It’s 1921, and my father was now a music publisher with his own office. Each of the above songs was written by Eddie. I like the first title “You Can Read My Letters, But You Sure Can’t Read My Mind”, I can only imagine what was going on in his life at the time.
According to records, Eddie is now 30 years old. The song-writing thing seems to be working, he has an office on 135th Street, in New York, and he has also contracted to play for two years as a dancer and a singer of his own songs in the “Girls-de-Looks” burlesque show.
By 1925, Eddie had an office in D.C., had appeared in a few more plays on the Columbia Circuit and had moved his mother to Gotham, as it was called in the newspapers, or New York, as we know it. January, 1925 Eddie began working stock at what was then Minsky’s “Little Appollo Theater” on 125th in New York which featured Burlesque. By 1925, topless girls frozen in tableaux vivants were old news, permitted by law as long as they didn’t move, but in April of that year one of the girls moved and Minsky’s was raided. My father was there that month and for a year after that which was news then because he was the only person of color in the show.
Somewhere during this time, Eddie married his first wife and had a daughter. His daughter was born the same year my mother was born, 1923. By 1935 Eddie had another wife and by 1944 Eddie had made plans for the next wife, I know that because according to a newspaper article, Eddie had bought a house in Los Angeles and was “just waiting for the next lovely to come along.”
When I look at pictures of my father, I see a short (5′ 2″), bald-headed guy, average looks, kinda turned-down mouth and dreamy eyes (I look just like him, except I’m not bald), and I wonder how in the world he managed to attract my mom, and how did get on so famously with women? (My mom once told me Eddie loved to be surrounded by women.) My mom was gorgeous. She was taller than he was. she was educated in a convent school, my mother spoke Latin, for Heaven’s sake, and Eddie was self-taught. One thing I know now is that my father had ideas and he acted on those ideas. Eddie was a man of action. He was a fun-loving, happy, hard-working man. And Eddie is the reason I read as well as I do now, he bought me my first set of literary classics, which included Moby Dick and Last of the Mohicans.
I believe his attitude is mirrored in how people saw him, he could always get the gig and once he got it he was extended for two years or asked to come back. He had a busy mind and he planned ahead. I see him as a man with a vision for himself. He was pretty much a self-made man. He had drive. I would love to tell Eddie how much I admire him as a man. I was able to tell my mom that her ability to overcome rough times in her life was an inspiration to me. She had drive, also. Are there people you know who inspire you with their drive? I would love to know.