In 1971, I was back home in Connecticut from Vietnam for a 30 day extension leave. I volunteered to do a second back-to-back tour for the opportunity to spend Christmas with Mom and Dad. Mom gave me tickets to two Broadway shows and when I arrived at Grand Central Station, I went upstairs to the Commodore Hotel and then walked to 42nd St. and Broadway to check out the USO.
I found out I could get tickets to any show for free from the USO. I called my Mom and told her I was spending my last eight days of leave going to shows. The shows Mom gave me were "Two by Two" with Danny Kaye and "Bob and Ray the Two and Only." I also saw Hair, Fiddler on the Roof, Pippin, and a couple more shows while there.
But the best show I saw was "Purlie" starring a very cute girl named Melba Moore. I had two more nights in New York then it was back to Vietnam. I had been a week in New York and spent the majority of my time there going to shows by myself.
Walking back to the Commodore Hotel after spending the evening of December 31, 1971 watching "Hair" from a front row center seat, I was passing two working girls standing in the doorway of a closed business. "Hey, you wanna party?" one girl said. The country rube I was didn't realize I was being propositioned by a hooker. "No thanks," I innocently replied, "I'm going back to my room. I just saw 'Hair.'"
The second girl, an exotic-looking Hispanic gal who had been silent up to this point, said, "Take me to your room, we'll have some fun." To make a long story short, I had some fun. Maria lived in Brooklyn. In the morning, I offered to accompany her home in a taxi. She said that would cost a lot of money she could catch the subway. I wouldn't hear of it and as we drove to Brooklyn, I asked if she wanted to go to a Broadway show tonight. She thought I was crazy but agreed to go. I wanted to pick her up, but she said she'd meet me at the USO.
The way the USO allotted tickets was to pass out a number at 3 PM and then at 5 PM to call the numbers out and dole out the tickets. If you had a date, you got two tickets. I didn't recognize Maria when she showed up a few minutes before 5. We got two tickets to "Purlie" then went to supper before the show.
After the show, we stopped at bar. I offered to take her home and she said, "I want to spend the night with you tonight." I offered to pay her and she seemed offended. But the next morning I did give her some money, for her daughter I said, and left her in Brooklyn. I never saw her again.