04 November 2014


I was at a party thrown by my friends Jonathan Van Meter and Louis Mazza when they lived on Ventnor Avenue over a barber shop. The party was in full rage, fashionable and creative people populated every room, Charlie Heiser had his ever-present camera snapping artful pictures of all the guests. The tables were full of cheeses and crackers, bottles of alcohol, pretzels, chips, the usual fare of post-graduate young gay men. There was an eclectic group of guests, downbeach doyennes and uptown club-kids, it was the perfect mix to keep things interesting and everyone chatted up everyone else. Jon had a way of mixing his guests like a perfect Martini, it was intoxicating but in a classy way, the perfect blend of ingredients with just enough garnish.
I remember being in Louis' room standing next to the radiator deep in a political conversation with my friend Carol Tadley, Ronald Reagan was the topic. Surprisingly, I was lauding his merits at the time, I admit that I was caught up in his patriotic rhetoric and aw-shucks shucksterisms and she was staunchly, rabidly, anti-Reagan, so much so that I was finding it difficult to counter her arguments with anything of substance. Our exchange got heated at times, both of us were not willing to give ground. As I said, I found my stance wobbly on the facts of his presidential legacy but I refused to concede defeat. I was very young and full of ideas and determination, in that way you are only when you are very young.
Suddenly, she hit me with a direct question, 'Who did you vote for in the last election?'
I looked at her and confessed that I didn't vote and never had.
Her entire demeanour changed instantly and, with a dismissive tone she said, 'This conversation is over. You don't vote, you can't have an opinion.' and she walked away to freshen her cocktail.

I stood there, dumbfounded. Yes, I had been losing the argument anyway but with a simple sentence, she completely changed my entire world view (and destroyed whatever defence I had left). If I am not willing to cast my vote, my opinions are moot. I was not a part of the democratic process. My voice did not matter.

Shortly after this conversation, I registered to vote and have done so in every single election since. I have to say, it's one of the most simplest and easiest things to do but the sense of pride I feel once I hit that button in the voting booth is enormous. I am part of the process. My vote counts.

I urge all of you to vote. Be a voice. Be heard. Be counted.

And thank you, Carol, for giving me this continuing sense of pride as a voter. 

31 October 2014

Ghost Story

My boyfriend Joe and I decided to finally get a place of our own. It had been long enough and we were doing well financially, with my shows and our cleaning jobs, that we felt that we could afford something small for the two of us. One of our cleaning clients happened to have recently bought a small property on Richards Ave. in Ventnor a block from the bay and she offered to rent it to us. We took the obligatory tour of the little one bedroom and immediately fell in love, it was very quaint with a porch, living room with a mantle, dining area and a kitchen to the left and a bedroom to the right towards the back of the house. The bathroom was tucked under the stairs going up to the apartment above but we thought that was charming, even though that meant taking daily baths since there was no room for a shower stall.
We moved in quickly, we didn't have that much to begin with so there wasn't a whole lot to haul across the island. We settled in, getting as domestic as a drag performer and tortured artist could possibly get in the middle of suburbia, since that's what Ventnor is compared to Atlantic City, although in condensed form. There was an attached garage and a little front and back yard that Joe quickly commandeered for his artistic needs and I cordoned off a bit of the porch to store my costumes and accessories. It was an idyllic time in our lives, the money was coming in, the rent was cheap and we were enjoying our lives as a couple. Of course in short time, our home became an end point for our nocturnal wanderings, we routinely came home with an entourage after a night at the Studio Six or wherever else I had been performing. Alcoholic libations were plentiful and we continued our party well into the mornings, watching the rest of our little block wake up to begin their day as we drifted off to sleep.
Halloween came that first year and Joe and I went mad with the decorations, transforming the entire driveway and front yard into a haunted house, with creepy sounds coming from the hidden speakers in the azaleas and crazy glowing televisions lining the lawn with bizarre images flashing on their screens, along with the copious spider's webs and insane decorations that we came up with to scare the neighbourhood children. We dressed up and frightened the kids as they came up to our front door, the panic was clearly evident on their faces but you could also tell they loved every minute of it. We had a blast decorating and giving them a good thrill for our favourite holiday.

