Archive for the ‘DEATH’ Tag


On Thursday morning, April 30, I read the long obituary of Jean Nidetch who had died the night before. She was the founder of Weight Watchers, the most successful weight losing organization for over 50 years. I was lucky to have met and worked for/with her for over one of the most rewarding decades of my life.

It was a March night in 1967 that I can see in my head today as if it happened last night. I had left work at The Brass Rail on 47th Street and 7th Avenue and proceeded to get drunk. I stopped at the Stage Deli after leaving the bar and got a 3 decker sandwich called a ‘Hymie’s Special’. After finishing it I walked up to 74th street, stopped at a bar to have a few more drinks and then at an Italian restaurant and got a pizza to take home. Long story short by 1 AM, disgusted with myself and at the nadir of my life I was contemplating suicide. I ran out of the house, walked around Manhattan until the sun came up and eventually found myself to a hotel where an organization called Weight Watchers was having a meeting. I joined, lost my weight, went to work for them, met Bernie, meet Jean at the Forest Hills office, moved to Memphis to help Bernie start a franchise in Tennessee and Arkansas. In 1972 I went through Transactional Analysis which got my head together and helped me lead a great life, through the highs and lows, up to and including today.

Though I was never friends with Jean I did spend many times with her. There was the week she came to Memphis to celebrate our 5th year in business as one of the fastest growing franchisees in Weight Watchers International. We had breakfasts with her, took her sightseeing, held a full scale staff banquet in her honor and she and I talked about her younger son. I went to Madison Square Garden when WW celebrated their 10th anniversary to a sold out crowd and when she came down to visit the Little Rock, Arkansas franchise she and I had a 4 hour private talk that I have never forgotten. 

Jean Nidetch wrote a cookbook in 1966 that came out in 1967 just after I joined WW and I still have my original copy just as I have my original copy of her autobiography and story of Weight Watchers that wrote in 1970. I, also, have two letters that she wrote me and that I have kept all these years.

Jean was the equivalent of a rock star of the weight world with her picture on the covers of Life and Time magazine and featured stories in newspapers and magazines all over the world.

Jean Nidetch died at the age of 91 after many years of giving hope to millions of people and offering a way of life that fat people didn’t know. It was because of her meeting with 6 women in her apartment to help each other lose weight that Weight Watchers was there that night in March 1967 when I needed it. She is responsible for setting me on a road of life that has been a major adventure for me.




Posted May 2, 2015 by greatmartin in JEAN NIDETCH, WEIGHT WATCHERS

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My parents. My beloved Aunt Flo and a couple of years later, her husband, my uncle, Ritchie. Ice skater Mike and optimistic Michael Mc., Movie Mike, Dr. K., Bob B., Robert Schink , BJ, ‘New Jersey Robert, Ladye, Emily, Liz, Dot, my confidantes. Perry Lee., my longest friend. Ronnie, fellow waiter, and cruiser, in ‘the good old days’. And the list goes on possibly containing ‘missing’ people whom I haven’t heard from in years, or just disappeared, like Pepe and Mark.

I suppose as a teenager, and a young man in my twenties, I might have thought, now and then, that I would be dead by the time I was thirty but I never really gave any thought to dying. One of my first thoughts regarding my mortality was when Flo died and I started thinking, a little, about my possible future death. Though I had friends dying of AIDS I didn’t see it as affecting me as I wasn’t at a high risk. It was when I had congestive heart failure. As soon as I got of the hospital I went on a diet watching my intake of sodium, calories, fats, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol and fiber losing 60 pounds. I cut back, but didn’t quit, smoking from three packs a day to 15 cigarettes a day. I realized that if I didn’t start watching myself I could die. I did stop smoking completely in 2008 after I had an aorta valve replacement.

After Flo died I vowed, and told everyone, that I would never go to a funeral again, (and I haven’t), but now I started to plan my own elaborate one with a big party included. I made out a crazy Will working on it for days!

I started to think about what happens when you die. Reincarnation was the first thought that came into my mind as it sort of intrigued me. What would I come back as? Did reincarnation really mean you come back to finish things you didn’t in your previous lives? What didn’t I finish? Would I come back as a male or female? Or maybe an animal? What did the latter have to do with unfinished business? I don’t ever remember thinking, or feeling, that I had been another person in a previous life and I certainly didn’t see myself living in another century, or recalling any memories of other times, when reading the numerous books over the years.

Then there is the possibility of Heaven and Hell. I pictured Heaven as a place where I could eat, drink and smoke everything and anything without any consequences. All, and only, my great sex partners, (and those I missed) would be there at my beck and call. I’d see places I have always wanted to see, but didn’t. I would be able to watch a full production of “A Chorus Line” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I would have everything I ever wanted and didn’t have, which granted isn’t much.

