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Transcript of interview with Raya Meron by Claytee White, July 14, 2014

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2014-07-14
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Raya was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel on July 8, 1935 to Edith and Gerhard Munzner. Her Mother was the daughter of Elsa and David Flachs from Berlin, Germany and her father was the son of Rachel and Zvi Munzner from Mannheim, Germany. Raya's father was jailed in 1931 as a 23 year old attorney, for being "out of the ordinary intelligent, and, therefore, highly dangerous," he was accused of being a communist because he defended social welfare cases. On the day of his release, he fled Germany, crossing the border overnight into Czechoslovakia and onward to Paris to reunite with his then fiancee (Raya's mother) and await immigration papers to the then Palestine, today's Israel. Raya's parents married upon their arrival in Jerusalem and settled in Tel Aviv in 1933. Raya's father obtained his doctorate in Economics and Law at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Upon arrival in Israel, he got a job counting the out-of-circulation money in the basement of "Bank Yaffet" in Tel Aviv an

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Meron, Ray Interview, 2014 July 14. OH-02466. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

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AN INTERVIEW WITH RAYA MERON An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editors: Raya Meron, Claytee D. White Transcriber: Kristin Hicks The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harold Boyer. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH CENTER AT UNLV Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project Use Agreement Name of Narrator: Name of Interviewer: We, the above named, give tp/he Qfal History Research Center of UNLV, the recorded interview(s) initiated on 7//*/ along with typed transcripts as an unrestricted gilt, to be used for such scholarly and educational purposes as shall be determined, and transfer to the University of Nevada I^as Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift docs not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative of UNLV, nor the narrator to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. 7). tf/vfrs I understand that my interview will be made available to researchers and may be quoted from, published, distributed, placed on the Internet or broadcast in any medium that the Oral History Research Center and UNLV libraries deem appropriate including future forms of electronic and digital media. There will be no compensation for any interviews. Library Special Collections 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-7070 (702) 895-2222 Preface Raya was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel on July 8, 1935 to Edith and Gerhard Munzner. Her Mother was the daughter of Elsa and David Flachs from Berlin, Germany and her father was the son of Rachel and Zvi Munzner from Mannheim, Germany. Raya's father was jailed in 1931 as a 23 year old attorney, for being "out of the ordinary intelligent, and, therefore, highly dangerous," he was accused of being a communist because he defended social welfare cases. On the day of his release, he fled Germany, crossing the border overnight into Czechoslovakia and onward to Paris to reunite with his then fiancee (Raya's mother) and await immigration papers to the then Palestine, today's Israel. Raya's parents married upon their arrival in Jerusalem and settled in Tel Aviv in 1933. Raya's father obtained his doctorate in Economics and Law at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Upon arrival in Israel, he got a job counting the out-of-circulation money in the basement of "Bank Yaffet" in Tel Aviv and worked himself up to becoming the Bank's first Director. He needed a challenge and therefore, left "Bank Yaffet" and headed the first Israeli construction company "Sollel Boneh". He left "Sollel Boneh" to head the Economic Department of the Foreign Office and led the negotiations of Israel's trade agreements. When the Israeli Fuel Corporation "Delek" was founded in the early 1950s, Raya's father became its first Director serving until his death in 1954. He was 53 years old. Raya, the eldest of three children, joined the Israeli Defense Force after completing her education. Following rigorous boot camp training, she was assigned to the Mixed Armistice Commission. After her military service, Raya worked as Secretary at the Foreign Office where she met her first husband who was an Israeli diplomat at the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and shortly after her marriage, she moved to Istanbul. Raya was divorced in 1959 after returning from Istanbul. She left Israel shortly thereafter to pursue a show-business career and immigrated to Canada in 1960 to become an airline hostess for Trans Canada Airlines. In 1961, she went to NYC and on to Las Vegas where she became a showgirl at the Tropicana Hotel "Folies Bergere" show in 1962, the Dunes Hotel "Casino des Paris" show in 1963, the New Frontier Hotel "Minsky Follies" show in 1964 and the "Vive les Girls" Road show in 1965 which included the Theaters in The Round ("Melodyland" in Anaheim, "Circle Star" in St. Carlos and the Theatre in The Round in St. Diego). Her final show was the 