Skip to main content

Coming To America


As a teenager growing-up in Holland, I used to watch numerous American TV shows. The one that I really liked was Miami Vice starring Don Johnson. At this time in Holland there were only two government television channels, and they didn’t commence until 3pm in the afternoon and ended slightly passed 11pm. Another one I really liked was Magnum, P.I. starring Tom Selleck. And though Magnum, P.I. was featured only once a week, it provided me with enough inspiration to enter the world of palm trees, white beaches, beautiful women and a red Ferrari. But if not a red Ferrari, I would have gladly settled for the convertible Rolls-Royce Corniche as occasionally featured in my other favorite TV show, Hart to Hart, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. For me, Don Johnson, Tom Selleck, and Robert Wagner as portrayed on television were the ideal men living in the ideal world.

So in 1983, after graduating from high school in Holland, I stepped aboard a KLM Boeing 747 to the USA. It was a one-way ticket to paradise, at least so I thought at the age of eighteen. It was to be my long awaited escape from the Dutch rain and wind to a land of sunshine and opportunity, from grey skies to blue skies, from socialism to capitalism.



A couple of hours after checking-in, I was high up in the sky, drinking a Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth on the rocks, and realized what an achievement it was for mankind to have the ability to fly above the clouds, next to the sun, in such comfort and ease. 


I was reminded of seeing the black-and-white pictures of the well-dressed men and women flying the first transatlantic passenger planes, the ones with the propellers. And only a couple of decades later, the jet engines replaced the propellers and the planes became even more comfortable and much faster. And I realized that the earlier generation had it right: the best way to honor the ability for mankind to fly was to dress-up for the occasion. 



After landing I felt I had reached the Promised Land, but I still had to go through US Immigration & Customs. The first person I was to meet in the US was an elderly inspector who kept looking at my passport in a wary way. Perhaps it was because it was issued at the US Embassy in Amsterdam and its picture was glued-on with a flimsy seal. Or perhaps it was my Dutch accent and Dutch fashion style of clothing.

Though I was born in America, it was obvious that I hadn’t been raised there. Perhaps the officer thought that I was an imposter or that I was using a fake passport. But I was able to answer all of his questions, but then there was a long pause. So after a while, I asked the officer if there was anything wrong, to which he replied, “I guess not,” and stamped my passport.

When I walked outside the airport doors, I saw an attractive woman in a convertible Mercedes parked at the curbside. I smiled and gently waved at her. To my delight, she smiled back. And though I wasn’t the one she was picking up, for me her smile was confirmation that my American dream was on its way to becoming reality. After all, I was in Los Angeles, and she could have been a movie star. She could have been Mrs. H, Stefanie Powers, from Hart to Hart.






Popular posts from this blog

THE STARCK CLUB -- BEING THERE

Inside The Starck Club DALLAS, TEXAS -- 1985-89: My favorite place that I would frequently visit in Dallas was the Starck Club.  It was located in the old part of town, where the once life-sustaining warehouses were abandoned and crumbling, right past the forgotten railroad tracks of the forgotten Industrial Revolution.  But this one particular warehouse was adopted and remodeled by the French architect and designer, Philippe Starck. The Starck Club was owned by numerous people, and one of them was rumored to be Grace Jones. Getting into the Starck Club wasn’t easy.  There was always a long line and the club’s doormen were very selective about who they allowed to enter. Since I was in my early twenties with bleached blond hair, I was hip enough to pass.  I also wore black parachute pants while standing in white leather shoes -- all very Duran Duran like. The first time I entered the Starck Club I was in a state of shock and awe.  It wasn’t just the unique design of the

SHE DROVE A CITROËN SM (1 of 2)

SAN FRANCISCO 1983-85: One of my favorite places to go was a place called Dancers located on Harrison and Second Street. Dancers was a large, dark place with many colored lights flashing around as an industrial-beat of music kept breeding an inescapable aura of sexuality. At least this is what it felt like after several beers. At Dancers the libido was liberated and celebrated, and girls were dancing everywhere, including on top of the bar. And it was there that I would meet my first girlfriend, Brionna. Or something like that. Or was it Brion or Brishon? I don't remember exactly, but it began with the letter B. Earlier I had awkwardly asked some of these girls to dance but was rejected every time. And just as I was about to become discouraged, I saw an attractive female standing near the dance floor, leaning against a pillar with her arms folded. She appeared relaxed, confident and very attractive. She looked Mediterranean with her long, curly hair that fell over her bare shoulde

SHE DROVE A CITROËN SM (2 of 2)

The large underground garage where B had parked the Citroën was dimly lit. As we walked over to the elevator, B pointed at a black Porsche 928 and said: “See that car? That car was in Risky Business. Did you see that movie?” Before I could answer, she hit the elevator button. I hadn't seen the movie, but the elevator we entered seemed very risky. It was a small antique, mahogany cubicle. B closed its door and slid a copper screen across. The elevator went up slowly as we saw numerous doors slide down below us until we reached the top one. The thought of kissing her then and there had never occurred to me. Outside the elevator, immediately to the right, was apartment 704, and the moment B opened the door a four-footer approached me with a smile. I had never seen one of those before. It was a Russian wolfhound also known as a borzoi. The dog was very tall, skinny and furry with an arched back and blended well with the art-deco black leather couches, sleek lamps, vases and statues.