It was a Thursday morning in New York City, five days after the first thought of this documentary, and the idea that we could be heard kept buzzing in my brain. It was 8 :00 am on the East Coast, and only 5:00 am on the West. The time seemed to pass so slowly. I wanted to call my best friend in California and tell her about the idea.
Finally, I could no longer wait, I had to call. I picked up the phone and dialed. Pearl answered, she was up early and working in the garden as she always does. I began to tell her about this idea we had, but I was talking so fast it was hard to get it out, but slowly, the details of the past 5 days unfolded. Paddles, the ride home, my discussion with James, and our ideas for “American Courtesans”. When I was done I could only hear silence on the other end.
Pearl had worked her whole life in this industry as well. She had retired just three months prior and was now enjoying married life. But, most importantly, she was old school, meaning she knew the code and knew never to talk. I could hear the fear and worry in her voice, but in spite of that, I asked her to participate. I asked her to have a voice and speak out after years of silence. I would ask questions and all she had to do was answer. Pearl and I have been best friends for most of my life, and we have been in this together, you’ll understand how important that is when you see the film. She hesitated, but she was on board and now all I had to do was to find others.
Over the next month, numerous women stepped forward to be considered for the film. It was a slow start, but as each day progressed the number of women who wanted to support this project, to my surprise, grew exponentially and soon clients and other supporters came forward as well. Within a short time, we had ourselves a documentary....