My parents sent me to private pre-school, where I learned to read at three. By five, I was allowed into first grade, though the law specified children had to be six to enter that grade. This was because I was reading on a third grade level, and the Principal of P.S. 87 obtained permission for me from his friends in high positions. In fifth grade I came in second in a state-wide grade school level essay contest. I wrote poetry from the moment I could write. In fact, my parents told me I spoke poems even before I could write. I was also having the strange experiences that are dealt with in my book, from as long as I can recall. While spending a sixth grade semester in Louisville, Kentucky with my grandmother while my theatrical parents toured, I won a Kentucky state-wide grade school spelling bee. I was invited to attend the National Spelling Bee that year, but my parents could not arrange this.
I graduated Grade, or what is now Middle, school at eleven, and entered High School at twelve. I did not fare well in Julia Richman High in New York City, a public school. A good friend of my parent's, Milton Berle, arranged for me to enter Professional Children's High School, as I was modeling professionally by my Sophomore year. I was also attending dance, voice and acting classes daily. I had to do some catching up at PCHS, as its standards were higher, but I was happier there. In Junior year I was top of my class in English, and was informed I had earned a forthcoming scholarship for Literature or Journalism, my choice, to Barnard College. When I joyfully broke this news to my parents, they succinctly told me I was not to enter college. Why in the world did I think they'd spent all their money and effort in training me for the stage, to be a "star"? Most parents dreaded having their kids yearn to be on the stage. Mine would hear of nothing else, though all I wanted to do was write! As a result, I never went to college. Instead of that, I entered the world of solo cabaret performing at the age of fifteen, in California, while mailing my hand-written lessons back to my school in New York.
In 1961, I took a correspondence writing course, which helped to pick up the dropped threads of the fabric of my literal talents. In the early 1970s, I enrolled at the New School for one semester with Anatole Broyard, the brilliant newspaper columnist and writer. Due to personal upsets described in my book, I was unable to complete it. In 1987 I had the good fortune to become Secretary to author Whitley Strieber, and finally had a few poems published from the 1990s on. With renewed hope, I began writing THINGS SEEN AND UNSEEN in the 1990s.
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