Friday, April 13, 2018

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED.... A CHALLENGE, BUT NOT FOR KAY!

Hi, All,

WELCOME to the ROAD LESS TRAVELED Challenge.

I am posting a bit early because I need to GET BACK TO WRITING. LOL

It's been a while since I joined in a WEP challenge. But the timing could not be more PERFECT. I have some NEWS.... I was recently asked to write a most FUN and UNIQUE Memoir. This woman's story is DEFINITELY one of a ROAD LESS TRAVELED!

I have already written SIX Chapters and 10K words. Not bad for only two weeks. Well, today I plan to share a bit of the INCOMPARABLE Kay Hickman Ferrara, etc. etc. etc.... I know you will find her as OUTRAGEOUS as I do. This memoir begins Kay's journey from1955 and ends in 1980. Twenty-five years of jaw dropping events. I hope you all enjoy the TURNING POINT in Kay's life as much as I have had writing it.

But before I introduce you to her, I'd like to thank all the LOVELY people involved in the WEP and the challenges. If you enjoy wonderful writing as much as I do, then you should visit and READ all the great stories from these very talented people...and a HUGE Hug to Denise and Renee, two ladies who are very dear to me. 

MOMMY KAY... is the story of Kay Hickman, a single 18 year old woman from Queens, NY on her way to class at Hofstra University in October of 1954. She nearly runs down her soon to be Italian American husband. By January of 1955 she marries Nick, a 21 year old air force pilot. Their daughter Kim is born in December of that same year. By the end of 1956, they are divorced.


And now, without further ado....Here's Chapter Three: Titled- Watch Out World...Here She Comes!  Narrated by her daughter Kim. Take it away, Kim..



The average American woman back in 1957 kept a lovely home, cooked a nutritious meal, raised their children, and lived a quiet, simple life in the suburbs: think Donna Reed and June Cleaver. But not my mother. As a newly divorced woman, Kay Hickman Ferrara decided it was time to take the proverbial “bull by the horns” and transform herself. 

“If Lucille Ball can do it, so can I!” Kay always said.

So, she first dyed her light brown hair a stunning shade of Auburn red and added just a hint of golden highlights. Then bought her first padded push up bra,(not that she needed it), and stuffed her considerable boobs and buxom body into her first designer dress, featuring a plunging neckline.

Towering well over six feet tall in heels and “big” lacquered bouffant hair, she entered Macy’s at 34th St. in Herald Square and marched up to the Madame Tovar counter, looking for a job. Madame Tovar, who specialized in creating handmade chignons and hair pieces of every possible hair color, took one look at my mother’s incredible coiffure, and hired her on the spot. The “new” Kay learned fast how to create Madame Tovar’s chignons, but mom’s true talent laid in the application. Within a few weeks, she was the talk of Macy’s. Every customer left looking trendy and Oh so stylish. This new, clean, lacquered style had Kay’s signature written all of over it, and it became the craze of the late 1950’s, years before the fashion industry featured bouffants in the 60’s. 

Mommy Kay, as I called her at that time, was on her way up…

With all the hoopla in the store and the lines of hundreds of admirers, Kay was a shining star at Macy’s. She began traveling across the country with Madame Tovar, demonstrating her creations in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and even Miami. But Mom loved NYC and wanted to be closer to me. She retuned to Macy’s with a thundering applause from all her coworkers and clientele.

It didn't take long, to catch the eye of a young diamond buyer. Carlton Baumann’s tall, broad shouldered frame and dark Eastern European looks, escorted the new Macy’s star all over town. They were seen everywhere together: at the opera, the symphony, and quiet dinners in charming bistros, dotting along Broadway. He had introduced my mother to a whole new world of culture, something she had never really experienced living in Middle Village, Queens. 

One balmy Saturday night, he whisked her off to the Copa Cabana. After a night of dancing and champagne, they returned to his small apartment in Murray Hill. Madly in love, my sister was conceived that night.

By today’s standards, the news of a child conceived out of wedlock is hardly shocking, but in 1957 it was scandalous. Against his manager’s advice, Carlton, the honorable Jewish man that he was, proposed to Kay.

Carlton borrowed his father’s car, and they drove to Maryland and married, without having to wait the usual three days for their blood tests. Once back in New York, Carlton packed up, moved out of his apartment in Murray Hill, and the three of us relocated to a small house in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Carlton insisted on adopting me. Mom agreed and contacted Nick, my biological father. It didn't take long to convince him to give me up, since he had never paid a cent of child support or had not seen me since the day he was arrested. 

Six months later, the adoption papers had arrived, then Mom gave birth to my sister, Stephanie. Soon after, Madame Tovar demanded her “Star” return to Macy’s, and she did. 

