lundi 11 mai 2009


I would like to tell you the story of a real friendship!

This happened in Israel in 1962!

I was in Herzelia

working as a night porter in the Hod Hotel

a lovely little hotel, lost amongst very old and tall trees

Very near was the "Tadmor Hotel Training School"

and the teachers used to come every morning to the Hod for breakfast, around 6.30 in the morning.
One day, one of those managers, Adon Margalite, looks very intensely into my eyes and says:

- Ruben, you should come and join us at the Tadmor School and learn how to become a good receptionist. You have the looks and the qualities to do so.
Come and see me tomorrow after 9 am to inscribe yourself!

But I was so happy at the Hod Hotel!

Mr. and Mrs. Kimche - my dear bosses - were like parents to me and their son, David, like a little brother!

They lived in Ramat Gan and had their country house right behind the Hod - Beit Leherfeld - and since they did not use it, they let me have it all for myself!


This was the little corner by the large window where I used to serve my meals to guests and for myself too when I was on my own.

This was the terrace at the back, where the living room was. It was nice to sit there and read a book or just relax.

For a quick coffee, the table of the front little terrace was enough.
Also good for other kind of "quickies"...

Here I could receive my friends and my lovers. Some came often for long weekends.

There was a garden around the hotel which was upkept by a gardener, a lovely little man, that I dearly liked, called Haim.

And Rosa, the cook who had those lousy numbers tattoed on her arm, that she always tried to hide by putting a little cloth over it. She was the one that discretely brought me nice things to eat at the reception.
She was also the one who taught me some German because I had to type the Menus for the Dining Room of the Hotel, and she used to write it in that language and I had to type it in English and Hebrew.

After work, around 8 o'clock in the morning, I used to go to the beach near the Accadia Hotel

and spend the morning sunbathing and easily picking up beautiful partners for the afternoon, for a drink and whatever! For I was then a handsome guy with a good body which tempted certain wild imaginations...

After that I slept till 11 o'clock in the evening when I had to return to work. The hotel was so near that it took me 2 minutes to get there by foot! I had to take over the afternoon shift from Ronny.

This is the fatherly Yosko that would take my place the day I left the Hod who, with his lovely family, would take over my beloved Beit Leherfel.

One morning, after finishing my night job at the Hod, instead of going to the beach after breakfast, I went to see Adon Margalite. I, too, wanted to make a career in the hotel business!

I then joined the Tadmor and started my studies. I had lovely young men and women as co-disciples and we all became very good friends.

The only one who did not like me and wanted me out of the school was Adon Ylan - our teacher - because I was not Jewish. Me, who wore a

Magen David

so many years, and only took it off the day - in France - when I had problems with an anti-Semite!
The day Adon Ylan told all his pupils that he wanted me out, one of them - someone I care for and am still in touch with - Orit Margalite, got up and said:

- If Carmo goes so will I!

And some of the others got up too and joined her!

One of them was Miki!

I will never forget this very special day of my life!

I loved Israel and all those I had the privilege of meeting there!

I love Israel for many other reasons! The first one was when I was twelve years old and saw for the first time in my life a book about Auschwitz

and saw those horrible pictures for the first time but not the last!

After that traumatising experience, I read anything I could about Israel. It was then I read the very touching Diary of Anna Frank.

I fell in love with her and wanted to have been there the day they took her away, for they would have to pass over my body to grab her and put her on that cattle train! And the world just stood by!

Other reasons were that it was in Israel that I lived my youth and loved people and places that are now part of me!

And Miki knew all about it!

We talked a lot about many things when he invited me to his mother's place

for a meal that he had cooked himself.

But, coming back to my story...

I did finish my course at the Tadmor, but had to leave Beit Leherfeld and share a room with another student

at the "Pnimia", where most of the Tadmor students lived.

We had a little Supermarket on the corner

and we did our shopping

and laundry by ourselves.

