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Miyami–San: (A Love Story)
Miyami–San: (A Love Story)
Miyami–San: (A Love Story)
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Miyami–San: (A Love Story)

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MANILA, THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS 1930
When the innocent and extraordinarily beautiful Mila Alvarez takes the stage at the Olympic Stadium one fateful night as the newly-named MIAMI, she has no idea of the journey that lies before her. She transforms from a young, sheltered school girl into an intuitively inventive and bold new star and soon finds fame and adoration throughout Southeast Asia and beyond.
Along the way comes handsome Lt. John Holbrook who wreaks havoc on her young life as World War 2 looms ever closer.
When she crosses paths with Japanese industrialist Koda Sato her life changes its trajectory.
MIYAMI-SAN is a story of love in all forms and how life is not about the storm – but learning how to dance in the rain.
LanguageEnglish
PublisherAuthorHouse
Release dateNov 19, 2021
ISBN9781665538268
Miyami–San: (A Love Story)
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Author

Neile Adams McQueen

Neile Adams made her mark as one of Broadway’s foremost jazz dancers as selected by Jack Cole for “KISMET” and Bob Fosse for “PAJAMA GAME”. She starred opposite great actor Paul Muni in the musical “At The Grand” based on the film “Grand Hotel”. She has guest starred in over 20 TV shows such as the Bob Hope X’mas Show (twice), the Pat Boone Show, the Eddie Fisher Show, the Perry Como Show, and dramatic shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents (3x), Fantasy Island, The Bionic Woman, Man from Uncle, Rockford Files., etc. Her film roles include “This Could Be the Night”, “Fuzz”, “Chu Chu and The Philly Flash” and others. Her cabaret shows have won accolades on both coasts and Europe. She performed at the Royal Gala in the London Palladium. She was married to Steve McQueen for 15 ½ years, which produced two children and four grandchildren.

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    Miyami–San - Neile Adams McQueen

    Prologue

    Observing my granddaughter’s reaction to the world around her never fails to reach me and touch my very soul in a way that no other human being has. Not even my own daughter, this child’s mother, affected me in the same way her daughter does. Possibly because it’s another time and another place and I am, sad to say, in the late autumn of my years. Aware, quite suddenly, that my time is coming sooner rather than later. Afraid that I won’t always be there to see her through all the phases of her life and hoping against hopeless hope that I will.

    Some days when I walk with my 19-month old granddaughter holding my hand I am envious as I see her busily absorb all the big and little mystifying marvels the world provides us on a daily basis. She delights in the little black ant weaving drunkenly on the pavement as he carries his share of the day’s loot to his colony; she makes a funny face at the yellow and black bee seemingly asleep on a red hibiscus; her little pink lips form an o and she points skyward at the sound of a small airplane flying overhead; she laughs out loud as she spies a little hummingbird nervously and furiously twittering before it flies off on its merry way. She delights in running down the grassy slopes in Palm Desert while she holds my hand, fierce winds furiously whipping our faces.

    We have a good time, Madison and me. It is when I leave her that my life always seems to unfold before me. I become acutely conscious of time.

    Well, it has been a long winding road I have travelled. A lonely one at best during the early childhood years. Motherhood not being my mother’s métier, I was left to fend for myself emotionally. Whatever questions I sought as I grew up were answered for me through my own experiences. I relied on my instincts and though I floundered a bit I survived rather well. Much to my surprise.

    Miyami Sato

    Chapter 1

    MANILA, 1930

    MIAMI, nee’ Maria Milagros Alvarez, stood there in the center of the stage feeling neither nervous nor apprehensive. Up over the last rows of the open-air stadium she was vaguely aware of the multi-colored skies as the sun prepared to take a dive into the blue Pacific waters of these Philippine Islands. The moon high above was already spreading a faint wash of moonlight onto the entire stadium. Her gaze more acutely took in the vastness of the place and the sea of humanity before her and more specifically, the number of Americans soldiers and American sailors sitting there, anxiously waiting to see how this next person would entertain them. She had heard they would be there. The soldiers and the airmen from Clark Field, about fifty miles north of Manila, and Nichols Field, just outside the city, and the sailors from nearby Langley Point Naval Base. She had no idea whether they would accept her, but this much she knew. She liked it up here. She really liked it.