67 Expo (1967 Montreal World's Fair). Raya left Las Vegas in 1967 and returned to NYC to study Business Administration. On completion of her studies, she worked as secretary and administrative assistant for a Paper Conglomerate in NYC. From 1970 to 1972 Raya worked for the European Space Research Organization in the Netherlands, where she also did some photo modeling. She returned to Canada in 1973 and studied to become a Law Clerk. Raya worked for numerous legal firms and taught law clerks at an evening school. In 1990, Raya moved to Geneva, Switzerland where she worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She spent a year in Cambodia repatriating Cambodian refugees after the signing of the Cambodian peace agreement. Raya retired in 1997 and lives in Geneva where she spends much of her time writing. Vive les Girls, Montreal Worlds Fair, 1967 My late father, Gerhard Munzner, was one of the founders of the State ot Israel. He was driven out of Germany, and accused of being a communist. When the State ot Israel was declared in 1948, it was the United Nations that drafted the borders which were: north of Lake Chula was the border with Lebanon, the Golan Heights was the border with Syria, the Jordan River was the border with Trans Jordan (today's Jordan) and the Sinai desert was the border with Egypt. You really have to read the history and not what the media tells you. Shortly after the Declaration of the State, Israel was attacked by the Jordanians. There was a siege on Jerusalem. The population didn't get food and water. It was completely blocked. That's when Colonel David (Micky) Marcus volunteered to help Israel. Remember that, the American Colonel, David (Micky) Marcus? The name sounds familiar, but I'm not sure. I recommend you watch the movie "Cast a Giant Shadow", the story of David (Micky) Marcus (Michael Stone) as he was named by the Israelis. He was a colonel in the United States military, a Jewish guy. Israel had neither army nor ammunition. They were defending themselves against the Jordanians who were British trained, by exploding soda bottles. Colonel Marcus said: "how can this nation defend itself - they have nothing". My late father was sent to New York to arrange for the first boat of weapons to be shipped to Israel. He told me that the ship was supposedly carrying toys, but in reality it carried weapons. My mother accompanied my father to New York to acquire a further degree in physiotherapy at the New York Hospital for Joint Diseases. My mother was the first physiotherapist in Israel who treated children with polio. It was during an epidemic of polio in the 1950s. David (Micky) Marcus organized the Israelis in an army. He taught them how to use ammunition. They were attacked from all sides. After the liberation of ^ 2 Jerusalem under the leadership of David (Micky) Marcus, while at the camp in Abu Gosh on the way to Jerusalem celebrating the liberation of Jerusalem, one of the soldiers asked for a password because he heard a noise at night. David (Micky) Marcus didn't answer because he did not understand Hebrew, the soldier then shot and killed him. The movie is about David (Micky) Marcus and the early days of the State of Israel, starring Kirk Douglas, Yul Brynner, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Angie Dickinson. It is a true story about the creation of the State of Israel and the first of six wars against it by the surrounding Arab countries. To all those who blame Israel for the Palestinian misfortune, I highly recommend they watch the movie "Cast a Giant Shadow". It is a true and factual history of the early days after the creation of the State of Israel. After the declaration of the State of Israel, the Arabs who wanted to stay could stay - it was their country, too. The surrounding Arab countries, however, enticed the Israeli Arabs to leave their land and join their brothers in the neighboring Arab countries. They sold their land and initially ran to Egypt and Jordan and later to Syria and Lebanon. When they arrived there, they were refused entry and were placed in refugee camps, the largest of which is the Gaza Strip on the Egypt/Israel border. Israel has been providing basic necessities to the refugees, while the neighboring Arab countries who placed them in refugee camps, are using them as propaganda against Israel. Rockets are being fired daily at Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip, while Israel is being blamed. Enough is enough. I know my people, trust me. They don't go in there to kill civilians, while the Gaza Strip refugees fire their rockets from apartments, schools and hospitals using children as human shields. Israel has to strike back to protect its civilians, trying to avoid Gaza civilians in the process. Before Israel strikes, they throw out leaflets asking Gaza civilians to leave in order to 3 avoid Israeli strikes. The hatred between Jews and Arabs goes back to biblical times. My older brother still lives in Israel. We're not in contact. He is an economist, now retired from "Bank Israel". My brother is a borderline communist and I'm just the opposite. When my mother died in 2005, my brother gave her furniture to the Palestinians. I was speechless. He was the executor of my mother's will. We don't see eye to eye. But he is there and it's still my country. I've done my military service in Israel and am a very proud Israeli. The Israeli/Arab conflict continues. Of