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MP3 Fredrick Hoffer - CD 40 Piano Suite # Nineteen

A musical story about a quiet relationship in the midst of the demolition at the Art Students League during the Summer of 2003

16 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Contemporary, CLASSICAL: Traditional

Memories of Dorlene There was this little girl, or perhaps I should say, woman, who gave the maintenance staff a hard time, because she didn''t want to go home, and no one really wanted to be the one to throw her out. Sometimes she hung around for three or four hours after the school was closed. This went on for a couple of years. Finally I went up to her as she was standing by the main gate smoking a cigarette and asked her if she would like to have dinner with us.

My friend Dave and I had been having dinner together on Sunday nights at the Art Students League, pretty much ever since he was a kid. Sometimes I cooked supper, and sometimes we brought food in from the outside. We were glad to have Dorlene join us, for that was her name. She was small and cute, very much what the French would call a Gamine. In her younger days she had been a nightclub dancer, and she never failed to point out what gentlemen the mafia clubowners were, and how well they treated her, and how they used to call a cab for her and make sure she got home safely.

The year 2003 was a rough year at the Art Students League for it was the year of the renovations. School closed for the summer early, to give a little extra time for the work to be done. It was an incredible mess! The League rented space down on 48th Street for the summer school, and 57th Street was closed up tight. I had to sit on a stool by the main gate to make sure someone didn''t get past the workers and have a brick fall on their head, so I didn''t get much music done until after the workers left. Then there was the problem of finding an outlet that worked, and a flat place where I could put my bed for the night. The place where I used to hang out was a big hole in the ground. The amazing thing is that I did get some music done.

Maintenance found a place in the rear of the building for the office staff to continue their work, and this is where I eventually stayed after the place was closed up for the night. It was also the place where we had our regular Sunday evening dinners. It even had air conditioning , so it was a comfortable place to be. Sometimes Dorlene would do a few steps for us, and sometimes I would play a little music. It was a very nice time. Often, later in the evening, Dorlene would get sleepy and curl up on my cot for a nap. As midnight approached, I would wake Dorlene, and my two friends would get their things together and leave until the next week, when we would meet on the steps in front of the main gate again.

As September approached it seemed that the workers would never get the work done before school reopened. As a matter of fact they didn''t. The maintenance staff is still trying to finish things up. The day before the school was to open, we had already been working 24 hours straight, trying to put things back where they more or less had to be. Ira, the Director; Anki and her staff from the office; Joe Rossi, President at that time; Dimitri, and Herman, and Tim, and the rest of the maintenance staff; all of the menmbers of the Board of Control; some volunteers; all were working hard. Me, too. Well, we did get it ready to open by 8 A.M. just barely.

The school is running along fairly smoothly now, but do you know; Dorlene has disappeared. She no longer has dinner with us and since that summer, I have never laid eyes on her again. I often wonder what has happened to her. I never asked where she lived, not even what her last name was, so I guess she is gone for good.

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