Monthly Archives October 2023

Remembering “Golden Boy” Bobby Rydell

October 09, 2023

First Place – Entertainment – San Diego Press Club – 2022



Remembering “Golden Boy” Bobby Rydell

Bobby Rydell and me from Facebook

Nathalie Taylor



April 5, 2022 was one of the saddest days of my life. I received the news that my favorite singer, who I had met on more than one occasion, had passed from this world.  At that moment, I felt a wrenching in my soul. The singer had melted my heart with his endearing grin and caramel-coated voice for 60 years, beginning when I was eight. Bobby Rydell lit up stages and hearts for 72 of his 79 years. For all of the accolades that had been showered upon him, Rydell maintained a humble demeanor.

Bobby Rydell (Robert Louis Ridarelli) was born April 26, 1942, and died from complications of pneumonia on April 5, 2022.

Even in elementary school, I was enamored of Bobby Rydell – his voice and his eyes that sparkled when he smiled. I remember sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor listening to his records on my portable phonograph. I was 10 when “Forget Him” hit the top 10 chart as #4. It is still one of my favorite Rydell songs, along with “Toys,” and “Volare.”

I have been privileged to hear him in concert several times, and speak with him on three occasions. In 1985, a friend set up a private post-concert meeting with Rydell. I was nervous, and couldn’t possibly hide the fact that I was in awe of him, but my favorite singer set me at ease by asking me questions about my own life. He seemed genuinely interested. After that, it didn’t take long for us to start chatting like old friends.

In 1986, a friend encouraged me to bring one of my Bobby Rydell albums to a concert. My friend and I sat in the front row, and, after the concert, Rydell signed the album. So, what is one of the treasures in my fire evacuation box? The album signed, “Love Ya – Bobby Rydell.”

In 2008, through the kindness of his agent, I was able to interview Rydell after a concert. The singer was professional, but at ease.  He was gracious, and answered my questions in a thoughtful manner. He didn’t rush me. It was like interviewing an old friend. He told me that his favorite songs are “Forget Him” and “Volare.” The songs “Wildwood Days” and “Sway” also made the list. “Wildwood” was a favorite because of the fond memories he had of his grandmother’s boarding house near the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. He said liked “Sway” due to the rhythm. The interview left me with a warm feeling. After my article was published, Rydell liked it so much that he posted it on his website.

Rydell not only toured as a solo act, but he joined two other “teen idols” – Frankie Avalon and Fabian – touring as the “Golden Boys.” I first saw the group in the 80’s at Circle Star Theater in San Francisco, then at Pala Casino in 2014.

The Pala concert was the last time I saw Bobby Rydell perform. His voice was as smooth as ever.When he sang I could tell he thoroughly enjoyed the experience. During the Pala concert, he sang his repetoire of hits in the same rich, caramel tone that I remembered from previous concerts.

I had tears in my eyes a few times, especially when Rydell shared about how his life had been saved by an organ donor. He then challenged the audience to “Be an organ donor – it is the gift of life.”

When Rydell sang the haunting “Forget Him,” my eyes began to glisten as I recalled my school days playing the beloved song over and over.

Rydell gestured with outstretched arms when he sang his second gold record, “Volare,” “No wonder my happy heart sings, your love has given me wings…”  Then, he added something that left the audience spellbound…He sang, “People – your love has given it wings.” Before Rydell left the stage, he told the audience, “I thank all of you for the Gold records, and for the many years of support.”

Bobby Rydell possessed a gracious demeanor both on and off the stage. I am grateful that my life was enhanced by the music of this kind and gentle entertainer. Bobby Rydell has left us, but he is still my “Golden Boy.”

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Marvelous Madrid!

October 09, 2023
in Spain

First Place – Travel-International – San Diego Press Club


Marvelous Madrid!


Nathalie Taylor



“I have never been to a city where there is less reason to go to bed…”

- Ernest Hemingway


In his writings, Hemingway described Madrid as a vibrant city, so vibrant that he was driven to stay awake to enjoy every minute. When I traveled to this city so beloved by him, I too, was struck by Madrid’s vibrance.

When I stepped out of the hotel on my first day in Madrid, a sunny, buzzing street scene welcomed me. I was on my way to El Retiro Park via the Metro – Madrid’s subway. The Metro saved me from sheer exhaustion more than once during my week’s stay.

El Retiro Park is a thoughtfully contrived wonderland of trees, flowers, yew hedges and unique structures. Rose-scented air enveloped me as I approached the Rose Garden, a fragrant delight where thousands of roses encircled the fountain, stood tall in rows, and meandered up what seemed like an infinite path of trellises.

Nestled comfortably in my chair at the splendid outdoor cafe – Heladería El Ancla – I was a contented participant in the life of El Retiro Park. The congenial server brought me a manchego cheese sandwich on Spanish bread. The cheese, made from sheep’s milk, had a buttery, rich flavor. A glass of sangria was the perfect complement. It was my first taste of that marvelous drink created from red wine and orange juice with floating bits of oranges, lemons and lime.

