IT’S A GREAT LIFE!

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By Harvey Tobkes

Yes! The title statement above is especially true if you are young, healthy, have money and the time to travel. So, let me share one of my short adventures that reminds me of a week when I really enjoyed…the great life. Those were the days!

My June 1951, trip to Paris was somewhat business connected, as I was stationed in Germany, working for the U.S. Army, as a 22-year-old private first-class, on special assignment in Stuttgart, (washing pots and pans and peeling millions of potatoes). After about 6 months of drudgery, they held some sort of lottery and I was lucky enough to get a 7-day furlough pass. I had to get far away from K.P. duty, so I took a plane from Stuttgart to Geneva and from Geneva to Paris.

Eiffel tower

My outstanding memories…The Louvre Museum, the Seine, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Place de la Opera, Napoleon’s Tomb, Eiffel Tower, a restaurant called Flambaum’s, the Follies Bergére, my old world hotel with luxurious antique room furnishings and last but not least, the available women. OMG!

Paris offers too much temptation for any man, and I was no exception. To support my playboy tourist interlude, I had to sell my Leica camera and still I had to wire home for money. My dad was very generous and a Paris bank was very cooperative. In those days, “moderation,” was not yet a word in my vocabulary. In fact, you might say I was an overachiever when it came to food, wine and women; (throw in a TV remote and that’s still the modern day profile of most men).

Now, reflecting back on my younger years… I think that at this stage of my life, I would prefer to dine at Flambaum’s and forsake all those other pleasures. In the playhouse section of my brain, I envision a scene where I am having a gourmet meal. In my imagination, I start with a French onion soup laden with thick, crusty slices of French bread toasted in the oven and placed on top of my very hot, rich soup brimming with slices of melted, bubbling gruyere cheese overflowing the bowl, served a la Flambaum’s.

Ahhh, Paris!


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