The comedienne known to all the World as Joan Rivers was known to me as Mrs. Rosenberg. She was a party client of mine for a number of years. She hired me to entertain as a psychic reader at her sumptuous home and at her business office for events celebrating the holiday season. I also once read palms at an event she created just for her women friends at an upscale hotel on the East Side of Manhattan. It was a Spring Hat Party. There were around forty women present (if memory serves me correctly), all celebrities or socialites who were asked to wear a stylish hat of their choice. I also wore a hat, a Middle Eastern pillbox affair. The favors given at the end of the event were specially decorated chocolate hats in mini hat boxes. Mrs. Rosenberg gave me one to take home with me.
On Tuesday night September 2, 2014, lying in my bed, I was engaged in meditation which is my regular habit. Although I had been informed by the TV newscasts several days prior that there had been a medical emergency involving Joan Rivers (I always wished her well), I was not at the time thinking of her whatsoever. She appeared in front of me suddenly in my blank meditation space declaring definitively that she did not want her body to be maintained on life support. She did not want to be kept alive by machines. She also gave me the message that I should keep moving (remain active as possible – more about that later). I was perplexed by her visit to me. Many will relegate my experience to that of an overactive imagination, but she seemed very real to me and, as I stated, I had not been thinking of her before my meditation. I did not know what to do with the information I was given. I had met her daughter Melissa several times and read for her at the parties more than once, but I did not think it was appropriate to try to reach her and tell her about my experience. I also thought of trying to reach the couple who were her housekeepers and were very friendly to me when I worked there, but I did not.
It was that couple who always greeted me, instructed me, and helped me set up for the December 25th parties at the gorgeous triplex off Fifth Avenue that Mrs. Rosenberg called home in New York. They informed me the first time I was there that Joan Rivers preferred to be called Mrs. Rosenberg and that I should always address her by that name. I always did. Every December 25th that I read tarot cards there from mid-afternoon into the evening hours, the routine was nearly identical. I would arrive around an hour before the party started. I’d set up my reading space with a brocade cloth to display the tarot cards, two decks of cards, my blue crystal ball and a magnifying glass for palm reading, in a traditionally well furnished library/study which looked onto the street with large windows directly behind me. Then I would proceed to the upper floor private office to get dressed in a festive costume of velvet and sequins that I wore to upscale parties when requested. The office was a simple affair, lined with file drawers for file cards and an electric treadmill. It was that treadmill I was shown when she exhorted me to remain active during my recent meditation. The file drawers had subject labels in alphabetical order. I was told that this was her joke library. Although I dressed, took breaks, even napped on the floor of this room during the dinner service and though I was mightily tempted, I never peeked into the card files, but I did see the outside labels (I’d have to be blind not to) and I was very impressed with the comprehensive nature of this collection of subjects. I always knew intellectually that comedy was hard work and that office really brought home the concept as a stark reality.
After dressing I would proceed downstairs through the formal dining room which was the height of two floors (around 20+ feet high) resplendent with the largest Christmas tree I’d ever seen in a private NYC home, beautifully decorated. There were a number of tables all set with centerpieces and full table settings and caterers and servers bustling about. Mrs. Rosenberg always greeted me and we discussed the timing of the party. The first time I met her I was surprised that she was a small woman. In her television appearances, I’d expected her to be taller than myself.
Doing party readings I strive to be honest but not brutally so. I never talk of a looming death or disease at a celebration. At Mrs. Rosenberg’s parties, as at other events where celebrities are present, my major fear is that of not recognizing someone who expects to be recognized. I do not generally follow celebrities, though I appreciate what hard work it is to stay in the public eye and I have great respect for those that have remained so while keeping it classy. I once read for Lee Iacocca at a swank party filled with money men at the old Russian Tea Room. After the reading, his response to me was that I had obviously read about him in the tabloids; I had not. I do not read the tabloids and did not know he was going to be at the event beforehand. When a celebrated author of my acquaintance offered to introduce me to any celebrity she knew, she never heard of the handful of names I spouted in response . Today that list would include Jacques Vallee and Dean Radin.
I have the highest regard for Mrs. Rosenberg and my dealings with her. At the end of every event I worked at her home she always personally gave me an envelope with a check, asked about my family and sent me home with some tasty food. She never cracked a joke in my presence nor sat down for a reading for herself. She will forever remain a symbol of the chic glamour of the New York I grew up in, which is fast disappearing.
Fahrusha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org