My room was towards the road and I used to be woken up by the first United Tours bus in the morning.

We used to go very often to the sea for a swim at the Sharon Beach.

Sometimes I used to go with Orit and Hella to play cards

on the beach under the moonlight...

My darling Hella that I loved so much...

We also enjoyed going to the Cental Bus Station in Herzelia to see people and do shopping or have a cup of coffee in Café Weiss.

When we finished the course at the Tadmor each one went his own way.

I was supposed to have gone to the King David Hotel in Jerusalem for my traineeship

but Zé Melo was working there at the reception

and I feared to embarass him with my presence and preferred to go to Tiberias to do my three months traineeship at the Ginton Hotel.

At the Ginton Hotel all went fine. I shared a room with the sexy singer, who performed every evening in the hotel's Night Club,

and improved my knowledge of reception work!

Three months later I went to Eilat.

I knew they were looking for a receptionist at the Queen of Sheeba Hotel which is now very modern.

At that time it was just a modest hotel and the only one on the sea shore in Eilat.

There, to my great surprise, I found Miki working at the Reception and Orit Margalite in the Reservations. It was marvellous for me to have them back again in my life! There we were considered "high staff" and ate in the main dining room with the guests, which was luxury for us, especially having to use the personel cantine for a short while.

The first day I got there the housekeeper took me to the Sing-Sing, a very popular appartment block,

to share a flat with Miki. I was delighted, but when we knocked on his door at 10 in the evening, he was furiuous and did not want to let me in because, in the meantime, there was a rumor that I was gay. The housekeeper asked him to let me stay only for one night and the next day she would find another place for Carmo . Since the Tadmor my name was Carmo.

I started working at the reception
under Miki's orders

and I stayed sharing his flat and we became the very best of friends. He had his bedroom and I slept in the living where there two divans. We shared the kitchen and often I prepared meals for both of us. I remember one morning, I wanted to fry a couple of eggs for breakfast and we had no gas. I did not know what to do. I went out to ask a neighbour to see if she had gas but she did not either! I was barefoot and when I put my feet on my own marble door step, it was so hot that I had to rush into the bathroom and refresh myself under the tap.

Then an idea crossed my mind... Eureka! I had found the solution! I washed the door step thoroughly, let it dry under the burning sun, and then put a bit of margarine on it. I waited until it melted and then broke my two eggs on it, put some salt and pepper, waited a couple of minutes, and breakfast was ready!

In the evenings we sometimes went to the beach and on other occasions we went to a local Night Club called "Sof Ha'Olam". For me the place was really the end of the world! The fun we had there each time we went! There was an Israeli duo singing there at that time. They were called Ha'Parvarim, two lovely boys

that sung beautifully and had a very nice repertory.
My favorite song was
אני אוהב אותך בשקט כמאת בסוד
(I Love You Silently Almost Secretly)

Each time I went there, as soon as they saw me, they started singing to me that lovely song...

They were Nissim ad Yossy, but later Nissim wento into a convent and Yossy got another partner.

One morning I went to the barber to have a hair cut and passing by a record shop I saw a record of Amália in the window.

I was thrilled to bits! I entered the shop and bought the record but as I did not have a record player I bought one too! I went home to the Sing-Sing, and played that record time after time. Unexpectedly someone knocked on the door. It was a lady neighbour screaming:

- I like Amália Rodrigues very much, but all day long is a bit too much!


Mr. Neiland, the hotel manager, was very hard on his staff but I managed to charm him to such a point that he kind of liked me. He was married to a British Lady. She was lovely and had a little dog.

We were very good friends and she used to say that my English was very British.

Mr Neiland also had a daughter from a previous marriage. Her name was Cynthia. She was working at the reception and was infatuated with Miki. She used to come to Sing-Sing to be with us. She was great fun! She used to call me "dorling" all the time, instead of Carmo! I surely loved her a lot too!

