfast and coffee until the sun came up, then I went home. This ritual continued the second night as well; could not find my place and went to the Copper Skillet again – breakfast and coffee until the sun came up, and went home.
On the third evening I just went directly to the Copper Skillet and there was 1 seat at the counter, which I figured they were saving for me. I sat down and gave the waitress my order. There were two women sitting to my right – I paid no attention to them other than the fact that they were both wearing grey sweatshirts covered with paint as if they were painting a house. My order comes and I pick up my fork to start eating my breakfast when the lady next to me was placing her order with the waitress — I heard her voice and I got so nervous I dropped my fork. The waitress brought me another one and I proceeded to eat my eggs when the other lady placed her order… again, I dropped my fork, and again it was replaced. Then the ultimate encounter was with the lady sitting next to me – she looked at me and said “Relax, we’re just ordinary people out for breakfast”. That lady was Bette Davis, and seated next to her was Joan Crawford. I was an even more nervous wreck that I paid my bill and left, driving around Hollywood until the sun came up and I found my home. I was never lost again, and that’s why I am not Star-Struck to this day.
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