Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fashion and a Guest

One doesn't need a petite cottage in the backyard to host a guest.  Just a comfy bed and a little space for some personal things.  My friend Karen is here for her yearly visit and I am over the moon.

We began exactly where we left off in conversation, we are so in sync.  But this year we also started with a bang and drove to Newport in fog as thick as mashed potatoes to hear a lecture on, what else?  Fashion.  Caroline Reynolds Milbank, author of "Resort Fashion" gave a marvelous talk about leisure fashion.  It was way too brief and although I loved the photographs on the screen, Karen and I both agreed Milbank's love of clothes was infectious and was worth the price of admission.

Later, we eschewed dinner out because of rain gusts and resumed our spots on the couch with tea and toast.  Naturally, the conversation turned to children who have left or are leaving, dreams and hopes for them and ourselves, and of course, what else?  Fashion.

I shyly told Karen that I've been admiring the style of Tricia Nixon Cox, who just saw her son off in marriage.  I described a pretty mother-of-the-bride dress based on Mrs. Cox's.  Within minutes Karen had it sketched out for me and I'm in awe - it's exactly what I was envisioning.  Right there.  On paper.

Today, Karen shyly asked me if she could stay another day.  We're just having so much fun, plotting, planning, dreaming and talking.  About what else?  Fashion!


Credit where credit is due:  This is a painting by the lovely Janet Hill...Janet, I love your artwork and if you want me to take it down, I will!  (

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

There are Places I Remember

Of 356 students in my high school graduation class, over 100 attended our recent reunion, a milestone one.  I'm not sure of all the reasons why this class has stayed so tight but I suspect Facebook has something to do with it. Perhaps it was the special time and place we grew up too.  We had so much fun in school and at the reunion. The dedicated organizers rustled up plenty of enthusiasm online in the months before and it was quite a party which lasted all afternoon through nightfall, straight on to midnight.  We just seem to have so much to say to one another.

I'm amazed at how many times I was hugged and squeezed and how many times a classmate reached for my hand or draped an arm across my shoulders while we talked and moved in circles like an ever-changing human kaleidoscope.  I was deeply touched when a classmate sought me out to say that he had googled something related to our childhood and found my newspaper editorials about our collective experience.  Many of us had brought along school artifacts, newspaper clippings, and photographs.  I contributed my high school scrapbook which is filled with dried prom flowers, fabric scraps from dresses, notes passed in class by my best friend, and report cards.  It is an astonishing but warm rush to see an old photograph of oneself from long ago for the very first time.

I had a "moment" with more than one old friend.  I was able to tell a classmate some happy memories I had of her mother not knowing her mom had died recently.  With misty eyes she cupped my face in her hands and thanked me for giving her the precious gift of remembrance.  Another friend whose face I hadn't seen in forty years, met my eyes over the buffet table.  Our plates were quickly abandoned as we hugged and wept through smiles.  I was asked to guess the identity of one classmate.  As soon as he grinned and winked, I knew...our journeys had begun together, far beyond yesterday in a kindergarten classroom. Even the classmates who went before were honored with the quiet recitation of their names and it was truly heartrending. We never forget, this class.  

Not a single person was unkind or aloof - we were just so grateful to be able to spend some time with each other again. We talked about our children, grandchildren, careers, and places we've lived. Our memories overlapped and grew with each others' embellishments.  I was delighted when a friend remembered my grandparents.  Where else can one find such poignant familiarity, if not from a schoolday friend?

Someone who reads my Facebook posts jokingly told me that I need to get out of the 18th century.  I wouldn't mind doing 1974 again as long as they come too.  It was the best club I've ever known.  And in my life...I've loved them all.