My baby sister and I were looked after by our sweet Jewish neighbor, Mrs. Silverman, and by my fourth birthday, I had learned how to answer the Jewish prayers of the Shabbos. My new Dad was not happy about this; he had no intention of raising us Jewish. He felt we should be raised Protestant, like our mother. Thankfully Mrs. Silverman understood and still agreed to take care of us.

At Macy's, Madame Tovar's sales had gone up, up, up, skyrocketing through the roof, and setting all kinds of store sales records. The demand for her chignons and hair pieces were hotter than ever. All of this due to Mom's incredible talent with a rattail comb and endless cans of Lacquer hair spray. Then, at the peak of her career, Madame Tovar was slapped with a huge lawsuit by a rival wig company. Since my mother wasn’t licensed to do hair by the state of NY, she was no longer allowed to demonstrate her fabulous hair styles. It was a sad situation for sure, but at least the atmosphere and the hundreds of Macy's customers, would breathe a bit easier now.

The following day, Madame Tovar approached Kay with the distressing news of her dismissal. “…but since you are my top girl, I will be more than happy to pay for you to attend beauty school, and then you can return back here to Macy's where you are so loved and admired."

Kay thought a moment. “I think it’s time for me to move on…but thank you all the same.” 


Madame Tovar’s jaw dropped, as she watched her shining “Star” pick up her Louis Vuitton bag, turn on her sparkling aqua colored high heel, and click her way down the marble aisle, never to grace Macy's or Madame Tovar’s counter again.


Well... What do you think of the NEW KAY? Fun, right?!

I hope you all enjoyed this little teaser. As you can see, Kay was definitely NOT your typical 1950's girl. Only Twenty years old and already has two marriages and two kids from different fathers. What would her Mayflower ancestors think of this... their ashes most certainly be turning in their graves. LOL.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a WONDERFUL weekend Everyone!




51 comments:

  1. Well done Michael - I'm so glad you're writing her history - and this snippet is a delight ... letting us see so much of her strength of character ... and determination to 'have a life' - cheers Hilary

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  2. Saw a couple of typos Michael, but enjoyed the story of Kay. Well done and I hope the rest of the book goes as well as this part.

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    1. Thanks Jo.... I found those typos and I hopefully got them all.

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  3. Hey Michael. Loved it!! What a great teaser for the memoir. What's it called? Ghostwriting? Loved the way the story flowed and each paragraph had me wanting more, which is the way good writing should be. Fits into the theme so well. Loved the way today's extract ended. i can totally see the picture of Kay picking up her LV bag and hightailing it out of there onto her next adventure. Can't wait to read about it...

    Thanks for participating in WEP again. It's always delightful to see you writing again and sharing with us.

    Denise

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    1. Hi, Denise, We're still hashing out the title. But I see a big K on the front cover ... For now it's MOMMY KAY because that is what Kim called her mother as a child and since this memoir is about her childhood and ten years with her insane mother, we may keep the title.

      No, I would never GHOST WRITE> LOL. The writing is ALL mine. Kim is giving me the basics and I am taking it from there. You know details and description are my expertise.

      Kay is definitely a ONE OF KIND woman .... no holds bar!

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  4. Congratulations on being invited to writer this memoir. How I love reading/hearing about women who refuse to be defined. (And as a btw I too was conceived and born out of wedlock in 1958).
    I do hope you will let us know when the memoir is published because I want to read more. Much more.

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    1. Thank you EC... Kay was definitely a woman way before the time. She lived life her way and she had absolutely no regrets.

      I certainly WILL! We both have high hopes for this Memoir and we are really going to get it to the right people. I'll be VERY select which agents I will be submitting it to. Since Kay was open to ALL people in her life, many were from the LGBT community, so I will be submitting to agents who specialize LGBT literature.

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  5. I thought she would turn out to be Mary Kay (of make-up fame)!

    Now I want to know what she did nex.

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    1. Hi, Sandi,

      Well I don't want to spoil it for you, only time will tell. LOL Just be rest assured it will be a VERY INTERESTING READ....

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  6. I love it all!! So happy to see you writing and the excerpt...what excitement! I can't wait until you finish and I can read the whole thing.

    Now, get back to work!!

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    1. Hi, Elizabeth! THANKS!!!!! You will definitely get a kick out of this woman! Especially after all your adventures in NYC. Kay was in NYC at it's Height! Everything and ANYTHING could happen and our Kay had her hands in all of it. LOL

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  7. Thanks for the post she still might turn out to be Mary Kay I guess we'll have to read it to find out

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    1. You're welcome. Yes...you will. I can't let too much out of the bag. LOL

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  8. Glad you are writing and I love this excerpt! Kay sounds like a very interesting woman!

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    1. Thanks Marci!! So glad you enjoyed it. I feel wonderful to be writing this because she is such a larger than life person, And she actually did all these INSANE things. As her daughter tells me yet another story, I am like WHAT>|?!!!!!! She was definitely one of a kind.

