October 15, 2014

Thoroughly Modern Millie

'Estella's' mother's name actually is Mille and used to look almost exactly like this and had this very dress.

I almost forgot this was a special day. There are likely a few of you out there who may recall that I occasionally mention 'my Estella' who now badgers me almost daily with hectoring inquiries on when will I begin The Confessions of Mossy Kade which is admittedly a bit overdue.  Naturally her interests, as always, have a self-serving angle as she can't wait to read an account of our early years together just as she often loves to talk about a hypothetical movie about me just so we can discuss which sexy actress gets to play her. About 5 years ago, we both agreed that Emily Blunt had overtaken Toni Collette (with dark brown hair) as ideal for the role. 

My Estella's mother is no Miss Havisham; she is a lovely woman who for almost 40 years has extended me every kindness and generosity.  When I was a socially awkward (towards girls) boy of 15 calling on her daughter she always went out of her way to make me feel welcome and convince me that she genuinely wanted me to stay and join them for dinner. More recently when I was in Iraq as a soldier in a war she strongly opposed (as did my own mother) she prayed for me every day.

Estella's mother's name actually is Millie and hasn't missed a major Broadway musical since even well before Ethel Merman took her last bow.  I was almost ashamed of myself for being so late to recognize an obvious opportunity to artfully demonstrate to someone I hold so dear how much I appreciate them. Much like Santa, GSL keeps a list of who's been naughty and nice and takes appropriate action. Only a couple of years ago in the course of 18 months Millie lost her beloved son, husband of over 50 years, while also suffering from some painfully debilitating health issues, and she even lost her much adored Yorkie who had been the apple of her eye for 15+ years. I was actually in town when her husband (Estella's father) banged his head which later turned out to be a blood clot on his brain and rushed him and everybody else over to the Emergency Room where he died only a couple of days later in otherwise perfect health.  I stayed at the house with Millie and helped her deal with the arrangements, visitors, notifications, etc. until I had to leave just prior to the funeral to get back to Chicago for mandatory National Guard duty.

Before leaving I made some arrangements; I ordered that poster up top and gave her live-in chauffer/handy-man instructions on what to do once it arrived.  I told her handy-man I wanted that poster hung in her stately dining room right next to where she sits with her phone, reads her mail, and receives visitors and  how to overcome any potential objections of having such a garish object in her dining room by saying "how about we just put it up for a couple of weeks as it would mean so much to GSL....". She relented on those terms and up it went.  Because of her recent loss and enormous popularity she received a huge flood of visitors in those immediate days and weeks after the funeral.  Many of those visitors were lifelong friends and relatives who upon entering the dining room to comfort Millie would shriek in amazement at the poster and how much it resembled a younger Millie both physically and in spirit.  Millie would delightfully reply how much she loved the show both times she saw it and she actually did have a dress exactly like that and loved to dance the Charleston.

I have always known that Tea & Sympathy works even better with an Overture of giggles.

Epilogue: I just got off the phone only minutes ago with my dear Millie to wish her a Happy Birthday.  I told her how much I'd love to be taking her to a fancy lunch just like I did during my last visit and how smashing she looked in her Cheetah print jacket and brand spanking new ruby red Dooney & Bourke handbag she acquired for the occasion. She told me she can't wait to show me the new handbag she just got when I'm there for Christmas.

Epilogue II- Not so long ago Estella was visiting her mother and suggested that they move that garish Broadway poster back to the little used TV room tucked away in the back of the house.  With a cold stare, Millie told her daughter "It's staying right where it is!".

Update: Here are the twin birthday girls.

Millie (on right) with twin sister Tillie only minutes ago en route
 to their Birthday Party with Estella in tow

25 comments:

  1. Happy birthday to the extraordinary Millie. The idea of that poster in her dining room is perfection.

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    1. Jen,
      Millie may be up for her own Tony nomination as she has added numerous dramatic flourishes when discussing that poster and how she so wants to move it out of there but nobody will dare let her...she's actually right on that last count even if "thy lady doth protest too much".

