About the Author

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xx Barbara “Basia” Redzisz Hammerstein was born in Warsaw, Poland, and in 1938, at the age of nine, she emigrated to the United States with her sister and parents. Basia attended Washington Irving High School in New York City graduating as head of the Artisa Honor Society and with a series of medals for her accomplishments in art and service to the school.

Basia leads Arista Honor Society.

Basia leads Arista Honor Society.

She began her working career as a coat and suit model in the garment center, and on a dare became a showgirl at the Copacabana nightclub. While singing in Broadways shows, she worked on her bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Hunter College and subsequently completed her masters of arts degree in communication at Columbia University.

Twos Company

Basia performs in Two’s Company.

Her theatrical career paid for her schooling and spanned the Golden Age of Musical Comedy Theatre in the late fifties and early sixties. Some of the shows in which she sang included “Top Banana” with Phil Silvers and Jack Albertson, “Two’s Company,” a revue with Bette Davis, “Can Can” with Gwen Verdon, “Music Man” with Barbara Cook and Robert Preston, and “Fiorello” with Tom Bosley.

Basia met and married James Hammerstein, the son of Oscar Hammerstein II, had a son, and after a divorce became the ubiquitous single parent. She recounts that rather incredible story in her first book, “Cinderella After the Ball.” During her stay in New York, she hosted her own radio show, “Out in the Open,” on FM station WRVR, which subsequently led to her own spot interviewing authors on early cable Channel C. Her roster of guests included Maya Angelou, Anais Nin and Isaac Asimov among others.

Top Banana

Basia with Phil Silvers and Jack Albertson in
Top Banana.

During a massive and toxic air inversion in New York City in 1967, Basia joined Citizens for Clean Air, and organized an awards fundraising dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel hosted by Henry Morgan and Joan Rivers that also included Nelson Rockefeller and John Lindsey. As a result of the success of the dinner, she was elected Chairman of the Board of Citizens for Clean Air in 1968.

Continuing her love of Mother Earth after moving to Rockland County, she became an avid gardener and joined a series of environmental organizations. She was a board member of the Rockland County Conservation Association, acquiring a Master Gardeners certificate and organizing the Champion Tree survey, and then became a Garden Club of Nyack member and its one-time president as well as a director of the Shade Tree Commission of the Town of Orangetown.

SoundOfMusic

As Marie in The Sound of Music.

Making a move to California, Basia took EST training and became a staff member in the organization. Her interest piqued, she set out to explore the spiritual world, spending time with Baba Muktenanda, Krishna Murti, the Dali Lama, Hilda Charlton and Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati at whose feet and in whose powerful presence she became heir to a kundalini experience.

She wrote about her kundalini experience in “The Stampede of the Natives” and how the kundalini experience, which she believes is related to the birthing breath of ancient mothers, became suppressed. She is now working on a book “The Shape of Sound” dealing with the origins of language and how the shapes of the capital letters of the Western alphabet and the sounds with which they are associated are like a Rosetta Stone to ancient feminist history and our prehistoric mother-centered heritage.

Basia hopes to finish “The Shape of Sound,” her fifth book, in the latter part of 2014, expanding on the source of human language with 25 Rules of Sound Discovery (ROSD.) The book will illustrate how to find the original sounds and provides an analysis of individual letters as well as the words that evolved from them, based on the shape and sound of the capital letters of the Western alphabet.

Group With Dorothy

After a ball at the St Regis: Dorothy Hammerstein (with cigarette), Oscar Hammerstein seated at bottom, Jimmy Hammerstein, standing at right, and Basia, center.

She has also written “Cinderella After the Ball,” a story of her venture into theatrical royalty when she married the son of Oscar Hammerstein II and endowed the Hammerstein family with the “old man’s” namesake. “In Search of Lost Roots” recounts the story of her search for her lost Polish relatives who disappeared into the miasma of the Second World War. On a lighter note, after she moved to Rockland County, New York, in 1963, she encountered a worthy adversary who was decimating her organic vegetable garden in “He Be a RodRent.”