I don't remember the exact date but it must have been before or right after the thirtieth of April, an eerie and strange night; although I didn't know this at the time. Known as Walpurgisnacht it is a demonic and satanic night.
At the time this happened, I was a young woman. A model. I had finished doing a test for a commercial for Helena Rubinstein. The Madmen - Admen did not like me.
"Madame Rubinstein, her face is too unusual: high cheekbones, too fair, her nose is fine and perfect. We need a Hayley Mills nose. Her eyes change color from green to honey. We need blue eyes. Her hair is reddish blonde and wavy and the look is blonde hair, long and straight. She has a dimple and her mouth is pretty but not large enough."
A Pythoness of a woman, with penetrating eyes and an imperial demeanor, Madame Helena Rubinstein pierced me with her basilisk look. Then she piroutted towards the Huckster and said, "This particular cosmetic I am launching is not for high school or college girl. It is for American woman who wants to look different. Mr.Stern, don't be Meshuge. I have decided. Send everybody home. I use her. She is perfect. End of story."
I was thrilled. So thrilled that I walked out after making an appointment for the shoot the next day at the same studio in Echo Park. It was an important commercial and I stood to make a great deal of money from residuals. I walked and thought of nothing but this victory thanks to Madame Helena Rubinstein. Normally, the Admen/madmen chose the girls but this time the product was too important to leave in the hands of the Meshugeh. (Yiddish for Mad person)
I must have walked for miles, many empty taxis had passed me by but I scarcely noticed. I was floating on air.
And then reality hit me. I was in a rather dangerous part of town. The streets looked deserted. Not a soul was walking except me. I felt a cold alarm over me. Now that I was desperately looking for a taxi, nothing passed my way.
And then I saw a magnificent Romanesque building a few blocks away. It was diagonally across from me and towered over all the other buildings. This was Los Angeles after all. Not NewYork with its canyons of steel.
I was almost running over to it. Safety. Deliverance. They would call a taxi for me.
As I got closer singing voices floated towards me. Ah! how beautiful. I reached out, opened the massive door and entered - thinking at the least they would have a phone and it wouldn't be so bad to wait inside for the taxi. And then the Music enveloped me.
I entered a cavernous foyer. No one was there - but the singing beckoned, so opened more doors until I came to a huge auditorium, perhaps thousands of people could easily fit in there comfortably.
A woman in white draped in such a way that when she lifted her arms they looked like Angel's wings led the singing and seemed to be directing the chorus. I sat down.
It must be a rehearsal because I am the only one in the Auditorium or perhaps they must be filming it but how strange, I can't see any cameramen, I thought to myself. I dared not make a sound nor move. It was a sublime moment musically and spiritually speaking. Time stopped and I reveled in my transport.
My good sense urged me to go home and and have at least 9 hours of sleep before I came back for my modeling shoot. Sadly and reluctantly I left them, walking slowly backwards.
In the vast foyer I looked for a secretary or a receptionist . No one was there. I counted about ten telephones neatly lined up like a row of black ducklings. I lifted one to my ear - no dial tone. None of them worked. Abruptly the celestial singing had stopped. I turned my eyes toward the stage. It was empty!
"Leave right now. Go. Don't look back," voices seemed to tell me.
I took off my high heeled shoes and ran. The massive door was difficult to maneuver because I was now in a panic without knowing exactly why. I stopped, made the sign of the Cross, begun reciting the Pater Noster - Our Father, out loud and tried the handle of the door once more, still praying.
It seemed to just open by itself. I jumped out and began a dash that would have impressed Jesse Owens. I was barefoot in the dirty pavements of a questionable neighborhood in Los Angeles. And then two angels showed up. A police patrol car. I never thought of cops as Angels but I surely did that night. Only then did I stop to put on my Gucci shoes. They slowly made their way towards me and shut off the ignition.
"Oh I'm so glad to see you, I 'm looking for a taxi and couldn't find one. So I thought I'd go over to that Roma style building and ask someone there to call for a taxi, but no one was there except a beautiful woman in white and a chorus on stage. I can't say what happened. They just left. So I got scared and ran out."
The more mature patrolman,who must have been all of thirty told me in a calm reassuring tone of voice," Miss, that is known as the Angelus Temple. Aimee Semple Macpherson built it and sang religious songs with a hundred people in the chorus.'
"I actually thought they might have been filming a movie. Eveything was so perfect."
"Theres no one there Miss. It's been empty for quite a while. Sister Aimee Semple Mcpherson died in 1944."