I'm not sure when I saw him for the first time, but I clearly remember to this day the first time I saw the old man in our kitchen.

Actually, I think it was summer of that first year. I had fallen asleep on the couch watching the telly (no idea where Joe was) and when I woke up it was getting a little dark and, as I glance across the room, I saw an old man wearing a hat, shuffling back and forth in our little kitchen. There was no door to the room so I had a clear view. He would go to the sink and then stand in front of the washing machine and then turn and go out of view. Of course, I was startled out of my skin, I had no idea who this was in my house and how he got in! I jumped up and crept across the living room to see further into the kitchen and, curiously, no one was there. Confused, I walked across the dining room and turned on the kitchen light, nothing was amiss, and I looked at the back door and it was locked tight, from the inside.
Needless to say, I was freaked out a little. I ran through all the possibilities and could only conclude that I had dreamt the entire thing. But I couldn't shake the feeling that what I saw wasn't my imagination running wild.

Joe and I went about our lives, planning a big event at the club (I think it was our Fantasy Show, to benefit Dooley House in Camden) and everything was as normal as it could be in our lives.

One day, I came home from a cleaning job, unlocking the inner porch door and I went to put my supplies down by the doorway and when I looked up, there he was plain as day, the old man in a hat shuffling back and forth in the kitchen again. Of course, I jumped a little and gave a start but he didn't notice or respond. As he wandered to the back of the kitchen, that's when I saw him simply vanish, melt away into the air as if he was never there. This time, I was unnerved but more convinced that I hadn't dreamt him up and what I saw was a ghost. Of course, the scientific side of me continued to doubt what I saw but it was so real, and this was the second time, that I could come to no other conclusion.

I saw him more and more over the months and I finally had to tell Joe. Of course, he wasn't surprised at all, he had seen him, too. He told me he'd see him when we were snuggled on the couch, the old man would appear and do his little thing in the kitchen and then walk to the back and disappear. The sightings became so common that we just accepted that he was there and didn't give it any more thought. Of course, when our cat would come walking in from the kitchen when we had let her out the front door earlier, that would freak us out a little knowing that, somehow, our old man ghost was letting Lesco back in the flat.

After one after-party, we all staggered awake in the late afternoon, clearing our heads of the night before. I came out of the bathroom and our friend Michelle was on the couch, I asked her how she slept and she hit me and said, 'Why didn't you tell me about the old man with the hat in the kitchen!'

Well, we explained that we didn't want to sound crazy by telling people about our little ghost. And the fact that we didn't tell anyone and she saw the same thing only confirmed that we had an actual ghost in our home. He seemed to be benign and, over time, it became a badge of honour for our friends to see him. We were all in on the little secret, not revealing anything until someone said they saw him, each person confirming for the rest of us that our ghost was really there.

Joe was always out in the front yard, tinkering around, and one day I woke up to him covered in dirt and our entire lawn was missing. He decided to make it a wildflower garden and began transplanting bushes and flowers and landscaping the little patch of land into his new vision. In short time, it bloomed and blossomed into a beautiful little garden, flowers grew at different times, bursting with colours all over. The neighbours would come by and tell us how lovely it was and that's when we began to hear stories of the original tenants. They were an older couple who were very much in love. The neighbours said that the original couple would have loved the new front garden, they always had flowers around. We were happy to know that little bit of information and figured our ghostly old man was one of the original tenants, who simply wasn't ready to leave his home.

Time went on and, for whatever reasons, Joe and I eventually moved from our flat to other places. We had heard friends of ours moved in but hadn't seen them for nearly a year. Eventually, I saw one of them at the Studio Six one night and he came straight over to me in a beeline and playfully hit me on the shoulder saying, 'Why didn't you guys tell us about the old man with the hat in the kitchen!?!'

I guess our little ghost was still keeping an eye on things at Richards Ave.

True story.

Happy Halloween!

