Great memories of old friends

When I first moved to New York City in the 1980s, I was walking down Broadway one day and bumped into Cindy Dutton on the corner of 57th Street and Eighth Avenue.

I had just finished touring with ARTReach, an outreach program of the American Repertoire Theatre Company, and had decided to take a shot at acting in New York. Trouble was, I didn’t have a place to live when I got there.

As I struck up a conversation with Cindy, I found she also was an aspiring actress and living alone in a studio apartment. She very graciously offered to let me stay with her until I found my own place.

The reason this memory comes to mind is because it was just Cindy’s sister, Stacey Dutton’s birthday June 1. In wishing her happy birthday after all these years, the memories come flooding back of my early days in New York City. Stacey also was living in an apartment in New York City and was an aspiring actress and agent. I met Stacey through Cindy, and became friends with both these wonderful ladies.

Imagine taking someone off the street you had just met into your home. I was so grateful, and still am.

Cindy, Stacey and I all took jobs working in restaurants until our “big breaks” came along. For Stacey, that would be as a successful casting director, producer and actress, as well as an agent for Bon Jovi and other entertainment venues.

As I recall, Cindy got married without furthering an entertainment career. Stacey worked at Formerly Joe’s with me in New York City, and I believe Cindy was bartending at Amy’s Pub at that time.

When Stacey’s birthday reminder popped up on my Facebook page, I wished her the best and she immediately replied with thanks and her love. It’s good to be reminded after all these years that there are still some great people in the entertainment industry. I even got to see her host the reality show “Clean Sweep” a while back.

I see Cindy’s birthday is later this month as well; in fact, it’s the day before my mom’s. So here’s an early birthday greeting to Cindy and a big thank you for great memories.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website,