So, we finally arrive at the Hard Rock. It was a cramped, uncomfortable flight to Atlantic City on Spirit, but the Crown Royals kept our spirits up.
Now here we are at the glitzy casino palace where I’m to meet my daughter Robin for the first time. Jackpot!
The jitney stops alongside the first of the many giant guitars we would encounter during our stay.
We alight with our one bulky suitcase packed to the gills with clothes, copies of my books to autograph and hand out and the pièce de résistance, my patented Knife and Forklift®, a set of the weighted knife and fork I invented, patented and sold thousands of worldwide, which I promoted as “Exercise While You Eat.”
I brought them to give as a gift to the owners of the Knife and Fork Inn where Rita and I will be dining Saturday night with my son Andrew and his fiancée Jennifer on his birthday and with newly found daughter Robin, her husband Rick; her son John and her daughter Danyl, both buoyantly friendly, indefatigably fearless firefighters, not to mention charming.
We get in line to check in and when it’s our turn, give our names to the woman behind the registration desk who greets us, then enters our names into the computer. Then suddenly she smiles and asks us to follow her. She comes around the counter and says, “please follow me” and leads us to a fancy room with comfortable couches, coffee and edibles and a sign that says “VIP check-in.” Ah ha, Robin is the maestro here, just like her grandfather William Madden was years ago in AC where he played the violin and conducted his magical orchestra on the Garden Pier, now alas closed off from the boardwalk.
There we give our names and it appears my new daughter Robin, who had popped up from an ancestry test showing I was her biological father from a relationship I had with a high school sweetheart, got us comped with the quid pro quo that we’d gamble. To monitor our action, they gave us “Rock Royalty Wild Cards” that looked like credit cards, to insert into the slot machines or give to the dealers of blackjack and other games to measure how much and how long we gambled. Cool!
When we got to our room on the 22nd floor, it turns out Robin had arranged not just room for us, but a palatial, beautiful suite with direct ocean views.
We find there a basket full of gifts from her, including a dinner reservation at the upscale property next door, the elegant Ocean Casino.
Rita and I were aghast at the lengths Robin had gone to make us comfortable and our stay a happy, memorable one. This biological father can’t wait to meet his daughter Saturday night under the large guitar in the ceiling over the escalator to the VIP room where we would have pre-dinner cocktails.
Saturday Night Live
No, not the comedy show at NBC where I was Vice President, Assistant to the President, then Fred Silverman, back in the 1980’s. This would be a memorable Saturday night aLIVE with my daughter Robin whom I’ll meet face to face for the first time.
The tension builds as we wait under the giant guitar. Robin texts Rita she’ll arrive in 15 minutes. We wait. I’m nervously pacing. And then at the top of the escalator we spot radiant Robin with her husband Rick and her pretty daughter Danyl.
We ride up the escalator and at the summit this biological father finally embraces his daughter and for the first time we are thankfully together while we’re still alive on this earth. It was a heartfelt hug we gave to each other and I could see in her sparkling eyes that this moment meant a lot . . . to us both.
In Robin I saw a sweet resemblance to the Madden clan. And I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the DNA test that ID’d me as her dad.
Welcome home, my daughter.
Your dad loves you.
Left to Right: Rita, me and Robin Varallo, my daughter