Friday, November 17, 2017

MY HUCKLEBERRY FRIEND....


Blue Box Cafe...Tiffany's, New York
Ron and me at the Cromwell College At Home....1963


One Saturday afternoon in 1954, along with my friend, whose name, coincidentally, was “Rhonda Friend”, I sat in Gympie’s Olympia Picture Theatre.  My eyes were glued to the screen, engrossed, oblivious to everything and everyone around me – Rhonda and Jaffas included.  

On that very afternoon I fell under the mesmerising spell of Audrey Hepburn. To this day the status quo remains. 

Alongside Gregory Peck as her handsome leading man, Audrey played the runaway princess in “Roman Holiday”. 

From the moment she appeared on the silver screen her star shone brightly.  

Audrey Hepburn passed away on 20th January, 1993. In my opinion, her star hasn’t dimmed.

Vividly I remember the exact moment, and what I was doing, when I learned of her death.  I feel no embarrassment in admitting I shed tears.  Many a tear has to fall, but it’s all in the game we know as....Life.   My reservoir of tears will never run dry, and no desalination plant is necessary.

When filming commenced on “Roman Holiday” Gregory Peck, who was already a major star in his own right, after only a short while in Audrey’s luminous presence, recognised the wondrous aura surrounding the special young woman before him.  Peck, always the gentleman, told the producers Hepburn’s name should have top billing on the movie’s credits, not his.   The producers followed Mr. Peck’s advice. 

Audrey won an Oscar for her role as “Crown Princess Ann”. 

I think Vespa scooters should have received an Oscar, too. 

“Roman Holiday” alerted the world’s attention to the Italian motor scooter, the name of which means “wasp” in Italian.  Everyone wanted a Vespa...just about everyone had one after they’d watched Audrey and Gregory buzz around the streets of Rome.  Even though, at the time, I was too young, I pined for one.  A couple of years later, I did, in fact, go for a ride on a Vespa, as a pillion passenger on the scooter owned by another friend’s older sister.  It was fun pretending I was Audrey Hepburn aka Princess Ann, if only for a short while.

Nine years later, and nine years older, in 1963, with my undiminished love of Audrey intact I stood beside “Ms Golightly” at the windows of New York’s famous jewellery store in the unforgettable, wonderful “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.  

Sitting beside me that Saturday evening in a Brisbane movie theatre was a young man named “Ron”.  He was older than me by four years or so. He was an older brother of another friend of mine.  Said friend was a school teacher in Gympie at the time - which is how her brother's and my paths crossed.  He’d paid a visit to Gympie, and we met at a gathering his sister, Marj, my friend, had organised in his honour. 

Ron was attending Queensland University at St. Lucia, a Brisbane suburb.  He was a member of the Cromwell College Alumni.  He was studying Electrical Engineering.  Cromwell was named Cromwell College in honour of Oliver Cromwell, sometime Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Every other weekend for a couple of months or thereabouts, (which was the duration of Ron’s and my non-torrid “romance”) Marj and I headed off to Brisbane to stay with Ron and his housemate, who also attended Cromwell College.  They were renting a house in Ashgrove.

Our romance was of a simple, pure and innocent nature.  Music, philosophy, movies and reading were our majors.

Sadly, Ron passed away 15 years ago.  He introduced me to the writings of C.P. Snow, CBE, the English novelist and physical chemist. The books I bought and read then, still have pride of place on my shelves.

I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.  I have it stored in a set-top box; I have it on DVD, and on USB disc.  I think somewhere I probably still have the video cassette version as well.  Similar applies to “Roman Holiday”. 

Also, among my million LPs is the soundtrack to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”....a fabulous album.

No matter how many times I’ve watched either movie, at the end of each, tears flow like a river in flood.    

Coincidentally, I once had a beautiful ginger cat, named "Cat", same as Holly's in the movie.  I'd named my lovely fellow "Cat" long before I'd seen the movie or read the novella.

Audrey Hepburn’s “Holly Golightly” was a captivating character.  It was Hepburn’s decision to portray her slightly differently to the original “Holly” of Truman Capote’s novella, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. 

Hepburn wasn’t a demanding diva, but she wished to soften the character in the movie version. Her wish was granted. 

Whenever I think about “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” the hauntingly beautiful “Moon River” spins on the turntable in my mind. The image of “Holly”, sitting on her window sill, hair wrapped in a towel, gently strumming a guitar, meditatively singing - “We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waitin’ round the bend, my huckleberry friend, Moon River and me...” makes me long to be drifting with the dream maker.  

