Clang clang clang clang clang, was there ever a sweeter sound? That discordant, jarring, noise announcing that you’ve won the jackpot. Oh, wonder of all wonders. You are getting some return on the money you’ve offered up to the gambling gods, by virtue of the slot machine. Probably not nearly what you’ve thrown in during the frenzy, but all the same you are ecstatic. You are a winner!
You are going home with about half the money you went with, if you’re lucky. And you got to go to shows, sit by the pool, stroll the famous Boardwalk, buy outlandish dresses, in stores run by pleasant foreigners wearing sari, all to kill some time before doing what you really wish to be doing. Sitting in front of that bank account devouring slot machine.
Modern day casinos no longer resemble those of old. Back in the day, women were attired in gowns, and men wore suits, just to gamble in the only state which boasted legalized gambling, Las Vegas. The playground of adults. Lovely gowned women traversed the smoke-filled casino floor with filthy hands carrying cardboard cups full of nickles. A comedian once said, (I think it was Alan King), they looked like whores in coal mines.
I was twenty-nine years old the first time I saw Las Vegas. My gown of choice was a soft flowing, white, spaghetti strapped, floor length, creation, with a short tied, under the bust, white jacket. The wide sleeves ended just above the elbows and were trimmed with white fluffy feathers. Pair that with my New York accent, and you can bet I was viewed as hot stuff.
Jim, and I, went into a Vegas Revue that featured twenty-five or so topless girls, wearing colorful, feather boas. They made their entrance by riding motorcycles up a run way to center stage. I was astounded. They were beautiful. It was only one of the spectacular offerings of the show. While there two friendly guys, at our table, began speaking to us. One said, “I love your accent.” I had no idea what he was talking about. What accent? Then he informed me that they were from back East as well. “We’re from Milwaukee, and we don’t even drink beer.” All I could think of, although I nodded and smiled pleasantly, ‘where the hell is Milwaukee?’
Today casinos are so very different. Besides the barely twenty somethings, in their very short, skin-tight, dresses, and super high heels, rarely do you see people dress up to gamble. I still dress up in the evenings, although no longer in evening gowns. The very act of choosing what to wear enhances the experience for me. I luxuriate in the illusion that I am a wealthy world traveler, spending a care free evening and winning is secondary. (It’s Not). Still the fantasy is a pleasant one, and one which is supported by my casino host, Brett Hamilton, the staff at the Diamond Jim Club, and the VIP lines at Tropicana’s Show Room. My husband, Jim, ever my partner, also dresses. While he doesn’t bring suits, he does wear attractive sports jackets. It’s the whole Gestalt!*
While all that I’ve stated here is true, never lose sight of the real reason I love Atlantic City. It’s the adrenalin rush. Few things get my heart pumping like expecting to pull a Ten of Spades, when the Ace, King, Queen, and Jack, of the same suit, is already in my hand.
I believe gambling is in the genes. My father loved playing cards for money. He also played the numbers. His steady number was 607. He would have loved Atlantic City. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1959, long before Resorts put in its first slot machine.
My Mom also loved to go to AC with her friend, Ruthie Baby. This was when Mom was much older. Money was pretty tight for her. Her health was beginning to fail, and this was one of the joyful, adventures left to her. Whenever she would be ready to go on a trip, Jim and I would ask her if she had enough money to play. Always, she would say, “Yes, certainly, but I think I am a little short for my medicine!” She knew we would press a couple of bucks in her hand no matter what she said. It was a game we played, and the memory always makes me laugh.
Well, my friends, I apologize to the few people who look forward to my ramblings, for neglecting my blog. I was away on a week vacation. Guess Where!