There would be all the salami, peanuts, carrot cake and scotch that I could ever want. (Do you eat and drink in Heaven?) And I would have all the money possible. (Do you need money in Heaven? Or do you just get what you want when you want it?)

The best part of Heaven will be that I would be loved for whom, and what, I was without any expectations.

Should there be a Heaven then, I guess, I have to entertain the possibility of Hell. I don’t t want to go there! I wouldn’t have any of the things I expected in Heaven. In addition I would be getting only tofu to eat . I would be surrounded by people I have hurt, betrayed, dismissed, rejected and let down. NO! If I have to accept there is a Heaven then I have to accept there is a Hell.

What’s the bottom line for me? I believe you die and that’s it. You lose your flesh, and bones, to the air, earth and water around you. I’ve stipulated that I want to be cremated and my remains scattered over the sand and water on 6th Street and Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.

Oh, yes, I still want that big party though how it would be paid for I don’t have a clue. Guess my ‘heirs’ will have to figure that out along with all the debts and accumulative ‘things’ in my estate.


Posted November 5, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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7 DECADES SERIES TYING UP THE 80S PART 18A   Leave a comment



1980 was a mixed bag as I was drinking very heavy, working, spending money and adjusting to life in Fort Lauderdale.


1981 I bought a Chevy Caprice red convertible that I would have for 23 years– stopped drinking–met Bill


1982 I was working at Dan Dowd’s who I had worked for in New York–became friendly with Bruce, Brad and Andy who I introduced to Bill and the 5 of us would go out for dinner, the movies and, in general, became friends–on November 5 Dan approached me and said I had a shortage on a check from New Year’s Eve–I had worked the banquet room which was opened to the public by myself and had served close to 100 people–long story short I refused to pay the shortage and I was fired–on the 23rd Anita (Bill’s ‘girlfriend’–don’t ask!) Bill’s son Stu, Bill and I had dinner at The Spiced Apple–now closed–On January 24 I gave a surprise birthday party for Bill and Bruce said he and Andy wanted to get ‘married’ and suggested we combine the parties, which we did–cost $750 and a good time was had by all.–In February we saw Martha Raye, Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Connell and Teresea Brewer at one show, Johnny Mathis at the Sunrise Musical theatre,Steve lawrence and Edye Gormie on another night–on March 1 Bill ‘got back’ at me by throwing me a surprise party and Chuck, Dr. K, Tommy and Mary Culleton were there.

Mary had been the one who weighed me in at Weight Watchers the first time I went and was a one woman cheer leading squad as I lost weight each week–I assumed (DON’T ASSUME) she knew I was gay but it was obvious she wasn’t from the moment she walked in with her friend and saw all the gay guys. I never heard from or saw her again.

Funny the things you remember–Bill and I took his son Chris to see “Quest of Fire” which was awful. I remember Bill and I going to see Connie Francis and also “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat” at the Parker Playhoues–on March 6 I went to work at the Rooftop where we had Bill’s birthday party–it was a circular restaurant and bar on the top of a building that had been a Spanish nightclub and now catered to gays–working in a gay restaurant is one of the hardest jobs I have ever worked–will have to do a blog on just that in the future–and 6 weeks later got fired after having a fight with the chef Pierre, a prima donna if there ever was one–in June we went to the Fountainblu in Miam Beach to see Geoffry Holder–Dr. K and Issac Searcy came into town–hadn’t seen the latter since I left Memphis–Dr. K was seeing a local guy named Chuck–my Uncle Ritchie went ito the hospital with heart problems so Bill and I stayed over at Flo’s–Albyn and I wenttotheCoconutGrovetheatre to see a Tennessee Williams’ play and it was so bad I walked out! The second time I have ever done that–in July the touring company of “A Chorus Line” came to town and on the 13th Bill and I went to see it, on the 14th Bill, Stu and I and on the 15th Mafia Mike, Vince, Bill and I went to see it the night before Bill and I were leaving for a vacation driving up to Memphis–by the way on the 22nd and 23rd we saw “A Chorus Line” in Memphis–I met Bill’s parents on the way there–they lived in North Fkorida–on July 26th I started work at  Brickyard West and by September 17 it was out of business–Bill went up to move his parents and Mike McCarroll, Eastern, Raymond and I went to see Sammy Davis, Jr.

The cracks were starting to appear in my relationship with Bill–I have a refernce to Lou, Bill’s Monday night trick and Bill who was Bill’s Tuesday night trick–and I certainly wasn’t being an angel–that’s for the X rated version!! We did celebrate our first anniversary going back to The Rooftop where we had gone the first night we met–we had a dinner party for Thanksgiving with Andy, Tom, Emir, Phillip, Michael and Granville.