course, Obama doesn't help. I'd like to see him go. The United States is a mess. My younger brother's widow lives in Salt Lake City and I am in contact with her. The world no longer respects the United States. I'm a voter and taxpayer in the State of Nevada. There's one guy who strikes me as honest. He's a doctor. Oh, Ben Carson. Yeah. Do you think he's honest? Is anyone honest? I mean there's really no one; they're all involved in scandals. Americans should get their act together. So let's talk about growing up in Israel and what that was like. I was born in Israel or rather Palestine, on July 8, 1935. When I was born, the hospital in Tel Aviv was just being built, so I was born at home. I will be celebrating my 80th birthday this year (2015). Israel was Palestine when I was born. So which passport do you use? The United States passport. I cannot enter here without a United States passport because I am a United States citizen. There is a fine of $500.00 if a United States citizen tries to enter the United States without a United States passport. I'm a proud United States citizen; my loyalty is with the United States. Prior to my visit, I had to get a new passport. The State Department is very strict now. The United States 1 4 consul in Geneva requested my birth certificate since 1 did not have my old passport. When 1 submitted my Palestinian birth certificate, the Consul was surprised. I explained that I was born in 1935 before Palestine became Israel (1948). I asked the consul why am I refused entry to the United States with my Swiss passport, and she told me that the United States State Department has to know the country of birth for security reasons to protect us from potential terrorists, and the Swiss passport does not indicate the country of birth. Profiling is necessary for our own protection. I can fully understand it. I've had problems because my United States Passport says: "Bom in Israel"', and that is not safe for travel. My father had three brothers in the United States. My father was an economist. His three brothers were: an internal medicine specialist, a psychiatrist, and the third brother had shoe stores in Cleveland. What kind of stores? Shoe stores. For some odd reason, my mother didn't keep in touch with my father's brothers. There was some kind of dispute. I think my mother blamed the three brothers for taking off and leaving their old parents with my father in Israel. My father's parents were from Lithuania. They went from Lithuania to Mannheim, Germany and then to South Africa. My father's three brothers were bom in South Africa and then they came back to Mannheim where my father was bom. I am trying to write my autobiography. Two years ago, I put an ad on a people search forum because my mother refused to give me the addresses of my uncles in the United States. I thought that I would probably find one of my uncles. In my ad I wrote that I am the daughter of Gershon Meron, formally Gerhard Munzner, who immigrated to Israel in 1932, but I had no response. Four months 5 later, I got an e-mail, which read: "Dear Raya. My name is Helen Hay and I'm the daughter of James Cope who befriended your parents in 1945." I was surprised. But I didn't know who she was. I thought and thought and thought and finally remembered - it was during the British mandate in Palestine. My mother was a physiotherapist treating wounded British soldiers. My mother brought home a young handsome British Otficer by the name of Jim Cope. And my father liked him, and sort of adopted him. Jim spent his free time with us and joined us on our vacation trips. My father loved him. I wrote back to Helen Hey asking: "Is your father Jim Cope?" And she told me that her father liked to be addressed by "James". He was very British. She told me that her father was eighty and asked her to look for me around the world, because he wanted to write to me by mail since he cannot use computers. I sent her my address and received the most beautiful letters from James with childhood pictures of my older brother age 4, myself age 7 and my baby brother a few months old, describing his love and admiration for my father. I was in tears. I still have the letters. I plan to use them in my book. James told me that he married Anna and had three daughters. James was transferred from Palestine to Egypt. My father kept in touch with him. From Egypt, James returned to London where he went to medical school. He told me that he moved from one dormitory to another during his university years and misplaced my father's letter of 1955 but found it unopened a few months before he started looking for me - sixty years later! James told me that he asked his daughter, Helen, to find me. James invited me to visit him and Anna, his wife, in London to meet his daughters and their families. I went to London for ten days. He gave me some documents to read from the British Mandate period. These documents were an eye-opener on what really happened in Palestine. James travelled throughout the Middle 6 East. He loved Israel. He said that he loved my father. He just adored him. During my visit in London, James talked to me about Israel and my father from ten in the morning until ten at night. By the end of ten days my head could not absorb any more. The documents were very interesting. James passed away a year after my visit, but I stayed in close contact with his wife, Anna. I'm going to see her again. We are in