Monday, October 3, 2011

Answer to the question....

I was away in Europe for 6 weeks so there was a lot waiting for me  to do back home .
We also had another South African Couture Show coming up.

I was also doing a ready-to-wear collection. I used a CMT factory to do the production for me.
The owners of this factory were Fraser Diesel and Mimmo Mazzitelli.They knew that I went to  New York for a visit,but did not realize that I wanted to work there.Mimmo had a cousin in New York- Rosella Mazzitelli who was a designer and worked under her own label .She was going to get remarried and as she was very close  Mimmo , she asked him if he would not like to come to America and take over the business. He promised me that if they went  to America they would help me to go as well. Fraser went  to New York for three months to see how it would work out .Mimmo stayed in South Africa seeing to the factory. Fraser came back and was not too thrilled about it all -but they had time to decide.


Life went on -Gerhard built a new house in Graighall and he moved out of his penthouse apartment in Hillbrow .This also changed my life as I would drive out to the suburbs .Before this  we spent most of our time  in Hillbrow and the city. The house had a beautiful pool, so the summers would be spent swimming and  sitting in the conversation pit he had built next to the pool .During the cooler months the gatherings would be moved indoors with  dinner parties, burning fire places and interesting people.

Lynn Trisk ,Collin Steyn and David Strauss.

Many a night I would drive back home and think -why do you want to leave all this behind? Your business is going well- you have great friends-your family is here-you are surrounded by people that care and love you .Why do you want to leave all this behind......?
I was brought up religiously and my faith in God was always important in my life. I sat down and  wrote down all the pros and cons. The  pros did outnumber the cons.I decided to let a Higher Hand decide. The chances for me to be able to go and work in America was almost nil ,so why get excited-or depressed about it all ."Che sera sera"-What will be will be.

Robert and Gerhard.

Robert la Pointe came from New York for a  visit in South Africa .He was very impressed with South Africa and enjoyed his visit very much. I took him to my parents on the farm so that he could see an African Farm in action.(They retired to the farm that my father inherited from my grandfather.)
He visited Cape Town as well. One day before he left he told me that he thought I was crazy to leave all this behind for a life in New York. Robert was born in Brooklyn and was a real New Yorker .He knew New York very well-as he lived there all his life. This also made me rather nervous, but it confirmed the notion that if I was given the opportunity to go -I would go. So far nothing has happened and I had no chance to go to New York in any case.
  A few months later Mimmo informed me that they decided not to go to New York . Rosella decided she was not going to get re-married- so that option for me to join them -was wiped out.
I was very disappointed and thought -oh well -that is the sign that I am to stay in South Africa.

Mary McFadden.

I did write to Mary McFadden -the American designer that lived in South Africa for a while -where she was the editor of the South African Vogue. She wrote back and wanted to see my work.
I left my portfolio in New York with Dale and Lucia. Lucia did not want to keep it in the house and asked Dale to lock it in the safe at work. Lucia  called Mary McFadden and made a date to see her with my portfolio. When she got to Dale's  office and he went to  the safe to get the portfolio- it was nowhere to be found. She was devastated, and called me to tell me the bad news.

Leather Portfolio.

I never blamed Dale and Lucia for that.Dale had a colleague that was rather nasty to me when he heard that I was trying to work in America. He told me he had a South African friend that had many degrees and he was having trouble immigrating to the USA-who the hell was I to think they would let me in? I believe that when he heard I had an interview he took the portfolio out of  the safe and got rid of  it.It was a great loss as I had sketches in there that I did for Mila Schon and that was published in the Italian Vogue.
 Each country had a quota of immigrants that would be allowed to enter the USA. I think he thought it would put his friend lower down the list if I was also applying to immigrate.
Winifred -who was an artist-spent a lot of time in putting the portfolio together for me.All my press cuttings were in there and my best work were represented. It was a big zippered leather portfolio .It was not something small that would easily be thrown out.
I had very little contact with vicious people in my life- I stay clear of them. This was a malicious deed and it took  me a long time to forgive this person.


One day I was in Mimmo's office discussing the ready -to- wear production.Out of the blue  I asked him if he could ask Rosella if she would sponsor me to go to America .I would agree to work for her for very little money until I got my green card or permanent residence .He said he would ask. Within a few days he called me with the good news-Rosella being an immigrant herself agreed to do it.I could not believe my ears! I had my answer.Destiny had decided I must go to America-
 against all odds.

Robert helped me to find a immigration lawyer in New York and he drew up all the papers. Poor Robert had to run between Rosella and the lawyers - more than once.
In South Africa the American Consul was married to a friend of Collin ,Daleen. Her husband, Roger Daily, helped me on the South African side and before I knew it ,all was set for me to pack up, close my business, get rid of my car and apartment, say goodbye to my family and friends and move to America.It was exactly a year since I was there and on vacation that I  immigrated to the USA

Roger Daily and me in New York many years later.

Unfortunately he passed away in 2011. Daleen still lives in Montpelier.

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