Elena Broslovsky and the “Dining Room Girls” at Tomales Bay Meet Warren Katz 1969
We tittered. We were the dining room girls, a crew. Debbie, Paula, Mary, and Me. Paula a Pixie with bright laughing eyes and the slightest gap between her front teeth. Debbie had a light brown Afro bigger than Angela Davis’s and buck front teeth that gave her a little lisp. Highly intelligent and highly pissed most of the time, when she got really mad, she sounded like Donald Duck. I tried to stay out her line of fire. Mary with immense blue eyes an hourglass figure and slick straight blonde hair curtaining her face had no clue she was gorgeous even in her striped dining room girl uniform.
Leon barked at us. We came to attention quick, fanning back out of the kitchen through the swinging doors to get the orders from the people sitting at the round tables wanting breakfast before work. We poured black coffee into their cups. The condiments were on the lazy susan that spun around the sugar, cream, and little white monkey dishes full of butter, jam, and ketchup. We had made them up the night before and covered them in saran wrap placed in the walk in. Silver pitchers of syrup went out when we were serving flap jacks or the extra thick slices of french toast called Texas Toast.
“Who is that guy?” we whispered, when we gathered again in the kitchen after giving Leon the little tickets with orders we had collected from the tables.
“Teeth and fuzz” was what we were supposed to look like. Moving so fast with a big smile that all that could be seen was a blur of movement and flash of white. That new guy was teeth and fuzz on steroids! He was a bolt of lightning, an energizer bunny. He had not stopped moving and yapping since he landed in the kitchen banging and slamming pots and utensils creating a racket as he scrubbed the items the dish sink, whistling and singing like he had been born in kitchen whites and that cleaning pots was what he lived to do. The crazy thing was that unlike Leon’s stained and faded whites, this guy who had been banging around in the pots since our shift started, had the most perfect starched kitchen whites we had ever seen on a newcomer, much less anyone on the kitchen crew.
So, this guy, we learned, was Warren Katz. He had come up from Santa Monica to be part of the second wave of The Academy. He did not stop singing, whistling, and chattering away in a jumbled New Yawk accent, so thick we could hardly understand a word he said. He was so damn happy and so enthusiastic that he positively shined.
Note the cover photo of this post is a photo of Warren Katz and Jake Smotherman