Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Victoria Lesser

We met Victoria Lesser just once, when she came into the shoe store to have some Mephisto sandals redone. And so, another long-time resident pulls up stakes. She ran this as an ad in Solares Hill this past Friday.

A P R I L 1 , 2 0 0 5 solares hill P A G E 5

Dearest Key West,
I will begin by stating that this is a love letter to the Island I have called home for 24 years. I am so moved to write this letter so that you will know my truth and not ever believe that I am leaving you. I am merely taking what I have learned here with the desire to share it with a quaint old town in Upstate New York, which has begun to remember its greatness as you did 24 years ago.

I came here in 1981 from New York City as a much younger woman with a child in tow, so enamored by this town's intimacy and the simple life it promised. Yet you couldn't help yourself when you intoxicated us with your stylish buildings, large and
small and your magnificent vegetation and superb weather. Those of us who came to find simple were so overjoyed by your sweetness that we couldn't help ourselves when we starting fixing up your homes and bringing life back to a street called Duval.

I will never forget sitting amongst Tennessee Williams and Calvin Klein all the while actor Roy Scheider chained smoked at the original Camille's breakfast counter, where no one had more privileges or felt more deserving of anything. All you had to offer would be available to anyone who figured out back then that you could actually live here, live on your tiny footprint of a space in the middle of an ocean and a gulf.

We worked hard to clean you up, we did all we could to be able to stay. During your short season it was feast or famine for most of us but we endured. We painted, we cooked, we cleaned and we watched out for each other. We lived without air conditioning and we kept our doors open and sat on our front porches. We knew each other's names and we knew each other's children. And when AIDS hit in the early 80's we took care of those children who were abandoned by their own families.

For these facts and memories I will be eternally grateful to you my dear Island City. It's true that I have sold my home and studio on Truman Avenue, but I will be back each season to continue my design work. I will return with the promise that this island can continue to have a voice that remembers why we worked so hard to bring life back to your land. So that no matter how expensive a home might become there will always be a presence of those persons who not only remember how you were when you were young but will work hard to keep you healthy.

Hugs and kisses to all those old timers who remember when we only had to dial 5 numbers to reach those that actually had phones. And to all the newcomers, whom I hope will love this Island as we do and will continue to take care of it, especially for all those who paved the way who are no longer here.

So with love, know that I will always and forever be 'Your Honorary Conch'


P.S. For the month of April you can find me at the corner of Simonton & Southard, at the Island Wellness building. I am styling the interior of the well known New York restaurant 'Sarabeth's' which is about to make Key West her new home. My phone
#s will remain the same. Call either 292-0101 or my cell 305 923-4677...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where's the rest of this post? I lived in the REAL Key West from 79-83, I went to The Full Moon and drank with the hush hush famous / infamous. KW is no longer the same...the tee shirts took over...

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