    Out of the corner of her eye, at the top of aisle right, MIAMI could see Tony, her adored older brother, leaning against the wall of the entry arch expectantly awaiting the results. Together MIAMI and Tony Alvarez, brother and sister, had conspired to bring about tonight’s event to a successful conclusion. She smiled to herself. Their mother would not have allowed her daughter to make a spectacle of herself and if discovered, Tony would most certainly be thrown out of the house on his ear and MIAMI would have to absolve her sins in the company of the dreaded nuns at the Holy Ghost Academy.

    Fermina Alvarez was a widow predisposed to protecting her family’s honor and though tiny, was possessed of a fierce temper which was easily aroused. Most especially after her husband died of a hernia operation rather suddenly and had left her with their two children to raise singlehandedly in this strange country.

    It was eighteen years ago that Milagros Shultz Alvarez was born to El Teniente Jose Antonio Alvarez and Sra. Fermina Schultz on a freighter carrying them from Barcelona, Spain, to Manila, the Philippine Islands. A beautiful child with fair skin and light auburn hair and green eyes faintly flecked with gold it seemed. They named her Milagros for she was indeed a miracle to them. Maria Milagros Alvarez.

    Along with them was their eight-year old son named Antonio, who also had his mother’s green eyes and his father’s flaming red hair along with a pink, complexion and stocky build. Eventually, as a grown man, the native population would nickname him Pula which means red in Tagalog, the Philippine national language. In the early 1900’s, in the aftermath of the bloody Spanish-American War that had been fought in Manila Bay, the naval lieutenant’s return to Spain and subsequent reunion with his wife had immediately produced this bouncing baby boy.

    He had told his wife of his love for the far-away islands and its people. Much like Cuba where they had met and married, he had said. Both had been on that little island with their families on a long family holiday. He was intent on returning to the Philippines and live there someday with his own family. After his retirement from the Spanish navy El Teniente found himself managing small businesses that paid little and yet occasionally his determination allowed him to save something for the family’s eventual passage to this exotic land he could not forget.

    Jose Alvarez was aware the Americans had begun to take a foothold over there but he felt certain the competition would be almost nil. With his education and military record, job offers were sure to come his way. Plus, almost the entire city of Manila, after three hundred years of Spanish domination, spoke fluent Spanish. And that would bode well for him he was certain. He was right. Before long he became the company manager for the San Miguel Brewery distributing beer throughout the entire islands. However, a tragic event took his life and left the family devastated. A hernia operation, as yet not perfected by the medical profession, had left him dead on the operating table in a rather primitive hospital in Manila, leaving the family bereft of a healthy, steady income.

    Tony, who had already been in college learning about management in the hopes of following in his father’s footsteps, immediately quit school and began contributing to the family’s expenses by working for anyone who could use his services. He was not as bright as his father. He was, however, brawny and kind and fun loving, which would serve him well throughout his life. He started by joining a company that built native nipa houses. He dug ditches, he moved furniture, he ran errands, and helped in any way he could to make life as pleasant as possible for his beloved mother and sister. His concern for them was of paramount importance just as it had been for his father. Whatever he earned he immediately turned over to his mother to help buy the medicine she needed and to support the bare necessities of their lives. Senora Fermina had always suffered with weakness in the lungs. However, the sudden turn of events had forced her, even in a fragile state with tuberculosis, to take in sewing to have as pleasant a life as they could have with their combined meager earnings.

    For the eighteen-year old Mila, at this very moment, the whole incredible sequence of events had begun last Wednesday. Only three days ago. What a day it had been! One minute she was on the little gymnasium stage of the Holy Ghost Academy doing a little dance in honor of her graduating class and the next minute it seemed, after her little show, there was Tony negotiating with the great impresario Lawrence Moran for her appearance at Olympic Stadium Saturday night. TONIGHT!!!

    My name is Larry Moran, although I am generally referred to as Lorenzo Moran, he said with a smile while extending his hand as he introduced himself, and I produce the shows at the Olympic Stadium the stranger had said to Tony. Mila had looked at the man who had the manner of a king, she thought. Kingly, kindly and benevolent. Mila was enchanted yet thunderstruck at the same time. Moran had seen the bewildered look on the beautiful face and had decided to press on. Ah, every week, senorita! Quietly and patiently he explained to both of them, Boxing on Wednesday nights and ‘bodabil’ on Saturday nights. Vaudeville as it’s called in the States but bodabil over here!!!!

    No answer from either one.

    You --- ah, obviously have not heard of my shows. What I have in mind for your sister fits the Saturday night bill. Not the Wednesday night. Boxing, you know---he had smiled at his failed attempt to make a joke.

