Around 1963 I was hired by the new Foreign Book Department director at Brentano’s on Fifth Avenue, Eugene Clarence Braun-Munk, who previously managed the Paperback Gallery and was thrown in jail for opening on a Sunday because of archaic Blue Laws, and you know I never met anyone like Eugene, he had longish curly hair, was dramatic and majestic and fidgety and flamboyant, wore suits made to order, spoke six languages maybe more, was literary and ambitious, Brentano’s was only a way station, and I was his very first secretary — at my job interview, I sat across the desk from him while he gestured all airy said sometimes I may dictate to you in French, can you take shorthand in French and I swallowed hard because I couldn’t even take shorthand in English but said oh sure, so for a year we inhabited a messy office on the bottom floor of the store, way in the back and though I was only part-time Eugene gave me art books for extra hours, it was too bad every time he tried to dictate in French my notes just unfortunately disappeared until he finally figured out to just speak in English and very, very slowly.



About Karen To and Fro

Everything you didn't want to know about me!
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