I enjoyed my lunch while listening to the various bird songs and the happy chatter of other diners. The drink was refreshing, and the view of Retiro Lake was refreshing! This immense human-created lake was completed in the 1600s. I was so enthralled by the blue rowboats moving lazily on the lake that I honestly can’t remember how long I sat there.

Just beyond the lake is the Crystal Palace, a stunning edifice made mostly of glass. The light sifted through the hundreds of glass panes in spectacular manner. The structure, once a greenhouse, has morphed into a venue for art exhibits.

Velázquez Palace, also in the park, is an impressive building with Spanish tile columns and arches gracing the exterior.

I wandered the cobblestone streets of Old Madrid through canyons of mango and yellow-hued stucco buildings, some with intricate yellow and blue tile work. I paused to inhale the mingling of scents – enticing food aromas from restaurants, and an occasional whiff of flowers from planter boxes perched on high iron-lace balconies.

Madrid was a blur of restaurants and tapas bars, and several had been frequented by Hemingway. You can eat all day, and continue feasting well into the night. It’s a paradise for hungry insomniacs.

Tapas bars are lively eateries offering varied food delights. One was so crowded that I had to squeeze through a wall of people to get anywhere near the bar. There were plenty of seats, but each one was filled! So, I enjoyed my tapas and red wine while standing at the bar. However, it didn’t matter because the thinly sliced, savory jamón on Spanish bread, took my mind off it. Jamón, a rich, nut-flavored delicacy, is the meat of a pig that has been fed a diet of acorns.

Another surprising culinary experience happened when I took my first bite of a Tortilla Española, which translated means Spanish Tortilla. When I saw the item on the menu, I assumed I would be served something wrapped in a flour tortilla, but this was a fluffy round omelette made with egg, potato and onion. I looked for a tortilla but didn’t find one – at least not what this Californian would think of as a tortilla. At first, I thought it had been a mistake, but no, I was served the correct dish, and it was delightful.

I enjoyed a motorcoach day tour, which was an excellent way to get an overview of the city. The fountains in Madrid are enormous displays of water, and the view from my high coach seat was perfect. The 1782 Cibles Fountain is a striking art piece located in a traffic roundabout. The massive marble and stone statue depicts the goddess Cyble on a chariot pulled by two lions. The constant water rushing over the rounded sides of the two-tiered fountain is impressive. Providing the backdrop for the fountain is the magnificent castle-like Madrid City Hall. Inside, immense chandeliers hang from ceilings, creating a play of light on the ornate columns and walls. Other rooms had stunning stained glass ceilings that filled the entire room with light.

At the Museo Lázaro Galdiano I marveled at the varied collections, including stunning paintings by El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya. The building itself was a work of art with painted ceilings and elaborate staircases. A painting called El Salvador Adolescente (The Adolescent Savior) is attributed to Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, who worked in Leonardo da Vinci’s studio. However, for some time, the painting was actually attributed to da Vinci, and some experts still believe that it is a da Vinci work. I was drawn to this stunning painting, almost as if it were alive. The skin, though pale, had an indescribable vibrance to it. It almost glowed. Also, I felt that I could reach out and feel the soft pleats of his robe. The eyes conveyed a deep sense of sorrow.No matter who painted it, the work is truly a masterpiece.

The Royal Palace is an architectural wonder perched high on a hill overlooking Madrid with the Pyrenees in the distance. The palace is a treasure trove of ornate columns, gilded mirrors, exquisite chandeliers, and massive tapestries. The armories house impressive horse and cavalier armors, as well as boy-sized armors, and even armor for dogs!

The Prado Museum holds some of the world’s finest paintings, including works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya and Picasso. Goya’s paintings were fascinating. His early work featured families and royalty in happy times. However, his later paintings, after he lost his hearing, were dark and gloomy. It was an interesting transition.

Guernica is Pablo Picasso’s 1937 work depicting the horror of a bombing by the Nazis in the Spanish town of Guernica. The oil painting is wall- sized and commanding. Grey and black hues further the somber tone. I sat in front of the poignant work for quite some time.

On my last night in Madrid I attended a lengthy and spectacular stage show called Zarzuela, which featured a repertoire of dance and music ranging from opera to ballet to Flamenco. The Flamenco costumes were elaborate with several tiers of vibrant red ruffles. When the dancers twirled and clapped their castanets to the beat of the guitar music, it was a powerful and passionate display.

My time in Madrid was an explosion of color, scents and sights. Did I stay up all night like Hemingway suggested? No, but even if I had stayed awake, one week was just not enough time to fully appreciate marvelous Madrid.Madrid.NTphoto.5 Madrid.NTphoto.4

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