    Tony, on the spot, thinking practically, made the decision for his sister. For them! Mila could do the show and get paid whatever the going rate was for performers and he, Tony, could get paid for keeping watch on her who was not of age. Staying by her side throughout the entire evening would be a necessity! That’s all there was to it!

    And they would have some needed extra money! For them! And especially for Mama!

    There was no doubt a lie would have to be perpetrated for their absence from home that evening. Mama would never in a million years allow her daughter to appear on a professional stage as an exhibition of sorts! Yet Tony was of the opinion--certain actually, coming home would not be a problem. Mama went to bed early.

    Tony Alvarez had said to his sister, Yes, of course, I’ll help you although I don’t know where to begin but don’t worry, we’ll figure out a way!

    And indeed, he had!

    Chapter 2

    The newly-named MIAMI was naive and innocent as only the Holy Ghost nuns could turn them out and until this night had only danced in school functions. Now in the rainbow glow of the early evening hour with a mild tropical breeze gently blowing her hair, MIAMI stood there in a vibrant red dress awaiting her music cue. She heard someone whisper from behind, Remember, they’re here to have a good time, honey, so don’t be nervous! You’re beautiful! They will love you! She smiled. And although she wanted to turn and hug the person giving her words of encouragement, MIAMI knew better and just whispered Gracias with an ever so slight turn of the head.

    The music began its introductory chords. The lights came up slowly to reveal a girl so obviously in her element. She stood there looking at her audience with a knowing smile as the lilting strains of a waltz filled the air. The response was immediate. Not a sound could be heard in the stadium and the place became charged with electricity. Years later, Lorenzo Moran the producer would chuckle when he recalled the night.

    The music was so ridiculously genteel that they had been temporarily stunned into silence! he joked. A waltz, for goodness sake!

    But with twinkling eyes Lorenzo Moran would grudgingly concede that this particular audience had indeed been hypnotized by the girl in the red costume. (said red costume having been plucked from one of the girls in his current show)

    And always he would end by saying that the absolute quiet and the intense attention focused on that stage that night had been undeniably a work of magic.

    MIAMI started swaying almost imperceptibly.

    In that moment the history of her life changes its course and five men’s lives change directions.

    Sensuously she brought her long graceful arms up while bending her supple back gently, and slowly her movements became more exaggerated but never out of control. She confidently twirled working both her fan and shawl gracefully in time with the music. Down, up, up. Turn – 2- 3. Reach – 2- 3------------and every energetic motion drew the satin bodice of her new costume taut against her long, slender body emphasizing the fullness of her breasts. Each time she reversed positions she heard the swooshing of the three layers of tulle against the bottom layer of satin which comprise the lower half of her dress, the brilliant red color helped underscore the spectacular being of the girl.

    And then as rehearsed, her dancing partner appeared behind her at the exact moment she waltzed towards stage right. She thrust her head and arms in a big arc to the other direction and came face to face with him and let her body drop into his arms. MIAMI smiled at him seductively as he brought her close to him lips almost touching. Together they danced as one, his arm against her bare back his head against her head, covering the entire length of the stage. The electric current emanating front the mostly male audience was palpable. One could easily see every sailor and every soldier in that stadium fantasizing about the way it would be if only he could be alone with her.

    And then MIAMI was left alone on stage for the finish.

    Quite surprisingly the band changed tempo without warning! Contrary to what they had rehearsed. MIAMI thought the band had gone mad! What am I going to do? Stop for a second, that’s what. And smile. And bide my time as if I know what I’m doing. Come on!! Smile some more! It’ll be over soon!

    She took a deep breath and handled the dilemma that she faced unexpectedly and surprisingly in an unprecedented professional manner!

    What MIAMI didn’t know was Lorenzo Moran had wanted to find out what his new discovery might do in a circumstance such as this.

    What the audience saw next was something they had never seen before. Certainly not here. Not on this stage.!

    MIAMI suddenly threw her head back causing her hair to fly in different directions and giving her the look of a wild animal. Slowly she unraveled the shawl that was wrapped around her shoulder and impulsively threw it to the soldiers in the front row. There was a mad scramble for the prize and MIAMI couldn’t believe the reaction! But it pleased her. She smiled some more. Golden-green eyes brightly shining.

    MIAMI then became aware of the urgency of the drumming throughout the stadium. Her body automatically responded to the drummer’s energy. Slowly and demurely but at the same time exuding a scent that the men in the audience couldn’t help but pick up, she walked towards the edge of the stage.

