In fact I soon forgot what she looked like or what her last name was, and would certainly not recognize her if I were to run into her today. But Dieter had succeeded far beyond his expectations in throwing the party so I could make some friends in what would be my home for some time to come.

Thus began what I would term to be The Longest Cocktail Party. When it finally and abruptly ended two and a half years later, one afternoon when we sat in a beer garden with his visiting mother, feeling sorry for me, she exclaimed! Poor Haresh! He no longer has a job!

Mach dir keine sorgen Mutti. Haresh will soon land back on his feet!’ I couldn’t have said it better.

I am still touched by Dieter’s confidence and faith in me. I linger in Munich for five more months that ended with another big bash at my place. The movers once again packed me up – the remaining bottles of good German wines and all and took the container full of my personal belongings to the local storage until I finally figured out where I would end up living. I fill up my Buick with all that I would need until such a time and drive away to Paris and on to the French port of Cherbourg and drive up the ramp of the QE II. The Queen would bring me back to New York and to the United States.

As during my first departure, and my hiatus of three years in Santa Barbara, Dieter and I would stay in touch. True to his prediction, in not too far of a future I would land back on my feet. And before long, come back to Munich a couple of times a year to work with the Playboy people and of course meet up with Dieter and Kamal and his latest squeeze Irmi (Irmengard Rüttinger), whom he would eventually marry.

The evening I still remember very fondly is the time we went to the Oktoberfest, and how happy drunk we all were. I remember having dinner with him and Irmi at their home. Not too long after that, I got a letter from Irmi that my friend Dieter, after having struggled with the abdominal cancer, chemotherapy and surgery, had passed away on September 21, 1984 – at the age of 40. It all happened quick within two short months.

© Haresh Shah 2014

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

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Next Friday, May 30, 2014

THE 75th PLAYBOY STORY

SAILING THE QUEEN

Once the initial shock and the feeling of insecurity wore off, it dawned on me, why was I in such a hurry to return to the States and begin looking for a job without giving myself a little break and regroup before I found something worth while to commit to? Why not first enjoy all that the beautiful city of Munich had to offer and then instead of rushing back on a nine hour flight, why not take my time and sail across the Atlantic?

 

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