On December 25, 1982 Flo died–sitting here, just thinking of her, the tears come.


Posted November 19, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Legally, paperwork wise, I am ready to die–not that I will so stop applauding and cheering! The only thing I hadn’t prepared was what would happen to my body after I died. I would, jokingly (?), say just throw my body over the fence into the bay but the reality is that some sort of plan has to be made. As far as I know my brother wouldn’t be legally obligated to provide for my burial but even if he was I didn’t think that was fair. I don’t know if there are still  Potter Fields, though according to wikipedia, which names a few places, they still exist. (For those not familiar with the term the definition is: potter’s field or common grave is an American term for a place for the burial of unknown or indigentpeople–from wikipedia.)

I really haven’t given it much thought but I know I didn’t want my ‘heirs’–heck I’m leaving them my bill, what else do they want? LOL–to get stuck for burying me. Don’t know if you have checked into it but funerals, whether burial or cremation, are not cheap. I certainly fall into the indigent category having just enough money to get from one month to the next time and many times being short until the 3rd when I get my SS check.

Sometime in the past 2 weeks I was reading a blog–I believe it was either Sherabella’s post or she had it in a comment–where was mentioned. Let me just say that I had looked into donating my body to, I believe, the University of Miami but I was rejected! OMG! MY BODY WAS REJECTED!! That was the first time that ever happened–their loss! LOL

In any case I checked out and I read the following in the application form: “I understand that it will be the responsibility of the MERI (Medical Education & Research Institute of Genesis)  to arrange for the removal, preparation, transportation, biomedical studies on and final disposition of my remains, at no cost to me. Any fees related to the above will be paid by the MERI to the funeral home and/or service firm(s) involved.”

I filled out all the papers, sent them out and on August 21 I received a letter tellign me that I was accepted. THEY WANTED MY BODY so there UM! In the acceptance letter there was a card  for me to carry in my wallet and in the letter it said, “Never at any time will there be any expenses incurred by you.”

For anyone alone, or poor, I strongly suggest you go to and print out the application. You will get an answer quickly and enjoy the rest of your life with one less thing to worry about.

By the way, they are headquartered in Memphis and I love the idea that I will return to a place I spent a decade in that has such great memories for me.



Posted August 29, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Sometimes life can really be the pits no matter what you say or do and you don’t know which way, or when, it will go.

I’ve known Michael for a few years and I have always seen him as a ‘drama queen’ who needed the world to revolve around him. He had some tall tales to tell and being an ex-liar I knew when he was lying which was most of the time. Yes, I know you aren’t suppose to speak bad of the dead but it is all part of the story. On Tuesday Michael jumped in front of a train. He had been having a rough time the past 2 years and Phillip who has always been there for him had finally had enough. He had seen him through cancer, through money problems, through 2-3 years of seizures every and any where, totaled 3-4 cars and, in general, cheated everyone he came in touch with.

Even to the end he lied–it is hard to explain this but he was, supposedly, 62 when he died this week–everyone said how young he looked for his age and, yes, how good looking he was. It turns out, after talking to his father, that Michael was only 41 and looking at that he didn’t look good at all for his age. Phillip who has known him for 15 years started thinking of all the things he had told him–about schools he went to, jobs he had, being in prison for a white collar crime, having thousands of dollars in overseas banks that he couldn’t get to yet–along with everything else he claimed he started collecting Social Security this year!


Last week I bumped into Jerry at the mail boxes. I have known him since the late 80s and he has been very nice to me since I moved in here in 1999. He was an excellent trainer of dogs, always having one, loving them and recently added a cat to his household. He had just come from the doctor and been diagnosed with, I thought, was gallbladder cancer but since then has been told it was bladder cancer–I won’t profess to know the difference. I had heard that he went to the hospital on Friday (last Friday) and was suppose to come home Wednesday but so far he hasn’t. He looked bad and I am hoping against hope that he is okay and will definitely call him tomorrow or find out what is going on.

I just received word that Jerry is still in the hospital, his sister is coming down and they are looking into hospice care in his apartment.


On the other hand I did get to see the touring company of “South Pacific”–for a sneak preview, if you just can’t wait to read my review (and it helps me if you click on the review) go to  or to read it.


On the good or bad side??? He is still stalking me!!!! No, I won’t let him catch me–YET!



Posted April 15, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Bernard C. Abraham
“”Bernie/Poppi””, 80, CEO of Weight Watchers of the Mid-South, Inc., passed away on Sunday, February 26, 2012, in Memphis.