09 October 2014

Stockton College Speech Notes (Delivered On 10 Oct)

I want to thank Lydia for inviting me to speak today.

Opening remarks, nervous, first time.

I was asked to come speak to you about the A.I.D.S. crisis in the early years.
I'm not going to bore you with a million statistics and graphs, and I'm of an age where a Powerpoint presentation is way beyond my skills so I'm simply going to tell you my story from my point of view.
Considering I lived through it, I have a unique perspective on the history of the crisis.

I always knew I was gay, from a very early age. Growing up in a small town in the Collingswood area I was the ONLY gay person for as far as the eye could see. And it was nothing like what you have now and conveying what that is like to your generation is nearly impossible. I knew nothing about being gay and I knew no one who could help. No Internet, no magazines, nothing. But my childhood years were idyllic, my friendships were tight and I have remained friends with many of them to this day.
Eventually, after my parents divorced I moved in with my father in Atlantic City, and as a young teenager, for the first time, I was thrust into a world completely different from anything I have ever experienced up to that point. Although AC is not exactly a big city, it was full of cultures and races and people I have never encountered up to that point, my freshman year was at a preparatory school and there wasn't much diversity there.
School was strange to me, especially being gay and I never fit in. I was bullied and picked on, I hated going to certain classes, I'm sure things haven't changed that much.
But one day, in our English class, not your normal English class, it was more of an open forum where we'd discuss ideas and books and language more than simple rote studying, the subject of gay people came up and one of the kids said, 'Don't get off on New York Ave., that's where they all hang out!'
Needless to say, when I left school that day, I got off the Jitney at New York Ave.
I had no clue what I was in for. The street was alive with my people! I couldn't believe it.
Discuss the street, bars, restaurants, people, boarding houses. Snake Alley.
At that time, the gay population in AC rivalled New York and San Francisco. It was incredible.
And it was all in the open. We even had a gay beach in front of the Claridge.
A short time later, I went to my first gay bar, no one checked IDs back then, and saw things that schooled me about gay life instantaneously!
After that, I started going out to the nightclubs and that's when I saw someone from school for the first time, a lesbian named Lydia, ahem, although we called her Libby. She was just as shocked to see me.
Needless to say, we became the best of friends. The next day at school, glitter still on her eyes from the night before, she showed me a version of ACHS that I didn't know existed. She outed EVERYONE to me! There were gay teachers, many of the students were gay, and many of the most popular ones, and I was astounded that all of this was right here in the school right under my nose.
As I got a older, the popular culture began to change, MTV was HUGE and showed America that there were all sorts of people out there. Annie Lennox and Boy George with their gender-bending looks advanced the notion that being gay was not icky any more, and it became very fashionable. And films like 'Making Love' were being shown, putting the gay thing centre stage. Suddenly, I was popular, at least in certain circles, and I felt accepted in a way that I never had before.
I had a few boyfriends at the time, now that I think about it they were much older, but it was nothing long term. I wasn't  even worried about getting anything because everyone said you just go to the clinic and they'll give you some meds and you're back to business the next weekend. I wasn't very promiscuous but I was active, I was a horny teenager and there were thousands of gay men out there to meet!
Now, growing up, my family was always very newsy, we watched the morning news shows (I remember when GMA debuted) and we watched the news at dinner and discussed current events at family gatherings, some getting very heated. I never stopped being this way, I had subscriptions to Time, and Science magazines and I read The Press every single day.
I began seeing these odd new reports, buried in the back pages of the mags and papers, about this mysterious disease that seemed to be affecting Haitians and druggies and gay men. And then, as time went on, the articles were closer to the front, and getting longer. And then they began naming it. G.R.I.D. gay related immune deficiency or the gay-plague but the mystery of it deepened. How was it spreading? Why was it spreading?
But things in AC continued humming right along, the parties and the clubs were packed, the restaurants and the boarding house were full, it was all a gay ol' time here on New York Ave.
But I was intrigued. And I started seeking out whatever I could find about this new disease that was showing up in the gay world. I was curious as to why it only seemed to affect these certain populations. At that time, we knew NOTHING, and there was so much misinformation out there.  But I continued to read on, trying to figure out why this was spreading and why it was happening.
The gay population in AC started talking about it, too, since, by then, it was becoming front page news and was on the broadcasts. Now, the people affected were dying.  And at an alarming rate. The big cities like New York and Frisco began showing large rates of infection and the cancers and lesions were popping up everywhere and they still had no idea what was going on. It was getting scary.