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  9. Kay sounds like an amazing woman - strong and powerful!

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    1. That she was, Jemi... I wish I had a chance to meet her, but I wasn't friendly with Kim when I first bought my condo in Orlando. She passed away two years ago.

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  10. I am SOOOO hooked. Great job and a fascinating read!

    Donna B. McNicol|Author and Traveler
    A to Z Flash Fiction Stories | A to Z of Goldendoodles

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    1. Thanks Donna. I'll let you know when it's published.

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  11. You've got a real winner here. I can't wait to read the rest. I'm so thrilled for you! A great addition to the Road Less Traveled challenge. Kay was a fireball!
    Welcome back, Michael. You were missed! This is fabulous!

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    1. Thanks Renee! That means so much coming from you. Kay is a very inspiring character and imagine that she was the REAL DEAL... no fiction here. LOL

      Missed you all, too!

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  12. Kay was a big personality for sure and not what most people think of when they think of women in the 50s. Very intriguing story. Glad the words are flowing for you. :) Great news!
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks, Jess. I am very excited about this project.

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  13. What a fascinating story, and it follows an incredible woman. You're lucky to be chosen to write her life story. Well done!

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  14. Hello Michael! I am so glad to see you at WEP and also that you are writing this memoir! The excerpt is delightful. Kay seems an amazing, unconventional and feisty lady, the teaser is spectacular - I already want to know what comes next for her!

    All the very best for this book and the others to come.
    Nilanjana.

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    1. Thank you so much, Nila! Yes, Kay is truly literary worthy. She has done SO many extraordinary things, but good and not so good. But she lived her life her way and looked back with not regrets!

      I will certainly be letting all of you know once we have an agent hooked.

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  15. I love that she transformed herself and found new life and new love. Wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Tyrean~ That she has and had many more to follow. No dust settled under her feet...

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  16. Oh, wow—Michael, this is AMAZING! You had me riveted from the first paragraph, and I'm a tough customer when it comes to literature. Bravo, man! So happy you're writing again, and much, much success with this one!
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

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    1. Thank you so much, Guilie! I really appreciate your response. I will certainly let you know when it's available.

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  17. Their ashes are turning in the graves,funny. I like the line...turn on her sparkling aqua colored high heal. She must have presented quite an image with the hair and heals.She would be unusual for her time with her ambition. Where is she going next and what will happen with her husband and daughters? Interesting that the story is told from her daughter's perspective too.

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    1. Hi Deborah,

      Thanks... Kay is certainly unusual not only in her ambition, but with also her "loves." She had four husbands and several affairs during her marriages.

      Kay is no longer with us, so I am writing through her daughter's POV. She is relaying the stories to me and I am putting my spin on them.

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  18. She sure sounds like she went her own way indeed. Didn't waste any time and got what she wanted. Gotta love how rivals sue when they are, more than likely, getting shown up.

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  19. I think your Mama Kay has a lot of spunk and guts. In other words, I like her.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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  20. Love the fiesty personality of this woman! I definitely want to read more about her! Well written!

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    1. Thanks Carrie Ann! She certainly was feisty and then some. Lol

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  21. I think you caught the modern woman of the fifties and early sixties quite well, being a former American from the deep south. Most women of those days stayed married even when unhappy 'for the kids, or because of the social stigma'. In New York though, the city of fashion and many types of stars, a lot of younger women were more modern in their thinking.
    This was a good teaser, Michael, and I would read more. . .

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  22. Wow! What a great story. I'm eager to know what she'll do next, who she'll "turn out to be."

    Excellent work. And great use of the prompt.

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    1. Thank you, J. You will certainly be surprised at what she did! I know I am, LOL

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  23. Wow, very interesting. Thanks for sharing this. It reminds me of the times seniors in the nursing homes where I have worked sharing their life story.

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    1. Thank you, Qimuktis.... I'm sure they have some amazing stories to tell!

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  24. Kay does seem like trail blazer! I'd love to see that section expanded with details about her interactions with the customers -- the women who shopped at Macy's and wanted the latest hairstyle. It would serve to highlight the contrast between Kay and the other woman of the 50s. SHE created something uniquely hers; everyone else wanted a copy of it. She was a leader. Most women of the time were followers.

    Isn't it wonderful to have a project you're excited about! Best of luck to you!

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  25. HUGE congratulations on your WEP win. I loved your tale, and itch to read more.

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  26. Michael, this is an amazing snippet!
    Such an interesting character who 'comes alive' under your expert penmanship!
    I know you'll have fun writing her story AND you'll do it justice!
    CONGRATULATIONS, my friend! This is sooooo exciting!

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  27. Would love to read more of Kay. I like strong feisty female characters. Keep us posted, Michael.

    Congrats on your win.

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