Muriel Harris was on the phone one day from work with her daughter, but Gail Sloat knew her mom was in another conversation at the same time.
“I said, ‘Mom, who are you talking to?’ She said, ‘I’m talking to Graham. ... Graham, what’s your last name?’”
The visitor answered, and Harris passed it along — Nash.
“I said, ‘Mom, you’re talking to Graham Nash right now?’” Sloat recalled this week.
She was, because Crosby Stills & Nash — the 1960s-born supergroup — was playing at Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget. That’s the old Golden Nugget, Steve Wynn’s place, where Harris was the first public-relations director.
And that job led to Harris getting her picture taken with Nash and his fellow rock stars, Stephen Stills and David Crosby. Harris, a longtime Margate resident, had pictures of herself with stars of all types and all eras before she died last month, at 87.
“Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett ...Vic Damone ... Bruce Springsteen,” Harris’ younger daughter, Tena Friedman said, listing a few highlights. “We have three or four albums filled with those pictures.”
But Friedman, of Northfield, adds that those years at the Nugget — now the Atlantic Club — were just a small slice of her mom’s work career. Harris worked there from its 1980 opening until 1990, but that job followed many, many others.
“She taught yoga in the early ’70s,” Friedman said — before most Americans ever heard of a thing called yoga. “She was teaching calisthenics when it was still called calisthenics.”
Harris’ fitness-class students came right to her Margate home, and so did her students in another area of life where she was way ahead of her time.
She taught the Lamaze natural-childbirth techniques to thousands of South Jersey parents — and was a pioneer in getting local hospital delivery rooms opened so fathers could be there to see their babies born.
Carl Rosner, of Margate, Harris’ brother, calls that Lamaze coaching “the biggest and most profound period of Muriel’s professional life.” But it was personal for her too — she kept another wall of pictures showing hundreds of babies she helped into the world.
Rosner can list lots of other jobs his sister worked, starting as a girl at a family bakery in Atlantic City. That’s where a young Muriel Rosner met her future husband, Aaron Harris, a New York boy sent to Atlantic City by the U.S. Army to train for World War II.
They dated before he shipped out to Europe, and were married in 1946, after Aaron made it home alive. And Muriel and Aaron were in the bakery business together too — among other stores.
“She liked business, she liked being busy,” said her daughter, Sloat. “If she was really busy, she was really happy.”
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