“The Company She Keeps,” written by Georgia Durante, isn’t a book to be borrowed at the library. It’s a book to be purchased so you can have it at your disposal to read over and over again.
Georgia’s tell-all book is sensationally rich and takes you on a thrilling and dramatic journey riddled with Georgia’s having survived a violent rape, becoming a sought-after top model and Kodak Summer Girl, engaging in dangerous stunt driving, and hanging with the mob.
Georgia’s life story is big-screen material, folks, yet this passionate and daring woman plays down her star power with humility. My interest in Georgia’s book stems from many similarities in her life and mine. She comes from East Rochester, and I have spent the majority of my life in Rochester, although I was born in Chicago in 1945. My grandfather was judge magistrate for Cook County in Chicago when the mobster days were in full swing.
My father, at age 16, encountered Capone and some of his soldiers at a gas station where my father worked at the time. Georgia’s book took me down memory lane. I also worked for Kodak in the 1960s as a part-time model, but then decided to become a photographer rather than a model. Recently, Georgia and I spoke on the phone reminiscing about the establishments that we both frequented during our youth; the 414 Club, Ben’s Café Society, Caesar’s II and others. We hung with some of the same mob people, too, although she and I had never been formally introduced. I found, associating with gangsters in my youth, totally intoxicating. My wanting to gain power through the mob began in my early years due to my being abused as a child. Georgia’s began after a savage rape.
Georgia has lived a life that far surpasses the word exciting. I’d like to see Martin Scorsese take hold of Georgia’s book and run with it. If you don’t want to take my word for it, log onto the Internet yourself and check out the allure and fame of Georgia Durante. She owns a palatial estate in California that offers a fantasy getaway for all occasions. The glowing draw of her estate will hypnotize you. Georgia Durante; a survivor who grabbed life by the cannoli and can lay claim to the grit that survivors are made of.
M. Cathy Helmes of Greece, a former resident of Walworth, is a local freelance writer.