My love affair with Frank Sinatra started back when I was about 7 years old.
When I was that age my sisters were 19 and 22. They listened to him on 78 records and always he was featured on the Saturday morning Make Believe Ballroom on New York’s WNEW. I really did enjoy his songs and I thought from the pictures in my sister’s magazines that he was Oh so cute. So I have followed him for what seems like well, almost forever. William B Williams dubbed him Chairman of the Board but to me he was always Ole Blue Eyes.
I have seen Frank in the movies, I can sing practically all his songs and I had faithfully watched his TV shows and would never miss any alternate TV appearance and in person I was able to swoon over him at least 8 times. I think that entitles me to call him Frank. My husband has never shown any jealousy! It might have been a prerequisite to our engagement.
And so this is how I came to get personal correspondence from Ole Blue Eyes. I know it was addressed to both my husband and me but I’m sure that was just a formality. I’m sure he was sending it to me!
Charlie and I own and operate the E.48th Street Market. A food and deli market of Italian food specialties in Atlanta Georgia. In July of 1991 Frank Sinatra was appearing at Chastain Park a local outdoor theater in Atlanta. We had tickets. Not only did we have tickets but through a very good friend we were given tickets at their table right up in front of the stage. Need I say that I was in heaven.?
Anyway we got the bright idea of sending him a basket of Italian goodies that we would try to get placed in his dressing room through the efforts of a friend of ours who worked as a vendor at Chastain. A Basket filled with Italian goodies that he could enjoy at his leisure. It was our dream that he would be so beguiled by this magnificent basket that he would make some mention of it during the performance. With that I would rush the stage and possibly get a hug. Dream on.
The show ended and no mention whatsoever. I was crushed. All we could rationalize was that the basket was not delivered to his dressing room. Or that it was delivered while he was on stage. And home we went. No mention, and worse than that no hug for me.
Unbelievably in August 1991 a note arrives from Frank Sinatra himself. He graciously thanks us for the basket of goodies and wishes us well. The note is framed and will soon hang in the Market as soon as I can approve an appropriate place. But one thing is certain. He must have enjoyed the food. The next few times he had appearances in the Atlanta area he sent his chauffeur over to the Market to pick up a few things. We had fed Frank Sinatra. While not quite a hug, still heart warming.
OK, I have to admit that there is a PS to this story. When we first received this note from Frank Sinatra Charlie was anxious to bring it to the Market for a “Show and Tell”. I, on the other hand, was concerned that my treasure would get lost as it got passed around for people to look at. So I did what I thought best in that situation, I hid it in a very safe place. Charlie forgot about it for a while as he got busy in Market business and I forgot about it too.
But when we both reached an agreement on how it would be displayed I forgot where I hid it. 22 years later as I was cleaning out a closet to get it ready to be painted I came across a little wooden box that I always had put special mementoes from a time gone by in and there was the letter. Over the years I had searched what I thought was every nook and cranny and never thought to look in that box. On reading the note again we looked at the postmark and realized that it had been mailed on Charlie’s birthday, 8/17/91. How special is that! The note is all framed now and will soon be hung in the Market. I’m not sure exactly where so just look for the kneeler and vigil light and bottle of Jack Daniels!