But then the link was made that the transmission might be blood borne, and that gay sex was what was transferring the disease to the next person. Once I heard that, it made sense to me, because sharing needles also involved blood. Personally, I became a monk at that point. I was scared out of my wits and in the prime of my youth, I did not want to risk my life.
Unfortunately, many gay men did not believe that was how it was transmitted. They considered that an attack on the gay lifestyle, the free love, free sex, reckless abandonment, the whole concept of being a gay person, they took the link to be political  and not medical and didn't change their habits.
As the years went on, of course, we accepted the fact that H.I.V. was being transmitted sexually but, curiously, as we watched the news reports of people dying in all the large cities through the mid eighties, we here in AC seemed to be an oasis, no one was obviously sick, no one had lesions, no one had anything as far as we could see.
But a little organisation started called the South Jersey A.I.D.S Alliance and we dutifully paid tribute but we thought it was for THEM not US and most of us continued on.
Until it hit us.
Yes, we were mercifully a few years behind the curve but when A.I.D.S. hit the island, it made sure to make up for lost time.
Now we started hearing about so-and-so being sick. Oh, I heard so-and-so was at that A.I.D.S. doctor, Miss Thing saw him there. Oh, did you see so-and-so, he don't look good. We still didn't have a handle on how dangerous this was, or how devastating it would become.
Until our friends started dying.
Once we hit the 90's, the crisis was on our doorstep like a hurricane.
How can I convey to you the horror of that era? It's really hard to give you an idea of what was lost during those days. Imagine, if you will, that a third of your Facebook friends were to die within a year. I lost that. And more. At one point, I  started going to funerals more than I was going to the club. One of my closest friends committed suicide once he found out he was infected, because back then it was a death sentence and he did not want to die suffering. I went to the hospitals to sit vigil at the bedside of my friends, cooling their skin, taking care of the lesions, giving what little comfort I could and seeing them waste away right before my eyes. They looked like zombies, or skeletons, or Holocaust survivors, so thin and sunken. Grey skin. Sores. It was heartbreaking to see these once healthy and loving and vibrant people wasting away and there was nothing that could be done.
And then the backlash started.
Where once it was a badge of honour to be gay, or to know someone gay, now we were pariahs. And not just to the straight community, who blamed us for the disease we had no idea we were spreading, but amongst our own people. Suddenly no one would touch anyone. No one wanted to get sick. It was taboo to even mention someone's name that was infected, as if the simple act of saying their name out loud would magically infect you too. We were so scared. Scared to live. Scared to love. And we were getting bashed and hurt and vilified. And we were dying. Dying horrible deaths.
And that's when we started to find our strength, in the bleakness of that horrendous crisis, we realised that no one was going to help us and we had to FIGHT BACK. We had to ACT UP! We had to FIGHT A.I.D.S.
I went to ACT UP rallies here in AC and we were screamed at and made fun of but we screamed back and made a statement. We began to get angry and we wanted something to be done.
One day, all the magazines and newspapers and galleries in New York did A Day Without Art, blacking out all photographs, and artwork, and fashion, and everything that the gay community excelled at to hit home to the wider community that we matter. That we all contribute to this world and that if we lose this community, we lose a lot more than just a few undesirable people. We lose our humanity.
But we in the gay community in Atlantic City also saw a greater need. Our friends were so sick and they had nothing. The medicines at the time were experimental and expensive, and they were too sick to work to afford them. That's when we came up with our Miss'd America Pageant, a fundraising spoof to raise money for the South Jersey A.I.D.S. Alliance because they were our home-grown organisation and they helped our friends right here. The people we danced with. We ate with. Our roommates. Our friends.
We did other benefits, ceaseless benefits to raise money because there was no money to be had. The president, Ronald Reagan, wouldn't even say the word A.I.D.S. Imagine if he made a speech to rally the entire scientific community to find a cure at that time, imagine how many people would still be here.
It was so hard, the fights were so hard. GMHC in New York and other organisations popped up in every city, fighting to get funding, to get treatments, to release drugs, to get help, to raise awareness. There was nothing, because it was just druggies and gays dying and no one cared.
But over time, we began to get angels and heroes. Poor dear Ryan White became the poster child, literally, of how A.I.D.S. was NOT a gay disease but everyone's disease.
Finish with how we began to change perceptions, how things changed.
Friends from youth. A whole generation missing. Friends from now.
Talk about getting tested at the Oasis.
Talk about Jimmy Hyde.
But remind them that the crisis is not over, you buried Shante Jefferson a few months ago, and that she died of A.I.D.S.