touch. In fact, on the way here I stopped in London and saw Anna. She came to see me at the airport. So this was really quite an experience for me. Oh, it had to be. During my visit with James and Anna, James showed me a book that my father gave him. It was the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam, the Persian philosopher and poet. It was the original printing with the most beautiful color illustrations. I would like to get that book, but I'm sure that Anna wouldn't give it to me. My father befriended James with a circle of our friends. One of my father's friends was a judge who was killed in a boat accident. James asked me about the Judge's wife, Susi, and I promised to try and find her. Susi was in a senior residence in Israel, and by the time I found her, she had passed away. Her son lives in Israel and is a former judge and a lawyer now. I'm in touch with him. He's more of a brother to me than my own. Israel is a beautiful country, but things change. People are no longer the pioneers my parents were. They want money. They want good living conditions. So it's very different now. So what was it like when you were a little girl? We lived in Tel Aviv at No. 1 Rosenbaum Street. I was in my teens. My older brother is four years younger, and I lost my younger brother, who was twenty-eight when he died. My father was a very left-wing idealist and I was even worse then. As a teenager, I 7 belonged to a youth movement that was borderline communist. We sang in Russian and my father didn't like that. Every Saturday when we had our youth movement meeting, my father travelled around Israel visiting interesting sights to pull me away from my political meeting. You probably remember our prime minister who signed the peace accord with Egypt, Menachem Begin. One day, a woman with three children moved into our building's ground floor. No one saw her husband who was living undercover. He was Menachem Begin. He had several plastic surgeries because the British Mandate authorities were looking to kill him. The Begins were such modest people. Mrs. Begin had asthma. I remember my 2-year-old brother played with red ink on our third floor balcony and mistakenly poured it down the balcony soiling Mr. Begin's white shirts downstairs. [Laughing]. My mother went to apologize. Mrs. Begin said to my mother: "You know, Mrs. Meron, I also have young children." Okay, great. They were lovely people. I was the only one in the whole building who talked to Mr. Begin as he was leading the Israeli resistance party that fought the British Mandate. He was considered a fascist. Before I left for London, I promised to keep in touch with him. Mr. Begin told me not to forget my Hebrew and sent me Hebrew books to London. Unfortunately, I did not keep in touch with him. He was a great man and a wonderful Prime Minister who liberated Israel from British rule. If you ever go to Jerusalem, there is a museum about Menachem Begin's life which is very interesting. We didn't start this interview like I usually start interviews. Would you spell your first name and your last name and pronounce it for me? Raya, R-A-Y-A. Meron, M-E-R-O-N. 8 Now, the real last name was a German name, Munzmer, M-U-N-Z-N-E-R. My father negotiated and signed all the trade agreements for the State of Israel. He became a high-ranking diplomat, and as such, the Foreign Office demanded that he change his German name to a Hebrew name. So my father changed his name and we stayed with a Hebrew name - M-E-R-O-N. I was married to someone from the foreign office, actually - from the intelligence service, the "Mosad". So your parents arranged this? Pretty much. So how is it done? It was someone from the foreign office who told my father about this young brilliant guy. I agreed to meet him. Our families were too different. He came from a religious family. There were no lights on a Friday night and Saturday. And my family was just the opposite. So it didn't work from the beginning. My husband was sent by the foreign office to work at the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and I didn't like that, because women were expected to stay home and never allowed to accompany their husbands to official functions. Right after our arrival in Turkey, the Turks had the revolution against the Greeks, Armenians and Albanians and it was bad. My parents came to visit. I was very close to my father. In Turkey? In Turkey, yeah. They stayed at the Hilton Hotel. Two days later my father announced that he's leaving because he found a bedbug in his bed. The Turks were filthy, even their five star hotels were dirty. So how old were you when you got married? I was 21. So you didn't go to college? 