There was also a Swedish girl who was the tourists guide that lived in the hotel and was a good friend of ours too. She used to take pictures of me all the time when I was sunbathing naked in a cosy corner by the edge of the Red Sea, on the Golf of Akaba. Many years later I found on the Internet a photo of a painting that I am almost sure was done from one of those pictures.

I do not quite remember her name, I think it was Miss Petersen...

Some evenings, Cynthia would wait for Mr. Neiland to go to bed and fall asleep and then go and fetch his car keys
from his side cabinet

and we would go for a good trip in the Negev in the moonlight.

It used to be me, Miki - who did the driving - Cynthia, Orit, and Miss Petersen.
I used to take off my shoes and socks and was forced to open the window and put them out, because they stunk!

I will never forget the night when we almost went against those three very famous palm trees!
"Ai the three trees!" One afternoon Miki comes home with a lovely puppy and he tells me that he had bought it in a shop downtown, and that his name was Nimrod.

Nimrod loved sleeping on my bed, right next to my new record player!

One night, a few months later - Miki was working nights - I heard a little puppy crying... I went out and found it with a very sad face

coming out of the block of flats that they were building right next door.

I took it home with me. Nimrod showed how happy he was to have a nice companion. I gave them both some food from the fridge, and went on reading my book.

Much later, after seeing how happy they were together, playing around like fools, I noticed that the newcomer was a "she"! It crossed my mind that there would be problems with a male and a female in the house... surely dozens of other puppies eventually!

When Miki returned and saw the bitch playing around with Nimrod, he asks me:

- Where did you find that shit?

I answered: Her name is Pusky!

I told him the story and reminded him about the problem of home reproduction ... He said:

- No problem! I have to take Nimrod to the vets for castration, anyway!

Life went on. One night Miki comes home and finds me on my bed in action with one of my neighbours... He was very embarassed, went to his room, shut his door and the day after he comes with something he had stolen from the hotel, telling me:

- Whenever you want to fuck, do it in my room, in my bed! Shut the door and put this thing on the door handle!

Which happened often!

Many nights he slept in my divan in the living room and me in his. I had many more pick-ups passing by than he did!

Miki bought a guitar and started playing with it and tried to sing songs. So did I, but we were both hopeless! The guitar was, after all, only good to make photos with! Like this one at the window of my room at the Sing-Sing, one of those lovely sunny mornings!One morning Miki came home very happy with a camera he had bought in the photo shop and as from that day we took pictures of everything that moved or moved us. Like the morning when I was sunbathing by the window, on the floor of the living room and fell asleep...

Miki also bought a Lambretta

and we spent all the time on it.

We started going places to discover certain corners of Eilat we did not know because the only buses we had around were only the buses of Egged to Jerusalem and Tel Avi.On the Lambretta we went mostly to the beach or to do our shopping in the centre of town where we always stopped at the little Café to have a nice coffee.

Once, we were coming back from our shopping, both on his Lambretta, and when we passed by the Café where I used to buy my cigarettes I asked Miki to park for a little while, so I could go and get my fags.
When I was coming out of the Café, three young guys that were standing at the door provoked me, calling me homo.
Miki gets off his Lambretta very calmly, and walking very slowly, approaches the guy and tells the one who provoked me:

-Dear fellow. I cannot give you my ass, but I can give you this!

Miki defended me as if I was his brother. Even at the Queen of Sheeba, about my rights! He was someone in my life. I shall never forget that day on his large terrace em Herzelia

comfortably in his rocking chair after having a very long conversation, when we seemed to have nothing else to say, he looks deeply into my eyes

with his eyes overflowing love

and says:
קרמו, אני אוהב אותך
He was, in all my long life
the only one
who told me one day:

"I love you!"
That moment, I understood that, even without any sex between two people, love is possible!

And, in this case, at that moment

The greatest love of all times!

Now it's my turn for me to say to him:

I love you too!!!

And always will, as long as I live!

Till the day I will join you!

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