20 September 2014

Ventnor, At Night

Summer crept back into the night air, the heavy clouds rolled by overhead making the dusk a little darker, the shadows a little deeper. You can feel the humidity rising, coming in along the light breeze. I took our dog Ricky out for his evening walk, keeping along our usual route and allowed him to take his time, getting a good sniff here and there and leaving his mark for the next dog to investigate as it walked by. Along Jackson Ave. the island is pinched, there are only a few blocks between the ocean and the bay and I could see from the ocean side that the sunset looked interesting as it set over the bay and I tried to hurry Ricky up so I could catch a glimpse of it but he had his own agenda and took his time with each pole and bush. We wandered by the little convenience store at the corner, looking for the two Asian women who are usually sitting on the steps but they weren't sitting out tonight and we hurried along. After a few more very important stops for Ricky, we made our way along the bulkhead that protects this area of Ventnor and there in the distance the clouds were lined up, spectacularly catching the deep blues and purples of the final dusk, the sun had already set behind the horizon. I snapped a few quick shots with my mobile phone camera, making sure to get the rippled water in the shot as it reflected the last of the light in the sky. Satisfied, I continued to walk and noticed Ricky giving me an impatient look as if his sniffing were far more important than a stupid sunset. You can't smell a sunset, you can't eat a sunset, you can't hump a sunset, so why bother? I imagined him thinking.
Up ahead down the street that runs along the bay, I could see the lights of a cop car and, in another try to hurry Ricky up, I made my way down to see what was going on, dragging him along when he got too involved in deciphering whatever it is dogs learn from the various smells they come across. The police car was blocking access to the cross street, where a fire truck was parked at the other end of the block, it's lights also lighting up the night in red and blue and white. Ricky and I made our way up the street, jumping over the running water in the gutter, water that I guessed came from the fire truck. As we got closer, Ricky continued to sniff the trees and bricks, oblivious to what was going on, and I sniffed the air, to see if it smelled of fire but I didn't smell a thing. A man was on his mobile phone standing beside his van, talking to someone furiously as the firemen stood in front of a house, dark and intact. Children were all over the street playing and running between the parked cars but evidently I missed any excitement beyond the flashing lights. We made our way to Ventnor Ave. to circle back and regain our usual route and picked up where we left off, being followed by older kids who I could hear gossiping about what happened at school.
We made it to the little park that faces the bay and looks over to the ball parks in Ventnor Heights, where, although it's posted NO DOGS on every post, bulkhead, tree, and lamp in the line of sight, no one seems to see the signs judging by the piles and piles of dog droppings lying in the grass all around. I let Ricky get a good sniff of whatever he needed to smell and we made our way from this tightly packed neighbourhood, where the houses are all jumbled together, built all in a row, each the same but changed over the years and wandered into another part along the back bay where the houses get bigger and are much older, each with a bit of lawn or garden.
I hear a crowd, and glasses tinkling, music playing but not too loudly, and we continue our walk when I come across a house party, a very genteel house party. On the side lawn was a beautiful dining table set for twelve, with a few well dressed people at some of the chairs deep in conversation and finishing up the wine they had had with the dinner that was obviously finished. The candles were still burning, glasses sparkled in the light and on the porch you could hear the rest of the dinner party, drinking and laughing, enjoying this beautiful late summer evening. Ricky paid them no mind but I strained to hear a bit of the conversations, to no avail, as we walked further and further away, the quiet sounds of the city silenced them to a whisper.
Onward we walked, up to Ventnor Avenue again, and made our way, passing an elderly couple here, a group of people waiting for some ice cream at Carisbrook Ice, and dodged the cars coming in and out of the Wawa parking lot in a hurry to get wherever they were going. As we neared the street where the fire had occurred, a group of teens came careening around the corner on all manner of skateboards, some running along side, in shorts, boys, long hair, no shirts, girls, sneakers, bare feet, a cacophony of laughing and the grinding of wheels on the pavement and they jumped off the sidewalk and made their way around the fire truck that was sitting across the street. The lights flickered across them, creating shadows and bright, and they continued on to where they were going, hurriedly.
Ricky and I turned, we were at our street, and walked in the near darkness, the trees hanging over our heads and blocking the light from the street lamps. Once down the street the silence again overtook us and we were alone.
Inside, Ricky ran to gulp down some water and met me back on the couch and we sat and watched some television. 

