Herman and I have been watching a new sitcom this fall called "Two Broke Girls." The premise seems to be a former rich girl, daughter of a convicted Ponzi schemer like Bernie Madoff, finds a room at the apartment of a poor but street-smart waitress.
According to Wikipedia, "the series chronicles the lives of two waitresses in their early twenties - Max (Kat Dennings), who comes from a poor working-class family (and works an additional job as a nanny for a spoiled, obnoxious Manhattan socialite's babies), and Caroline (Beth Behrs), who was born rich but is now disgraced and penniless."
Both actresses are basically unknown with this show being their breakout debut.
I relate very well to the setup because when I first came to New York City in the 1980s, I was walking with my luggage on 57th Street by Columbus Circle when I ran into a girl who introduced herself as Cindy Dutton and was working as a bartender at a bar on Eighth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen. She told me she also was an aspiring actress, as I was.
She asked me if I was looking for a place to live, and when I told her I didn't have a place she offered to let me stay with her until I could find a place. She also immediately got me a job bartending at Amy's Pub where she worked.
Neither Cindy nor I had the backgrounds of the "Two Broke Girls" characters, we both were pretty middle class, but we did have big dreams that were never realized.
I remember my mom and dad would lend support, as hers did when needed.
Neither of us had a second job as auditioning as trying to become actresses was our second job.
We lived about 10 blocks north of Hell's Kitchen, so we were a short walk from work. The apartment was a third-floor walkup and didn't boast the backyard of the "Two Broke Girls" set where Caroline keeps her horse, which in and of itself is hilarious and impossible.
I got back in contact with Cindy a few years ago and we still swap holiday cards and emails. It's nice to think about how generous her reaching out to me was and belies the notion of the typically hardened New York City dweller. Like Max, underneath a tough exterior and sarcastic demeanor, I met lots of people like Cindy who were generous and I'd like to think that is my natural spirit as well.
I may not have achieved my dreams of fame and fortune, but I have many great memories of the journey; and as broke as I was, I've been rich in other ways with friendships, family and great experiences along the way.
Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at www.kathrynskorner.com