9 I went to high school. It's equivalent. Actually, I went to the army before I got married, at age 18. Tell me about that military service. Every girl has to do 2 years of military service. My military service was delayed due to medical reasons -1 was underweight. I had to spend two months in basic training that is a boot camp, similar in difficulty to the marine training here; it's tough, very tough. The punishments were severe. In my childhood I had polio and, therefore, had no strength in my arms to neither hold a rifle, nor throw live hand grenades. And you can't be excused for medical reasons? Yes, my father did that. He had me transferred after boot camp training. I was transferred to the mixed armistice commission that was very interesting. I was discharged early. A year after my discharge, I got married. The military is a good experience for women. I remember one punishment - if the officer found one grain of sand inside the rifle chamber during inspection, the punishment was to clean fifty rifles in one hour. And if the rifles were not clean, then there were more severe punishments. We had turns to wash out the barracks. The Sergeant Major and officers were tough women. After my divorce in 1959, I sold all my wedding gifts, bought myself a ticket, and off I went to London. At that time, I had stars in my eyes. I wanted to be a movie star. In London the Rabbinical Service was after me to try and reconcile my marriage but I refused and asked for a divorce. I was very, very innocent at that time. I thought that if I go to Hollywood, I would become a movie star. I truly believed that. But how do I get to Hollywood? And how much money did you have at that point? 10 Very little. But I took a job working at the Israeli embassy as a secretary. I was terminated a few months later because I had an affair with a Pakistani guy declaring me a security risk. I lived with a friend of my mother's who was a schoolteacher and had two children. While reading the newspaper one day, I saw an ad by Trans Canada Airlines for airline hostesses. I thought that an airline hostess is the first step into the world of glamour. I'll be an airline hostess and once I'm in Canada, I'll go to Hollywood. Right? [Laughing]. I love it. So I applied. Out of six hundred girls I was hired. The airline flew me to Montreal where I was trained. I had a typical Israeli mentality - very tough. So what is the Israeli mentality? It's aggressive because we are always on the defensive. We are brought up this way. I was flown to Montreal. Somehow someone in Montreal knew that there's a stewardess all the way from Israel. On my arrival in Montreal, I got a phone call from a girl in flight operations named Marcia who wanted to meet me. I went through a month of training, following which I was based in Toronto. Marcia told me that the chief purser in Toronto was a known anti-Semite. My final graduation certificate said: "Ms. Meron is very intelligent but has an extremely aggressive mentality". I was flying on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas day and I was always picked on by the chief purser. A week before the Jewish Holiday, Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day for Jews when we say a memorial prayer for deceased parents, I asked for Yom Kippur off to say a prayer for my late father. The Chief Purser refused and said: "Ms. Meron, we don't recognize Jewish holidays here". So I didn't come to work and was fired. I didn't know 11 what to do. I was all-alone there; so I called the chief Rabbi of Toronto. It was a big scandal. There was an article about the Chief Purser treatment of me in the Toronto paper. A letter was written to prime minister, Diefenbaker at that time. Finally, they reinstated and compensated me. I decided to quit and go to California to start a show business career. [Laughing]. So about what year is that now? That was in 1960. I went to New York, but didn't have a residence permit or working papers. I met a girl in Toronto who was a showgirl at the Latin Quarter in New York and she introduced me to the ins and outs of being a showgirl. I also met an Israeli girl with whom I went to Las Vegas. She had a friend who was going to meet us in Las Vegas and get us work in a show. So who was this person? His name was Irving Falk, an oilman from Houston. He was a big gambler who stayed at the Tropicana Hotel. My friend did the driving, since I don't know how to drive a car. We were sitting stark naked in scorching heat. Why were you naked? Because we wanted to get tanned and look good before reaching Las Vegas. [Laughing). We had beach dresses on which covered us when we saw a car close to us. On arrival in Las Vegas, Irving met us at the Tropicana and introduced us to the late Jackie Fields who was an ex-boxer and one of the Tropicana bosses. Jackie looked at my girlfriend and then looked at me and said: "You come with me and I'll introduce you to the line captain". Did you know how to dance? 12 Not at all. I looked good; that was all. So Jackie took me backstage, and introduced me to the line captain. She looked at me and hired me. I was fitted for costumes and started rehearsing the following day. I don't know how long I worked there. That's what I'm trying to find out. It was an honor to work there. We did two shows a night and three on Saturday. We had to be back stage at 6:00 p.m. for the 8:30 p.m. dinner show. The late show started at 12:30 a.m. Every show had seven production numbers, with seven costume and wig changes. Most of the costumes were very heavy silk brocade with long trains. We had wardrobe ladies who dressed us and placed the rhinestone pasties on our nipples. At the same time, there were three shows nightly in the lounge with the comedian Shecky Green and the Mary Kaye Trio. We often went to see third shows in other hotels as each hotel had a third show in their main showroom once a week, while all hotels had lounge shows three times nightly. We met real wealthy people. Showgirls were catered to from head to toe. We were treated like queens in those years. I spent all my money on clothes. I didn't have any money before, but I loved clothes. I remember when I lived