I’ve been thinking about my girlfriends, past and present, mostly because I have no girlfriends here in Las Vegas, it’s the most unfriendly place I’ve ever been. I live in a gated community that’s pretty large … I have a beautiful home … but no one talks, they drive in and out of their garage and that’s it. Even if someone is walking (rarely) and I say hello, few of them answer. I just don’t get it. I grew up in Chicago, in the projects on Taylor and Racine where everybody knew everybody … and cared.
My first, BEST friend, was Veronica .. We met in kindergarten at Holy Family School, 1946,…(that’s me first row center with the ribbon in my hair, Veronica is in the second row third from left)
and remained best friends til she passed, too young at age 60, in 2002 , after a long valiant fight. Even though I moved to LA from Chicago in 1969 … and at times we didn’t talk for months, we always knew we were best friends. I would visit Chicago almost every year … and stay with Veronica and Carmy, and we just picked up where we left off. I am godmother to their daughter, Ann, who is now a great friend too. Veronica met Carmy when she was 14 and they married when she was 18 … she never cared about another man, and I knew he felt the same about her. Veronica and Carmie 2000, always smiling.
We all thought “what will Carmy do without Veronica” …well, because he is an exceptional man and deserved that kind of happiness again … he eventually met Marissa, a year and a half after Veronica passed. She is completely opposite of Veronica in every way, EXCEPT, she has the same kindness and huge heart … and now we are BEST FRIENDS, I adore her. The 3 of us celebrating Carmy’s birthday October 2012.
Even tho they live in Chicago and I’m in Las Vegas, the 3 of us are best friends forever … we email daily and they visit me twice a year (for my birthday in May, and Carmy’s in October). I try to visit Chicago yearly, it’s still my home town even though I lived in Los Angeles for over 37 years, before moving to Las Vegas almost 7 years ago.
I met my friend LOIS…(here she is in 1973)
when I worked at the Whiskey A Go Go in Chicago in 1968, those were great times. She is one of the funniest, most generous women I know. She works very hard, has a scrap metal business. She has been thru a lot, and is a total survivor, she’s amazing. We are still BEST FRIENDS after all these years, and all the miles between us. I always see her in Chicago, and she has visited me in LA and Las Vegas.
My sister Pat and I became BEST FRIENDS after she divorced and moved to LA in the 70’s. She married at 19, I was 14, we were sisters, but not friends in the true sense of the word. After she divorced, she left Chicago and moved in with me in LA, we opened a small restaurant, TWO SISTERS FROM CHICAGO (lunches & catering in the tiny kitchen of a bar in No. Hollywood and had the time of our lives.) We took a road trip to San Francisco in l987, something we always talked about doing, it was fantastic.
We rented a fantastic house in a nice area of No. Hollywood, hung out together, cooked together, shared too many hilarious days in the kitchen and nights at The Riverbottom, it was fabulous, memories I will never forget. She eventually moved back to Chicago because she missed her kids and grandkids. After a while she told me that she missed LA, but felt she was too old to return and start over again. She passed at 58, I still can’t believe it, I miss her every single day. There is no one like her.
I met my friend JANET (here we are in 2001)
when I worked at Warner Bros. in Burbank, CA and she worked for Oprah in Chicago, in the 80‘s. We spoke on the phone often and one day she said she was coming to LA and could we have lunch … she drove onto the lot, we had lunch, and are still BEST FRIENDS. She is now working for Steve Harvey and has 2 fabulous children. I see her when I’m in Chicago, and also in Las Vegas when she comes for business. I always think this is why we were instant friends … she was born October 29, 1960 … the day I married my first husband in Chicago. Her mother and father live in Berwyn, where my brother lived at the time … and their names are Patsy and Corky … the names of my sister and brother!!! It was meant to be …
I met my friend, JEAN (here we are in 2007)
in the late 80’s … she was dating my ex husband…we liked each other almost immediately. They actually dated in the 60’s in New Jersey before I met Michael in Chicago in ‘69. We also dated the same men, at the same time, when she worked as a dancer at the Jersey Shore … and I worked at The Whiskey A Go Go. The 60’s were very very good to us! People wonder how this relationship works … it’s easy … she’s a great friend with a big heart, funny, generous, pretty and a terrific cook! She has some wild stories about her showgirl days in Las Vegas when she danced at all the big hotels. She has been a fantastic friend, we are family … and it works!
Lastly, I met my LIFETIME BEST FRIEND, BREE, the day I gave birth to her, November 22, 1971. (Here we are 2006 at a concert at The Hard Rock hotel)
She is the love of my life … and the heart of my heart. It was mostly just the 2 of us as she grew up … I worked and tried to be the best mother I could. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worthwhile. We are very different in many ways … and we both appreciate those differences. I’m very very proud of my strong, fearless, beautiful, talented, street-smart girl … I wish I were more like her.
And here we are, most of us … Jaxon (my grand daughter), Bree, Jean, me, Lois, Marissa and Ann (Veronica’s daughter) …
still friends after all these years … at my birthday in Lax Vegas a couple of years ago. And that’s what I mean about REAL friendship …it lasts forever no matter where you are or the distance between you …
IT’S IN THE HEART!