Henry Mancini composed the Academy Award winning song.  Johnny Mercer, who penned the unforgettable “Autumn Leaves”, “Days of Wine and Roses”, “That Old Black Magic”, “Alexander’s Rag Time Band” and myriad others, wrote the lyrics.  

When Randall (who later became my second husband...and second ex) came back after working and living in New York for nine years, he gifted me with a sterling silver key chain and a sterling silver telephone dial, both from Tiffany's and both in Tiffany's light blue packaging.   The key chain came in a box and the dialer in a felt drawstring bag.  I still have them in my cherished possession.

A couple of weeks ago I read Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store on the corner of New York’s Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street has made breakfast at Tiffany’s a reality. 

Out of mothballs come my long black dress (actually, I’m wearing a long, black dress this very moment...but it’s covered in cat fur...not really suitable for a visit to Tiffany’s), elbow-length gloves, my multi-strand pearl and diamond necklace, as well as my extended onyx and gold cigarette holder.  My large-framed dark glasses are at hand, always. 

This time I won’t be standing at the window looking in, dreaming...

The famed jeweller has opened “The Blue Box Cafe”, decorated in robin-egg blue, the store’s trademark colour of its packaging.    Diners can order coffee and a croissant for $29. Also on the menu is a choice of avocado toast, truffled eggs, or a smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese.  

 Grab your tiara and pearls...let’s have breakfast at Tiffany’s.  It’s okay if you’re running late...we’re just two drifters...off to see the world....at our own pace....

Smoked Salmon-Avocado Croissants: Melt the butter in a skillet; crack in 2 or 4 eggs, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until eggs are cooked the way you like. Towards the very end, places slices of cheese of choice on top of eggs (Havarit is good, too) so it starts to melt. Place thinly sliced smoked salmon on one side of each of the toasted croissants. Place avocado slices on other side of croissants; squeeze juice of lime onto avocado slices. Place eggs on top of smoked salmon; sprinkle generously with finely chopped chives. Place halves together; serve.

Mushroom-Goat’s Cheese Omelette with Spinach and Avocado: Add 1-2tbs x-virgin olive oil to pan; over med-heat, add 85g sliced mushrooms; cook 5-6mins; transfer to bowl. Wipe pan clean; spray with oil; heat over med-heat. In bowl whisk together 3 eggs; season; pour into pan; cook until edges begin to set, 6-7mins. Run spatula around edges to release; slide egg onto plate. On half of omelette, layer the sautéed mushrooms, baby spinach, crumbled goat’s cheese and diced avocado; fold other half over.

Breakfast Veggie Egg Casserole: Preheat oven 175C.  Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Heat 1tbs olive oil in a large pan over med-high heat.  Add 1 small, diced onion; sauté 4-5mins.  Add 1 tbs olive oil, 1 diced large carrot, 450g diagonally-cut, bite-size asparagus, 125g sugar snap peas, 3-4c chopped broccoli florets and 2 crushed garlic cloves.  Cook 8-10mins, stirring occasionally, until the veggies have softened, and are cooked through. Add 250g sliced mushrooms and 1 punnet halved cherry tomatoes; stir; cook 3-4mins.Transfer about half to baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly 55g crumbled.  Repeat process; sprinkle further 55g feta over top. Whisk together 12 large eggs, 1/2c milk, salt and pepper; pour over the veggies. Bake for 30-40mins. 

Crab-Avo Toasts:  Brush rounds of sourdough or halved bagels with olive oil; toast in oven; spread with mashed avocado; top with fresh crab meat.


32 comments:

  1. Clever insertion of the the lines from Moon River. I don't think I have ever seen the movie. I expect I would blub.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrew...As Molly would say..."Do yourself a favour"...go grab yourself a copy of "Breakfast at Tiffany's"...or keep your eye out for it as a re-run on TV....it was on again one Saturday afternoon, only a few weeks ago....as was "Roman Holiday"...and "Sabrina"...the Hepburn version of the latter...not the remake. The original is the best.

      I'm a big blubberer! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  2. I remember enjoying "Roman Holiday" but disliked "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
    I remember once saying I'd never have a Vespa, simply because of that 'wasp' sound. I wanted a bike that sounded like a proper bike, a Harley. I never did get one of those, but my Suzuki sounded sufficiently bike like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi River...we each have our own individual likes and dislikes.

      I was nine years old the first time I watched "Roman Holiday", so a Vespa was sheer fun and excitement a young girl such as I was at that stage.