15 January 2014

A Resume

To the Board of the S.J.A.A.:

When A.I.D.S. hit Atlantic City and began to devastate our gay community, I began a personal campaign to help combat the disease and raise funds for our local organization to help those friends and neighbours of mine in dire need.
As Miss'd America 1995, I developed a personal relationship with the S.J.A.A. and was honoured over that year of my reign to serve as the spokesperson for the organization. In the years before and since, I took part in many fundraisers for the them, including Drags-R-Us, the Red Ribbon Bingos, and many other events.
I have also done outreach at the Studio Six whenever we had special events, I have entertained support groups at the Church of the Ascension, and have promoted the S.J.A.A. and the Oasis for decades in my online blogs, the social media sites, and through all my years working at the nightclub.  

My work ethic has always followed the old adage; a job is not worth doing if it's not worth doing well. That ethic has always helped my in my various careers in the casinos and nightclubs that I've worked at. Nearly every job I have held has been in a supervisory position. From my very first job at Trump's Castle, where I was promoted to supervisor the evening before we opened (at the ripe old age of 18), to opening the Showboat, Tropicana's first expansion, and the Taj Mahal, where I was brought on to help refine and 'straighten out' the coin department which was in serious disarray at the time. I have great organizational skills and I'm very good at logistics and my years on the stage and behind the bar have honed my interpersonal skills to fine point. My show, Mortimer's Cafe, was the longest running show in Atlantic City and showcased new talent and cultivated diversity, many of the performers have gone on to their own successful careers. I am intimately connected with the city on many levels through the various jobs I've held, and have maintained friendships to this day with the people I worked with over the years.
At the nightclub, I started there as a promoter (at the ripe old age of 16) and over the decades, I was the featured performer, barback, bartender, and eventually the assistant manager. During that time, the club expanded and grew and that came with a whole new set of learning experiences that I can bring to the board of the S.J.A.A., namely, a penchant to work well under pressure and in a rapidly changing environment. 

I have been to many social functions for the city, attending fundraisers and events and met many of the city's movers and shakers (surprisingly not all of them have been indicted) and have a working knowledge of our local city government and it's political climate.
I'm also well known for my various letters to The Press of Atlantic City, even being featured as a guest columnist with an article I wrote about bullying. My passion is evident in my letters, and my love of the city is also well documented. I have also been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer on occasion, and have a friendly relationship with a few reporters there.
I am currently serving as a Foundation Board Member for the New Jersey chapter of Phi Kappa Delta, helping them to promote and raise money for scholarships for Richard Stockton College students and, through them, I have been learning the ropes concerning the processes used in foundation boards.
In closing, I was deeply honoured to be approached as a possible addition to the board of the S.J.A.A. and I hope that through this resume, you will find that I might have something to contribute to the board and would make a welcome addition.