To those who know me well … I’m a great story teller, and love doing it … I’ve led a very interesting life and have wanted to put it on paper for a long time … so I’m thinking this is a perfect time and place to do it … with the help and encouragement of my incredible daughter, Bree, I am putting together this blog … I’ll be adding to it from time to time, with hopes that people who share my love for all things Chicago (the city and the band), good music, movies, television, the 60’s, family, neighborhoods, and an interesting life well lived … will want to come along for the ride ………
I’m Judy Consalvo … Rivas … DeLano … born/raised on Taylor Street in the Jane Addams housing projects … it was heaven to me! Lots of kids, places to play, Victory Gardens, johnny pumps, peddlers … everyone knew everyone, and cared. I had incredible parents, and a sister and brother that teased and loved me, it was perfect (more on them later). I went to Holy Family School where I met my best friend, Veronica, in kindergarten and we remained best friends til she passed at 60, much too young. I loved St. Pius High School, where I got to go to school with the neighborhood ‘bad girls’ who I adored … much nicer than the ‘mean girls’ that bullied me thru 7th and 8th grade, then wrote how sorry they were in my graduation book … too late.
I became a secretary, worked downtown (my first job was at the National Live Stock and Meat Board!) and married Omar, a handsome, popular, funny neighborhood guy in 1960, we were madly in love, and much too young (I was 19, he was 20)!
Sadly, it only lasted 5 years. I went on the road with The Swinging Lads from Las Vegas and had a ball, when I returned to Chicago, I worked and lived on Rush Street in the 60’s … again, it was heaven to me! Initially my roommate, Frankie Jones, a Playboy Playmate, …
brought me for an interview with the ‘bunny mother’ at The Playboy Club, Toni LeMay, who rejected me because she didn’t like my nose … she gave me the card of a plastic surgeon and told me to return after I had it fixed! So, my first cocktail waitress job was at The Whiskey A Go Go, hilarious fun …
The Trip, The Pussycat Lounge (great costume), Mr. Kelly’s, The Back Room and the Wine & Roses in Schiller Park … another great job, tons of fun, great people and terrific music., until the mob wanted to take over. Next, an ‘interesting’ job, I was paid cash to I sit in an office downtown 8 hours a day and no one ever came in, then the FBI visited one day looking for ‘the boss’, who I never saw … obviously the job ended shortly after. But …. I did receive a gorgeous gold Baume Mercier watch from “the bosses” which I still have. Then Paul B, where everyone who was anyone bought their clothes,…
…also Boutique In The Sky, a great store in the top floor of a high rise that was open 24 hours. Finally, a really fun job at The Kinetic Playground where every rock band that was famous at that time played … except The Beatles and The Stones.
I married again in 1969, Michael, the star of HAIR at the Shubert Theater … another handsome guy who I didn’t know well enough (3 months) … we were married in a bar on Rush Street by a judge who officiated non gratis just to see all the crazies. The groom wore buckskin pants and a goat skin shirt … I had a gorgeous piece designed by Billy Bob & Mona Young who made all the costumes for HAIR … purple suede fringe vest down to my ankles, all hand stitched with yellow/white beads … over white jeans and boots …GORGEOUS, I still have it.
* 9/15/11 Oh … forgot to mention … on Halloween, a month after HAIR opened, Henry Norton (who I was dating when he introduced me to Michael) bought out the entire Shubert Theater and everyone had to come in costume to the performance, it was totally outrageous! Henry was Dracula and arrived in a casket in a horse drawn carriage, another friend came as a pregnant nun with birth control pills on his prayer beads. I never liked dressing for Halloween, so I went as ME but EXTRA … tiny lavendar 2-piece dress with floor length purple leather coat, damn wish I still had this outfit for Bree, she could really rock it now!!! She did wear my wedding dress for Halloween a few years back and wowed everyone.
At Italian weddings you always receive fat cards filled with money, we did receive fat cards, but they were mostly filled with joints, etc. it was the 60’s!
After everyone left, we discovered the wedding cake, uncut, and still in the kitchen! We moved to LA after a few months, so he could continue his career … we had a beautiful baby girl a couple of years later … and divorced after 5 years, it was never meant to be, but then again, I have my gorgeous daughter, Bree, who is and always has been my best friend … and now she has given me a grand daughter, Jaxon Skyler, who is the center of our universe.
And now the fun really began …….great jobs, fun, interesting and star-studded … Judy’s in Century City where I sold clothes to Robert Redford and Tony Curtis – Asst. to Tom Laughlin during post production of “Billy Jack” (no comment), Allen, Ingersoll & Weber, PR firm that represented every major star at that time, and I met or spoke to most of them – Manager at Maison Gerard Restaurant (very star studded) – Two Sisters from Chicago (a small kitchen my sister and I opened, our lifetime dream … good food, hilarious times) and, oh boy … The Riverbottom bar. Then, Executive Assistant at Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Disney, Western Costume Company, MTM, The Family Channel …. great stories, some very interesting “dates” and amazing memories … this is my blog,…stay tuned! BTW … I’ve been living in Las Vegas for the last 5 years … to be continued!