    Step, hip. Step, hip. Step, hip. In – time –with- the music. Now - openthefan and work - it - across yourbodyandpeek - overthetop. FACE - upstage. Stop.

    Lift the fan overyourhead. Now - bring - it -. down. Put - it behindyou. Now slowly. Look - to - the left. Smi—ile. And again slowly. Look -- to -- the – right. Now smile again……..

    And on it went till finally MIAMI stood in the center of the stage swaying. As she gazed at the whole stadium, catching her breath, she felt no doubt of their unerring acceptance. MIAMI was having a perfectly fabulous time. And then she instinctively felt the music coming to its final vamp and she swept the fan across her body and up to the side and down. Then she curtsied and threw her head down for a big bow. As the enthusiastic applause continued, MIAMI then began twirling and bowing at one end of the stage then the other! The audience finally jumped up simultaneously, wildly clapping and whistling and stomping!!!

    Out of the corner of her eyes, at the top of aisle right, MIAMI could see Tony, her adored older brother, as she excitedly took her bows as she twirled from one end of the stage to the other all the while blowing kisses to her adoring audience.

    Then she twirled and exited the stage almost flying down the stairs to meet the excited crew who had watched this phenomenon unfold. She knew it wouldn’t take long for her brother to get there.

    As she ran through the narrow hallway with people parting ways to give her room to run, MIAMI came upon an unexpected visitor.

    A visitor obviously intent on harming her. His face was twisted with anger as he held a knife obviously meant for her, while at this very moment, Tony Alvarez who couldn’t wait to give his sister a big hug, was letting out a big hoop and a holler and running fast as he could towards the stage area anxious to beat his sister to her dressing room. He happily exulted to himself, Everything about her on that stage is perfect!!! How could she be so young and inexperienced and know all that stuff! he marveled.

    Tony reached the stage door in time to see a sizable crowd pushing and shoving at each other in their effort, it seemed to him, to get through the doorway. He heard somebody yell inside. Stop him! Stop him! Tony became momentarily transfixed unsure of what was going on. As soon as he gathered his senses, anxiety hit him. He hoped with all his heart that whatever was going on in the hallway MIAMI was out of harm’s way. And then he heard more voices. With more urgency this time.

    He has a knife!

    Quick! Somebody get the police!

    Hold him! Don’t let him get near her!

    Tony took a deep breath and flung his body wildly as far as it would go and found himself confronting a vaguely familiar figure he couldn’t place at this particular instance. It was definitely however an enraged young man being restrained by several people. They were hanging on to the man’s left arm in their desperate effort to restrain him, while his right arm kept wildly swiping the air trying to get at the terrified girl in the red dress who was flattened against the wall. His sister! Mila!

    Tony suddenly recognized their neighbor. THE neighbor, who for reasons unknown, was in an agitated stage. Without hesitating he lifted one of the several stools placed against the wall for visitors to the backstage area and brought it crashing down on the man’s head. It was over in a second!

    Nobody moved for a while. Tony felt tremendous relief and exhaustion. He bent down quietly and retrieved the knife near the unconscious man. He went to his sister who hadn’t moved a muscle and put his arms around her.

    It’s over, mi hermanita. It’s over, he said gently, while Mila kept nodding her head and held on to him.

    Who is he? the police inquired when they arrived.

    Tony, suddenly a loss for words found it difficult to answer. When they directed their gaze towards Mila, she took over.

    His name is Shen Chiang and he lives across the street from us.

    Chapter 3

    At best, a very fine line divides obsession from insanity, temporary though the latter may be.

    The show had already begun by the time Shen Chiang got to the stadium. He had not meant to be late but the lure of the huge placard featuring MIAMI had been hard to ignore. Lorenzo Moran had billed her as the mystery star. Shen had felt compelled to study it from every angle until he had been satisfied he was familiar with each minute detail of that face. Only then could he tear himself away from the giant likeness of the girl who looked down at him with those crazy amber-green eyes. Eyes whose irises were ringed with brown and flecked with gold which sometimes gave her another-worldly look------depending on the way the light hit her. They’re huge and slanted but not like mine are slanted, he thought. I’ve never seen deer in real life. I bet that’s what she looks like. A beautiful female deer. Mine are……mine are……Just the thought made him stumble and stammer. The truth was he loathed the way he looked. He hated the flat nose he had inherited from his father’s ancestry. He detested his eyes. They were black as raisins

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