in London; I wanted to meet people my age. In our apartment building was a group of guys who were in the United States military and they always had women and parties. I liked one of the guys. So I asked him if I could come to one of his parties, and he told me that I did not have the right clothes for their parties. His comment made me cry. As a result, I became clothes crazy. I spent my entire salary, everything I had, on clothes. We had one small department store on the strip where we could buy designer clothes, shoes and handbags. It was named "Joseph Magnin". We also had a professional dry cleaner named "Fabulous Cleaners" which specialized in cleaning of the finest fabrics. I had the reputation of the "best dressed girl in Las Vegas". I still have an 13 evening dress of which there were two sold, one was bought by the singer, Eddie Adams, and the other was mine. They were all hand beaded with sequins and beads of many colors on five full layers of pure silk chiffon. I used to change my hair color and style every week. Where did you live? I lived behind the Flamingo Hotel, at the Egyptian Apartments that belonged to Jessee Baxter, who was the president of Albuquerque Chemicals Company in New Mexico - a real cowboy. He wore spiked boots, a silver buckle belt and a cowboy hat. He liked me. On my day off, he invited me to visit Phoenix. He had his own plane. So we went to Phoenix and he took me to a cowboy-clothing store, and said to the salesgirl: "Now, dress up this little girl in cowgirl clothes". [Laughing]. I think Jesse has passed away. When I last spoke to him in 1985, He was living around the Las Vegas Golf Course. He was very nice - a very cultured man. Where did you go shopping? I spent a fortune, mostly at Paul Sperling's at the Flamingo Hotel, Joseph Magnin's on the strip and the Tropicana Hotel dress shop. I also bought furs at the Tropicana fur shop from Flo, the manager. Flo was a little old lady. She was smart. She told us girls to tell the gamblers who wanted us to bring them luck, that it was our birthday and we wanted a fur as a gift. And once we got the fur, we brought it back to Flo a day later and split the price of the fur. [Laughing]. Later on, Harry Yagoda, a furrier from New York, sold furs to all showgirls. How much were you earning to buy those kinds of clothes? We were earning pretty well, but don't forget that we were hustling the tables, too and 14 most of our income was from hustling chips. What does that mean? After work, we hung around the gambling tables. At that time, there were very rich gamblers, such as oilmen, Arab sheikhs, princes etc. Some of these men lost $100,000.00 in a matter of an hour. Of course, the gamblers expected a lot more than having showgirls bring them luck, and we always wound up looking for excuses. While we hung around the tables, if we brought them luck, they gave us chips. We would then go to another table play one or two chips, pocket the rest and come back five minutes later for more chips claiming to have lost. Sometimes, I came home with a thousand or two thousand dollars a night. I had no appreciation for money at all. I started gambling my own money and lost. I remember just before I decided to leave Las Vegas, Jackie Fields, one of the Tropicana Hotel bosses who was my mentor, said to me: "Raya, one of these days you will eat your clothes and furs, stop buying clothes, save your money''. I was a showgirl at the Tropicana Hotel "Folies Bergere" show from 1962 to 1963, followed by the "Minsky Follies" show at the New Frontier Hotel, Barry Ashton's "Caribbean Carnaval" at the Americana Hotel in Puerto Rico and Barry Ashton's "Mardi Gras Follies" and "Les Femmes de Paris" at the Golden Casino Hotel in Reno. In 1964, I visited my family in Israel. On the eve of my departure for Israel, I joined a group of friends for a farewell drink. A young man at the table next to ours bought us drinks and joined our table. The girls told him that we are having a farewell drink as I was leaving for Israel the following morning and that we plan to stay out until morning when I catch my flight. The young man was the astronaut Alan Sheppard and he brought me to the airport and put me on the flight with all my excess baggage. I received the red carpet treatment when Allan Sheppard checked me in and I was not charged for excess baggage. On my return from vacation in Israel in 1965,1 joined the Dunes Hotel "Casino de Paris" show starring Line Renaud. After the "Casino de Paris" closed, I joined the "Vive Les Girls" road show, first in Lake Tahoe, followed by the theaters in the round in Anaheim, San Carlos and San Diego, and my final show was the 1967 (EXPO) World's Fair in Montreal. I left Las Vegas in 1968 after the 1967 World's Fair and moved to New York where I went back to school, while holding a full time job as secretary. I was penniless when I arrived in New York having lost all my money gambling and buying clothes. I rented a studio apartment across from the Empire State Building, with a foldup bed in the wall and a chair, which is all I had for the initial 4 months. I could not even afford pantyhose! So were you able to move all your clothes? No, no. That's another story. Before I went to New York, while I was on the road, I put everything in storage with the Nevada Moving and Storage Company. Just before I left for New York, I wanted to arrange for my clothes to be shipped to New York and went ove