Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day

The Spring Party Scene
Part Two
As we said last post, April has seen a whirlwind of festivities -- a stylish maelstrom if you will. There was Anna's big bash at the Met last Monday where Madonna bared her booty. But we who cannot pony up the $30,000 for a ticket to the Met Gala, and who want to keep our booties under wraps, manage to have fun as we mine the depths of our closets for yet another stunning outfit.

On a Sunday afternoon, a group of friends gathered at our apartment for a tea to honor a visitor from Vancouver, Canada. Cathie Borrie is the author of The Long Hello -- Memory, My Mother, and Me. She was in New York for the launch of the USA edition of The Long Hello.

Cathie's book is an apt subject for a Mother's Day post. It tells the story of her years of caring for her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Since my mother, Mary, also had the disease, I have a keen interest in what Cathie had to say.

The Long Hello is prose poetry. In short interludes, Cathie reveals her intimate relationship with her ill mother. But not only do we hear the absurd, the heart-breaking and the lovely words spoken by Cathie and her mother, but we also learn about Cathie's life in a condensed narrative and crisp words. In spite of, her perhaps because of such well-edited brevity, by the end of the book we can say that we know Cathie and the details of her life.

Since Maya Angelou had exclaimed the book to be "Joy!" and the excerpts I had heard were sheer poetry, I thought that Cathie's care giving had been all sweet. And it was, except that it wasn't. As a caregiver, along with my siblings, of Mary during her illness, I can attest to the agony and stress one goes through. And Cathie did not escape it.
Author Cathie Borrie with her book,
The Long Hello.
(She is wearing her dad's bowler.)
My mother, Mary Markel, with me and
my sister, Susan. 
She dressed us in hair bows and cotton frocks.
Two-thirds of the people who get Alzheimer's are women.
In my opinion, that's why more money is
not being spent on finding a cure.
Tea party goers standing from left to right: Diana Gabriel, Carol Markel,
 Joyce Carpati, Valerie and Jean, The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas,
Maureen Gumbe, Debra Rapoport, Elke Kuhn.
Seated: Cathie Borrie and Nonnie Balcer.
We are rapt hearing Cathie read from her book.
There is no tea at our tea parties but there is bubbly.
Nonnie, Joyce, Carola, Teresa and Jean chat it up.
There was Brooklyn Blackout Cake,
and I made tea sandwiches from Sandra Lee recipes.
Debra brought fruit.
 Jewelry designer, Diana Gabriel.
There was shopping in my Hat Shop in a Box.
Cathie purchased these red and black beads.
 Elke and Jean model two of my hats.
 Lovely Elke in Marimekko and beads by Carol.
 Jean and Valerie, 
The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.
 Jean in my hand-painted straw cloche.
 Maureen and Debra.
 Carol in a Zara blouse.
 Teresa Taylor in my hat and beads.
 Valerie, Joyce (in mad tights) and Carola in a Zara dress!
Mary Markel
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.
Please pick up a copy of Cathie's book.
I am sure you will love it.
Read about it here.

Thanks to Denton Taylor for these photographs.

Mother's Day Tulips from my stepchildren.
Thank you Dianna, Richard and Michael.

À Bientôt!