On the Loose, the 'Jersey Four'

photo: danielle, pat, joan, maryellen, clint, marilyn

Today's whole group, outside the Café La Corona.

'City of the Week' - West New York, NJ

Paris:- Thursday, 12. April 2001:- Casual and regular readers may have read here last week that 'spring' happened in Paris about 10 days ago, and since then the traditional weather build-up for 'fake-winter' on Montmartre at Easter has started.

Although, as the club's 'Ed' I have no license to forecast the outcome of horse races or the weather, I can confirm the above astute analysis of the situation here. The temperatures are headed for the cellar and more rain is on the way. The weather will be perfectly traditional for Easter next Sunday in Paris!

I refuse to gloat about my prediction coming true. It is just the way it is here and it could be anybody's fault, so don't blame me. All the Mardi Gras 'Zulu' beads in the world won't change anything.

Just as I arrive in the club's café, Monsieur Ferrat throws the loitering civilians out of the club's area. He says the puddle on the floor they've left behind is merely waterphoto: cassis sorbet, coke but when I accidently stand in it, I become glued to the floor.

Monsieur Ferrat quickly returns with a mop and we clean the mess up, but my shoes still have that icky feeling, like their soles are plastered with bubble-gum.

Café food was ordered early during today's meeting.

But this is soon forgotten. Marilyn Burke comes in leading the 'Jersey Three,' and since she is from New Jersey herself, this makes her group the 'Jersey Four.'

One is Maryellen Nizza, who became a member at a February meeting, and the two new members are Joan Stalknecht from North Bergen and Pat Drasheff from Guttenberg. Maryellen is from Ridgefield Park and Marilyn is from Cliffside Park - which are included here as a handy reminder to save you from going back and looking up all these Jersey places.

Frankly, I'm surprised. I've lived around Paris a long time without realizing all these Jersey people are running around all over the place.

Marilyn fixes one of her eyeballs to one of mine, and this is how New Jersey becomes the 'State of the Week.' The 'Jersey Four' also went to the same high school together - called Saint Joesph's.

Marilyn does the eyeball thing again, and West New York, New Jersey - I'm not kidding! - becomes the 'City of thephoto: beer, cocktail of the week Week' because that is where this high school is located. On top of it, the 'Jersey Four' are 'celebrating' their third annual Easter in Paris together - because they are not in New Jersey.

Maryellen and Joan have birthdays on the same day, some of their sons have birthdays on the same day, today is Maryellen's 32nd anniversary - "It is the 12th?" - and they tell me Marilyn's husband drives the car and acts as the 'token man' - which he will do soon when they head out to invade Normandy.

Today's 'Cocktail of the Week' in all its glory.

Once this vital information is imparted, half of the 'Jersey Four' order purple sorbet, and the other half suggest that a future club meeting be held in Manhattan so everybody in Jersey can swarm across the river to attend it.

They also order small pots of red and white wine and a Coke - Charles is not here today - but they can't figure out what the white sorbet's flavor is. It's probably a Café La Corona specialty called 'white sorbet.'

During a hectic discussion which includes Joan saying, "I saw the Queen Mom, dressed in a tent, getting her shoes disinfected," which causes one of the others to suggest carrying spare shoes - Marilyn tells me, "Where we come from, everybody talks at once and nobody listens."

When I ask her to repeat this because I didn't hear it, she says, "It was the sorbet that made me do it." They give me more examples of Jersey-speak, including, "Push it up!" and "Forget about it!" - with appropriate hand gestures, learned from watching Al Pacino movies.

When stuff like this is going on it takes a certain amount of raw courage to walk up and join the club, but this is exactly what Danielle and Clint Peters from Richmond, Virginiaphoto: corona menu do. That it requires them to immediately order two quick beers from Monsieur Ferrat is no surprise.

Since sorbet is undrinkable unless you've got a lot of patience, I name the beers - which look delicious - as 'Cocktails of the Week' but do not tell anybody. I don't want to get 'walked on,' as Maryellen puts it.

Because the Jersey ladies are still steaming along, with Marilyn saying, "These ladies are my age, but they look much older."

La Corona's bilingual speed-menu makes an intersting read.
Continued on page 2...
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