      I never ever hankered for a motor bike of any kind...but I did love sports cars. Fortunately, that dream came into fruition when Randall and I were teenagers and in our early 20s, as a sports car was our mode of transport.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  3. I loved this - I love old movies - loved Audrey Hepburn. Not as much as you maybe, but a lot. And the restaurant at Tiffany's - I love it I am not surprised!!!! I copied a recipe too! Thanks. sandie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sandie...Audrey was special...beautiful inside and out. I'll meet you for breakfast...at Tiffany's! :)

      Thanks for coming by...I'm glad you enjoyed my reminiscing. :)

      Delete
  4. I loved Truman Capotes' Breakfast at Tiffany but you will be unsurprised to hear I haven't seen the movie made from it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, EC. I thought there was no one who'd not seen the movie...but here we are...both you and Andrew haven't seen it! It's a fun, harmless, enjoyable movie. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  5. Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck - the charming actors, Vespa, the famous italian scooter, Tiffany , the well known eating place - great, memorable concepts!
    Your displayed dishes of croissants, omelette, casserole - are yummi, and also worth memorizing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. G'Day...I loved Gregory Peck...still do. He was wonderful in every role...and who could ever forget him as Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird"? He was a gentleman on the screen and in real life. Audrey was his female equivalent. She did so much good work in her UNICEF ambassador role. I think that was of more importance to her than her movie career. She spread love and goodwill throughout her life...on screen and off...public and private.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  6. I adore Audrey Hepburn, I have written a post about her, I am sure!
    As you say in your comment above, she was truly a good person, not just someone who was a beautiful actress.
    Lovely post. P.S. I love Gregory Peck too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kay....She certainly was special. She had class, style, dignity, humility, beauty inside and out,talent...she was the whole package.

      As for Peck...he stole my heart when I was a little kid, and he never returned it. He was wonderful.

      Thanks for coming by, Kay. :)

      Delete
  7. Both you and Audrey: classic and classy women.
    That takes me back. Audrey and Gregory Peck were amazing. And Andy Williams really made Moon River come alive didn't he?
    That veggie casserole sounds wondrous!
    Hope you are enjoying your day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sandra...You are more than generous with your comment. :)

      Yes...Andy Williams' version of "Moon River" is truly beautiful. I love the melody, and it will always remain a favourite of mine.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  8. Oh gosh, Breakfast at Tiffany's, now that was a beaut movie, loved the songs back then.
    Went to watch same movie on Netflix earlier this year and just couldn't get into it.
    Audrey was beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She sure was, Margaret. The soundtrack to the movie is as good as the movie...Henry Mancini was the master!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  9. I am wearing my tiara and pearls right now. I'm Harry Goheavily. Will you be my huckleberry friend? I do declare I have never had a huckleberry friend, though I once had a raspberry pal...."“It’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By the sounds of it, Yorkie, you could pal up with Caitlyn Jenner, or join in with the Priscilla of the Desert girls. You'd fit in well with your tiara and pearls. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  10. I've always been a Audrey Hepburn fan ...
    Love your selection of recipes here, just fabulous.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jan...I reckon it would be very difficult, if not impossible, not to like Audrey Hepburn...she was unique in so many ways, So very captivating.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  11. That's one of my favorite movies, too. It might be time to watch that again. I, too, cry at the scene in which she lets her cat out of the car. Oh my - that broke my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lynn...That final scene gets me every time. I keep thinking, after seeing the movie so many times, and knowing what is coming, I wouldn't again shed tears...but I do, without fail!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  12. I canny imagine Audrey making breakfast....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I can Mr. Ad-Man...Audrey was a very caring mother to her boys...and I'm sure she regularly make breakfast for them.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  13. I haven't seen some of these movies but the photos make me nostalgic. I wish they still make movies as such. Legendary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lux...in the words of "Molly" Meldrum...do yourself a favour and find some time to watch both movies...they are wonderful entertainment.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  14. If I charged the Bear these prices for such simple, pleasurable repasts, I would soon be able to afford the diamond and pearl necklace!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very little comes cheaply nowadays, Peace Thyme. I would hate to be trying to run a restaurant of any description with the power costs being the height they are, in particular. It's not easy for the business operators today...or the farmers...anyone.

      I think it's best just to daydream...they cost nothing! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  15. Lets see: is that "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain" or another one? Been awhile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. G'Day, Goatman..."The rain in Spain" etc., etc., is from "My Fair Lady"...Audrey starred in the movie.

      Good to see you...thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  16. Ahh, Lee, you would love my daughter's caravan which she renovated to hire out as a bar at weddings, etc. She was looking for an elegant name for it and I suggested Audrey. The under 40 year old had to do her homework and after learning more about Audrey Hepburn agreed that was the perfect name. She calls the van Hello Audrey. The charm of the beautiful lady lives on!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Pauline...that's a wonderful story...how great! I wish your daughter all the very best with her endeavour....good on her! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete