Friday, July 26, 2013
This restaurant, Colington Cafe, belongs to my parents' godchild, Carlen. Her parents were my godparents, as well, and our two families were good friends. I've not seen her in forty years, but lifted these pictures from her North Carolina restaurant's website, so I could put them in my family file. Isn't it beautiful? Visit if you're ever in the Outer Banks. Bon appetit.
The anticipatory joy on Carlen's face as she reaches for her plate is absolutely adorable. As I've mentioned, food features prominently in many of my memories, so I totally get that expression! I had only a vague recollection of what her family members looked like so when I saw this on Colington Cafe's website, the immediate recognition made me gasp and memories of her kind, garrulous Irish father and beautiful French (bonus points!) mother flooded my heart.
It was Helen Sullivan that helped my mother paint the old, heavy, round kitchen table that my mother had bought at a junk shop and which is my favorite piece of furniture in my father's house today. They painted it yellow and Helen painted fruit all around the border. (Then my brother Jimmy defaced it by carving his initials in it. He maintains that he was framed. Sure. He also wonders why the hell can't I let it go and stop telling the story.)
As a child, I sensed, and was grateful for, the support that our family friends provided us while (and after) my Dad was a POW. The Carvers, Armstrongs, Beattys, Wengers, Kirkpatricks, Bordones among others... (Not to mention the other POW families. Sharing that experience is pretty damn bonding.) Maybe that's why I feel tremendously sentimental about them and spend more time than might be normal thinking about them. What's normal anyway, right? The Sullivans are right up there at the top of the Beloved Friends list. My parents had exceptional taste now that I think of it. Wonderful people all.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
This likeness was painted by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun and is believed to be of the Du Barry. It sold at Christie's for $9,493 in 2010 according to the Christie's website. I'm shocked that the price was so low. That's below my credit card limit. Probably past the limits of my husband's patience, so tempting though it might've been, I'd have had to pass on it.
Friday, July 12, 2013
My parents grew up in Mobile and retired close by, on Fowl River. During the thirty years my parents lived there, we visited at least a couple of times a year and our children's childhoods were transformed by the exposure to that world.
Sometimes I long for those days, so was really happy last month to visit the area with my brother, Michael, and sister, Mary.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Memories from Barton Academy
My maternal grandmother grew up in Mobile. Years ago, my mother gave me her scrapbook. Even though, unfathomable to me, my grandmother didn't "journal" in it, one can get a sense of her life as a young woman in the first quarter of the 20th century through the invitations, newspaper clippings, photographs. The most poignant discovery I made is this poem written by a young man named Bennie Cosio (he signed it "B") who'd once been my grandmother's "beau," as she would've called him.
Oh! If thou wilt not give thine heart
Give back my own to me
Or bid thine image thence depart
And leave me lone, but free.
Yet no! This mournful loss of mine
I would not from me cast!
Let me but dream t'will win me thine
By its deep truth at last.
Can aught so fond, so faithful live
Through years without reply?
Oh! If thine heart thou wilt not give
Give me a thought, a sigh.
Underneath the poem, he wrote, "I am reminded of the verses I wrote in your Graduation Book. Do you recall or have you forgotten?"
I knew about Bennie before I got the scrapbook, because my mother gave me a pearl necklace that he'd given as a gift to Mamie Clark (known to her grandchildren as "Mimi"). Besides the poem, there are dance cards (some of the dances were held at the Battle House) with his name on them, with their tiny pencils still hanging from their tiny strings, and this picture of Bennie, croquet mallet in hand.
My mother told me that Bennie's mother hadn't allowed him to marry her, because she was Catholic.
Left to right:
Carolyn Falck, my grandfather, James F. Maury, Jr. and my grandmother, Mamie Clarke Pugh.
When my mother gave me a handful of my grandmother's pictures from, I'd guess, the mid-1920s, and I asked her to tell me about the people in them, she said, of this one, that my great-grandmother had wanted her daughter (my grandmother, Mamie Clarke) to marry Jim Maury. Mamie Clarke wasn't particularly interested, so her mother (my great-grandmother, follow me?) talked her daughter's friend, Carolyn, into flirting with Jim and getting him to like her to make Mamie Clarke jealous. I guess this little bit of manipulation paid off, because Jim Maury was my grandfather.
This is my great-grandmother. She looks like a woman accustomed to being obeyed. They called her The Club Lady. I'm not sure who "they" are, but that's what my mom said. The portrait was in my Dad's dining room for awhile, but he had it taken down. I think The Club Lady made him nervous. My husband and son had kind of the same reaction. 'Fraidy cats.
Long story, but it's just not in me to cut corners where words are concerned. More may not be better, but it quiets the voices.
Marion's daughter, Fontaine, is one of my favorite people, in or out of the family, in the whole world. It was at her home that we spent the afternoon. I want to be her best friend, because she's incredibly warm and funny and strong. I want to go to one of her girls' weekends and ride one of her horses, with her, through the lakes and woods and fields of her land like her thirty other best friends who post the pictures on fb. Tainie, as we call her, is pictured pointing out some stream creature or another to Denton and also in the picture with me where, sadly, the tops of both our heads are cut off.
George, Tainie's dad, came by and still as cool as ever. It was he to whom Winston Bloom dedicated his book, Forrest Gump, and he who was the original Gerber Baby. He's a player, polo and otherwise. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible! As I walked away from his truck, that day, he said "Madeleine… you still have that look in your eye." - words that I'll live on for the rest of my life! Whew.
Yes, those Mobile relatives with their debutante parties, mint juleps, and polo know how to have fun, as evidenced by the massive amount of crawfish and the picture of Marion teaching Denton bar tricks. Our Bartlett spent the night with Fontaine's boys, Sandy and Rad, and maybe some other people, who knows, so I suspect the education of cousins continues. Although, Bartlett, being an eighteen year old southern boy himself was probably no stranger to the Mobile way of life.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Sunday, July 7, 2013
The idea that someone would want to end their life, because they didn't feel accepted for who they are is tragic. I'm not crazy about Macklemore's stereotyped references to religion, in Same Love, nor am I really making a stand about gay marriage although I don't disagree with it - just a stand that people should be able to be themselves. Everybody. And, I love Lady Gaga's Born This Way. Excellent singing behind the wheel music. Plus, her crooked smile is adorable.
Macklemore's Otherside is powerful. Anything that deglamorizes drug use for kids is worth repeating.
It's a tough world out there and I appreciate songs that may help someone, somewhere.