Published in The Commercial Appeal on February 29, 2012   (Coincidence?)
We meet in NYC in 1967, move in together in 1968,  and we move to Memphis in 1969 to open and start Weight Watchers to make it one of the most successful franchises–I introduce him to his next partner in 1973–in 1975 we go into court to dissolve our business partnership and we don’t see or speak to each other ever again until I read the above obituary.
As the years go by the bad times disappear and only the good remain as does
“The Look Of Love”

Posted March 26, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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ON DEC 23 & DEC 24 I CHEATED DEATH—AGAIN!!!   Leave a comment

I have been taking coumadin–blood thinner—for 12 years since I had congestive heart failure and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation New Year’s weekend 1999-2000. In June 2009 I started to do the Philips blood level tests at home instead of going into the doctor’s office a few times a month and I didn’t have any problems with it. The readings are suppose to be between 2-3 but around 4 weeks they were 1.2, 1.4, 1.6 and 1.2 My doctor increased the dosage but it didn’t seem to help. On December15 he almost doubled the amount–instead of taking 5mg per day I was taking 10mg 4 times a week and 12.5mg 3 times. I do  my testing on Thursdays and when I took it December 22 it was still 1.4 I thought I would call the doc and tell him that I wanted to come in and take a test there but I was told he was on vacation until the following Tuesday so I decided I would wait until then. An hour or two later I noticed that parts of my body–tongue, thumb–were getting filled with blood. A couple of hours I noticed my computer chair was wet and to my surprise it was blood. My recliner, dining room chair and bed had blood on them. Making a long story short I called the doctor’s office and wrote a few people an e-mail about my bleeding and ALL insisted I call 911 but I know better (HA!) and said if I was still bleeding in the morning I would call 911. Making the story even shorter–blood was gushing out of my rectum and I was spitting out blood. 911 here I come and by 7:40 AM I was in the ER.


in the ER on the left–my private room on the right

I was not allowed food or water as they had to put plasma in my blood stream. Remember my level is suppose to be between 2-3 and it was 1.2 the day before? Well it was 10+ in the hospital. The bottom line is that I didn’t have anything to eat or drink for 40 hours, got plied with plasma and eventually it came down to 2.5.


The ER doctor said I was not to take coumadin again and that I should see my doctor and talk to him about the alternatives. Very strange, for me, but I didn’t sleep at all the whole time I was in the hospital. I didn’t know whether to go to sleep or eat when Allen arrived to take me home. I bought a couple of subs at Subways and went home, fell into bed and got up an hour later.

The next day being Christmas I went to our little get together on the breezeway. It being Monday and a legal holiday there was no way I could have gotten ahold of my doctor so I plan to call the office tomorrow, tell them to get copies of my hospital file and go see my doctor on Wednesday and see where we go from there.

I did e-mail Philip’s and Hemosense, the manufacturer and distributor of the testing machine. To my surprise I did get a response  a couple of hours later from the Hemosense company with a young lady asking me dozens of questions—I think trying to find something to blame the false readings on–didn’t work. I am not a suing person but I might in this case.

This is the letter I sent:


I need to talk to someone–I was in the hospital December 23 & 24 with coumadin poisoning–heavy rectal bleeding–due to wrong readings of machine for past month and my doctor basing dosages on those reports–on Dec.22 the machine said 1.6–by the time I went to hospital at 7 AM (because of bleeding) Dec.23 the level was at 10+—I was humiliated by having had to wear a diaper–couldn’t eat/drink for 40 hours–had blood all over my bed, clothes, etc. I have pictures (sadly after I washed a lot of the blood off the clothes) that will verify all the above.
No where in any of the material does it say anything about the company, at any time, checking machine or for machine to be returned for checking to verify working right–nor have I ever heard from woman, who came over to teach me how to use machine when I first got it, again.
Please have someone contact me!!!
Okay I dislike very long blogs and this is way too long at this point–I do suggest anyone taking coumadin read the following two sites:
I was closer to death than I knew and I must admit that if it wasn’t for the pressure from my friends (and the threat from Chuck in Memphis that he would call 911 and send them to me! ) I may not be writing this blog! I will keep you up to date on what’s happening and what my doctor says BUT don’t panic if I don’t post for a couple of days–see below!!!
Tomorrow (Tuesday) Allen and I will be going to Miami to the opening of the road tour of “Million Dollar Quartet” and then Wednesday at 5:30 AM I will be taking him to the airport as he is going to visit his daughter and her twin sons–his grandchildren!!  SHHHHHHH—I will have his car for 19 days!!! Then, after seeing the doctor Wednesday afternoon Norman and I are going to the opening of “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” so I may not be posting again until Thursday or Friday and not because I am dead!!! :O)

Posted December 27, 2011 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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