This is a tribute to my Aunt Betty; a consummate pianist and all-around lovely lady who never compromised in her desire to live by her craft alone.
I remember she and my uncle, an incredible chef and business owner, ran a high-end dinner club in Marina del Rey back in the time when rubbing elbows with the likes of John Wayne or The Rat Pack was just a typical Saturday night.
The photo I’ve included is a VHS screen capture from the movie entitled “The Young Lions“. It’s an old 1958 war classic starring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Maximilian Schell, as well as other notable names. That’s her happily playing while gazing towards the singing gentleman on the piano bench to her right: Dean Martin.
So, she was sometimes an unbilled pianist at a movie studio, amongst other things, all in addition to entertaining in their club. And the one gig she rarely missed in all her years was Sunday morning service at their local church.
I remember there used to be this beautiful black and white framed glamor photo of my aunt that graced my grandmother’s foyer. As a young, wided-eyed girl, I’d stare at it often and dream of the wondrous life she must have led.
My aunt is older now and long since retired, yet she’s still the lovely, warm-hearted soul she’s always been. I’ve heard ever since I was a young girl that I “look just like Aunt Betty”. What a wonderful, wonderful compliment.