I hope you had a good week, and that good things are happening for you.
I had a letter from a friend this week, which brought back memories I’ll share with you. I don’t usually dwell on the past, I’m busy living life every day, meeting deadlines, talking to or visiting my children. We all have enough to think about with our jobs, our work, our families, and I realize now, when I do look back, that I have had some golden moments in my life. The friend who wrote to me was reminiscing about the parties I used to give, which seemed ‘normal’ to me at the time, and I realize now how special they were, and the memories they provided for the people we shared those moments with.
I was married to my husband John then, (the father of 8 of my 9 children), he was the most dashing man I’ve ever met, dazzling, elegant, incredibly handsome, movie star handsome. I led a very quiet life when I met him, writing my books, working hard. I didn’t go out much, and my life was certainly not glamourous. I met him, and he swept me off my feet. He was 20 years older than I, but dashing and youthful. He loved parties, life, entertaining, going to grand events, and married to him, my life became very exciting. It was a different time, when entertaining lavishly wasn’t shocking. I’m not sure that people had more fun, but they were more daring about it. We lived in a Victorian house built in 1895, and restored it. And as our family kept growing—-every year!!—-until we had 9 children, he had his eye on a wonderful old house still owned by the original family, but no one had lived in it for about 40 years. The house was like a beautiful grande dame, that needed to be dusted off and brought into the light again. It was built in 1910, and once again we restored it and returned it to what it once had been. We filled it with our 9 children, their friends, and our friends, John loved to entertain, and I enjoyed it with him. He was the original Prince Charming, and at his side I always felt like Cinderella. He lifted me from my more mundane life to a more glamourous, sophisticated one. It took me by surprise at first, and I eventually came to enjoy it, and we gave some wonderful parties together, with music and dancing, and a band, 100 people for dinner, and afterwards people would stay until the wee hours dancing. It was very romantic!!! At the beginning of the evening, our children would come to say hello to the guests, and then they disappeared when we sat down to dinner. It sounds silly now, but for our Christmas dance, we had a snow machine on the roof, so it would look like it was snowing, as the snowflakes drifted past the windows. We had some wonderful times, and I’ve never danced as much since. People don’t give parties like that anymore, and I don’t either. It wouldn’t feel right today, but it was acceptable then.
We were married for 18 years, but even fairytales end. Mylife changed, more importantly the world has changed. These are troubled times of poverty and anguish and danger in the world, of people struggling to survive, and economies shaky worldwide. Our marriage ended, my son Nick died as you know. I spent 11 years on the streets working with the homeless, and you see homeless people on the streets everywhere now, we live in a troubled world. My children grew up, and the world is such a different place. The kind of glamour we indulged in then is rarely, if ever, seen today. We all live in jeans. I have the beautiful gowns I used to wear at our parties, and haven’t worn them in years, and have nowhere to wear them, but I’ve saved them for my daughters as a piece of history. Even if I were still married, I can’t imagine giving parties like that today, with 100 people and a band, dancing the night away, with a snow machine on the roof. But what fun it was then. The friend who wrote to me, was reminiscing about how beautiful those parties were, with the snow falling past the windows. I never realized then how magical those nights were. But I do now, as cherished memories. My children remember them too, as part of their childhood. It’s a time that will never come again, and we were fortunate to enjoy those days. The world is a more serious place now, and so am I. We’ve all grown up…..but how pretty it was, how lucky we were to live it and share it with friends, who remember it too. If I go out for an evening now, I wear black slacks and a sweater, not a ballgown. There is no snow machine on the roof. We have family dinners, in the same house, on holidays, and I cherish these times too. But the memories, and the echoes of the music are very sweet. I just wanted to share that with you, and these old photographs of John, and me, and the children……sweet memories of a fairytale time…Now back to real life today!! Have a great week!!!
PS. In response to a comment to last week’s blog, someone had heard that I passed away recently, and wanted confirmation that I didn’t. I’m happy to confirm that I am alive and kicking (in cute shoes, see the blog above). I think the confusion stems from the passing of the writer Jackie Collins a few months ago, and right afterwards a number of people got confused and thought it was me. She was a wonderful person and a good friend. People often confused us with restaurant reservations. We didn’t look anything alike, but maybe people just thought ‘writer’ and her name popped into their heads. I once got stood up by an airline VIP greeter who told me she couldn’t help me, because she was waiting to help Jackie Collins….she was really waiting for me, but was confused. Jackie wasn’t there, and I wound up having to drag my bags off the luggage belt myself!!! They apologized later. So we all miss Jackie…but I’m alive and well. Thanks for checking it out, love, Danielle