Thank you for your consideration,

14 January 2014

Open Letter to Caesars Entertainment

I read my discharge paper with sadness and regret since I wasn't given a proper chance to defend myself, as I was promised, and the fact that I was losing a job I enjoyed and you were losing an excellent employee.
I freely admit that I violated the company's policy concerning internet postings, and, in hindsight, I realise it was a mistake to post the photo but I did so innocently and without malice.
As I explained in the piece of paper given to me to write a brief statement, I had posted a photo earlier that day of the beautiful sunrise that I get to see from my workstation and, when I saw the young gentleman walking around with his pants hanging, I thought it funny that I also got to see the 'moon' as the popular expression goes. Since I have been using the internet and social media for many years, going back to the early days of dial-up, I am well aware of the dangers of workplace postings. In my defence, although the person in the photo I posted somehow found the picture and recognised himself, the actual photo does not show his face, nor does it identify him by name, nor does is there any identifying features about his clothing to give anyone the inkling that it is someone specific. It was a grainy photo from across the room of an anonymous person walking around in public with his pants hanging down.
My intent was of the incongruous juxtaposition of images (sun/moon), and I had no desire, want. or need to embarrass or humiliate one of our patrons.
On that point, I want to also remind you that I have always followed all the Total Service training that I received in orientation and through the many refresher courses that I was given since my employment began in March of 2013. Many of the guests that came to Bally's Spa remarked about my professionalism, my work ethic, and my friendly personality. A few even wrote comment cards praising me for the job I did, and I was very humbled that they took the time to do so. The job required a personal touch and with my decades of experience in the service industry, I was more than capable of bringing my skills and experience to the job and give the guests a professional and personable time during their visits to the spa. With recent cutbacks, we stopped providing a daily newspaper for our members and massage guests so, in the spirit of delighting the guest, I made sure to bring in magazines that I receive at home so they had reading material. It was something extra that I felt would make the guests more comfortable. I always made sure we had supplies, took extra care to provide help and services beyond my job description, and always went out of my way to make our spa members and guests feel special.
I was also given a few notices from my coworkers and supervisors about my excellent job performance. I freely admit that before I began working there, I had been unemployed for quite a while (aside from a few acting jobs) and I was very grateful for the chance to work at the spa and went above and beyond to show that I was capable, appreciative, and eager to prove myself. I had never called out, nor was I ever late, and I covered any shift I was asked. Because I was happy to do it and happy to have a job.
And, although I have been discharged for posting photos because one person objected, I need to remind you that through the many photos I've posted of the spa and the attendant facilities, I generated business for Caesars Entertainment, business that would have never happened without my promoting. Yes, being a former bartender/club manager, I am used to posting about my job as a means of generating business. And to that point, I had friends from around the country come and stay at Bally's for several days, and used the spa and pool because I had posted photographs on my social media sites. No one seemed to even know all of this existed at Bally's and, through my extensive friends lists, I opened up a new market for the casino/hotel and Atlantic City.
In addition, I have been recently elected to the board of the South Jersey A.I.D.S. Alliance and the Greater Atlantic City LGBT Alliance, which produces many successful events throughout the city, including the Miss'd America Pageant, and I fully intended cross-promote with these organisations as a way of generating business for both parties, not the spa and pool specifically but Bally's and Caesars as a whole. With my termination, both my organisations and Caesars properties will miss out on many exciting opportunities over the coming season.
I write this because I don't think I was given the chance to properly defend myself, I don't feel I was able to express how much I enjoyed working for Caesars Entertainment/Bally's Spa, and I don't think that my one transgression should result in my termination. Believe me, should there be any way you reconsider and hire me back, I promise you that I will never post another thing about Bally's Spa or Caesars Entertainment again. Point of fact, I haven't posted a thing since I was suspended and was supposed to be interviewed about this situation for the investigation.
I urge you to reconsider. I think Caesars Entertainment and myself are a great fit and I would be able to continue being the excellent employee that I've proven myself to be during my tenure and your corporation will benefit from my skills and professional work ethic.

Mortimer Spreng