1996 didn't end on a good note as once again I was robbed though I did have insurance and got a check for over $1,000. With the bad there is always good and I was promoted to trainer of servers at Who Songs which gave me a much better paycheck plus I was getting better stations and making more in tips . There were rumors about the restaurant being sold but nothing concrete. By the way, in case you didn't know, when being trained in restaurants as servers you follow an old-timer, do most of the work and don't get any of the tips, just straight pay which, if I remember right, was about $5 an hour in Florida! I would, sometimes, slip the trainee a few bucks if I had a good night and I felt they did more than their share and were catching on quick.
January 1997 started off good as I was still working, making money, eating out and going to the theatre seeing such shows as Rogers and Hart's "Babe In Arms", Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize winning "3 Tall Women" with Bob, Jim and Gino, eating at Tom Jenkin's BBQ (now closed) or Jalesco's (still open) or Lester's (open)depending on which playhouse we were going to--needless to say still going to the movies--seeing such movies as "Jerry McGuire" --all in all a good month.
The rumors started again in February about Who Song closing but now it was added that the whole corner was going to be demolished and there would be a Target going up. I really didn't think much about it and just continued enjoying life like Gino and I going to see the new movie "Evita" then a bite to eat at Wings 'N More (closed) or going to Catfish Dewey's (open) for all you can eat shrimp which, if I remember, was $11.95 or going to the IMAX theatre to see "Into The Deep". At 61 I didn't seem to be having any problems of any kind and there aren't any notes in my diary regarding anything being wrong which, of course, is the time to watch out! The rumors were true about Who Song and we were given notice which is rare in this business!
At the same time, after my place being robbed 3 times, my rental insurance was cancelled. Gino, Emir and I would go to the beach and have lunch at "The Deck" (closed)or went to see Faye Dunaway in "Master Class" at the Parker Playhouse. I did get a job interview at La Bomba (open) but didn't get the job. I was now living off money I had in the bank which was a combination of the insurance and my income tax refund. I was gettign unemployment but along with Florida always being one of the lowest in unemployment payments being a server you really didn't get much to begin with but I wasn't complaining.March was also the first time I went to 'the baths' in over 20 years and they hadn't changed a bit in spite of AIDS being prevalent in South Florida. One having nothing to do with the other I do have a note that I went to The Eagle to get Chuck a t-shirt but they didn't have them. Funny what notes I kept and which I didn't. I did hear from Bill for my 'unbirthday' in the middle of March! In April, still not working, and admittedly, not looking too hard for a job, I was still spending money going to see a performance of "Riverfest" at the Parker Playhouse and "The Heiress" at the Caldwell Playhouse. I do have a remark about staying up all night reading Mario Puzo's "The Last Don". I do have a note at the end of April saying, "Also, going broke again!"