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  2. what a lovely tribute to your fabulous millie. you are the best g.

    x

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    1. Thank you Janet and I am much better on account of Fabulous Millie.

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  3. What a wonderfully rich character your Millie appears to be...kind of like Pete,but in a different way! Perhaps you could introduce them if Millie is ever able to visit;-) Those special people that add such rich layers to our lives are truly...unforgettable (cue Nat King Cole here)! Lovely birthday tribute to your dear Millie,G.

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    1. Trudye, Millie is wonderful and such a character! She has friends all over the world who she keeps in touch with. Truly a very generous soul in both thought and deed. I am so fortunate to have in her in my life.

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  4. Oh I love this post - Happy Birthday to Millie! Such heart ache she's had all at once, what a wonderful thing you did to not only buy that fab poster but to help with all the arrangements.
    Now, I've only just noticed (and maybe I missed a post or two while I was in the Outback and out of reception a couple of weeks ago), but who is The Muse on the sidebar?? The ghost of Kathy wandering the Moors?

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    1. Heidi,
      Millie really did go thru a spell of unimaginable heartache just as she was dealing with serious health issues. Someone deeply deserving of praise in assisting Millie through all this adversity is her twin sis Tillie (above in pic) a trained nurse who has also endured some recent hardship including a debilitating stroke but they have both certainly rallied as you can plainly see!

      I wouldn't think you'd have any difficulty at all with The Muse Heidi but I am officially on mum's the word status or else The Muse would have me chained to that tree and have those crows pick my bones clean. Rather than guess in open forum if you are really puzzled, I'll perhaps let a hint slip in a return email if you'll keep it under your hat.

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  5. Lovely toast to a lovely beauty! Well done!

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    1. Thank you Wendy. You have set a fine example with a tribute to your father Bud and that wonderful story of connecting with an elderly cousin you never knew you had towards the end of his life. I've missed some opportunities to appropriately thank and honor those who have helped me and others close and try to not let it happen again.

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  6. She is a beauty and what a spirit! G you really have some superior friends, I'm impressed but I also really enjoy this sort of tribute, so uplifting, it's really the connections in life that matter the most.

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    1. Dani, I am most fortunate to have some wonderful friends and those connections are indeed what matter most.

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  7. You are a very good man, GSL: so thoughtful, and loyal too, I'm guessing.
    Millie sounds like a wonderful lady, as does her sister.
    Small tokens and thoughtful gestures mean so much during Hard Times.
    I'm intrigues by the Muse too.... Can you give me a hint as well?

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    1. Aha! Forget the hint; I think I've worked it out!

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    2. Hi Ruth,

      Millie is absolutely wonderful and has friends all over the world from her travels. Her sister Tillie I know less well since she lived about 90 miles from us growing up but she is also a gem.

      It did just dawn on me that some may have missed the original post. I have just made a notation up in right margin that clicking 'The Muse' image will link you to that post. All should then be clear. If still puzzled, I'll email you that hint.

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  8. What a fitting tribute to a very lovely lady. What a blessing you are.

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    1. Thanks you T but I'm the lucky one!

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  9. Beautiful GSL! You're so blessed to have this lovely lady in your life. A loving tribute to a classy woman. You're the best.
    xo~Jennifer

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    1. Thank you Jennifer and with your selfless service on behalf of your brother-in-law you're one classy woman too! xo ~G

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  10. Happy Birthday to the always Thoroughly Modern Millie. Wonderful looking twin sisters. Loved reading this!

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    1. Jody,
      Estella reported that the now Post Modern Millie and Tillie had a huge turnout for their party and an ipad with this post passed around the table....if only I had been there to defend myself...

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  11. What a fitting tribute....and how kind of you to send her that poster.

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    1. Thank you Hostess and that poster does fit her to a T.

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  12. Happy belated Birthday to the wonderful Millie! She is a woman that I would love to know. I hope to be a Millie one day- indomitable, kind, spirited, and wise.
    My grandmother was named Millie and I almost gave my second the same name as she was born 100 years after her, almost to the day

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    1. Millie is a prize and just as you describe her and a lunch with Millie and Bebe would be a red letter day!

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