Sunday, February 19, 2017

My Fairy God-Friend..

"I make a point of waving or nodding hello when I can. I have come to believe that kindness is repaid in unexpected ways and that if you are lonely or bone-tired or blue, you need only come down from your perch and step outside. New York — which is to say, New Yorkers — will take care of you."
                                   Bill Hayes

Celebrating saying yes to the dress!
Still desperately trying to “get my voice back”…it’s coming, slowly.  As life would have it, my lil family has finally got a joyful celebration in our lives.  A Wedding!  “Love in the time of Ebola.”  Planning a trip to visit my Lady’s life (working with Partners in Health) in Sierra Leone in conjunction with celebrating her marriage; an adventure to say the least!

Having time to go to one store with my Lady when she was in the US for Christmas, watching her try on 5 or 6 wedding dresses, finding “the one” was surreal and beautiful.  My other Lady and I found dresses we liked (not loved) as well, a bonus.  Living in the fashion mecca of the US, I decided to explore before buying that dress.  Well, shopping in NYC, especially when you’re of a certain age, short, a tad round, is not as much fun as it should be.  Ugh.      (Until you meet a Fairy God-friend…)

The oldest escalator in the U.S. (in Macy's)
Three days visiting bridal salons; major department stores; walking up and down, in and out of shops in the garment district; resigned to going back to buy that too expensive dress; I gave myself one more shot.  Leaving work on a mild winter day at the St Regis on 55th Street, I headed south, by foot, on 6th Avenue.  Arriving in Union Square on 14th Street, empty-handed, I managed to finally buy a purse for the wedding, and then decided I was famished.

Art in the Garment District
Heading over to the new Union Square Café, it was time to treat myself.  Walking in and being warmly greeted by the Maître D’ was fun.  (Some of the Union Sq. team had helped us setup our Food Film Festival last October.)  Taking a seat at the small bar upstairs was a lovely respite, as Charlotte, the bartender was a warm host.  As often happens in NYC, I started chatting with the lovely couple next to me.  They quickly seemed like old friends.  Having “kids” at similar ages, with weddings approaching for all of us, a bond was formed.

Bar at the Union Square Cafe
D and S had met at BU, started their careers in Boston, and then moved back to NY raising their family and having very successful careers.  S has been a clothing manufacturer for many years.  S shared that her niece had been in the Peace Corps in Senegal, and sent her sister with skirts for women villagers and wanted to do the same for me in Sierra Leone.  When I jokingly lamented about how much fun NYC was, not, to shop; S said she wanted to dress me for my Lady’s Wedding!  As my new friends left, S handed me her card, and said to call her.  (When I asked Charlotte for my bill for dinner, she explained it had already been paid.) 

The next week, I went to explore the behind the scenes of yet another NYC institution.   A clothing manufacturer in the garment district.  Less than 45 minutes later, I left that experience with my head spinning, my heart leaping, and feeling not just a bit like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.”  My new Fairy God-Friend, S, picked out 2 formal dresses that we all liked, asked the manager of that department to have them made up in two sizes, with shawls to match.  Then she started pulling fun everyday clothes off the spring/summer rack that would be great for my trip to Africa.

A few days later, a large box was delivered to my apartment filled with the fun clothes.  The next week, another box arrived with the formal gowns.  Oh, my!

I returned the clothes I would not keep last week.  S would accept no payment!  Refused.  I promptly made a donation to Planned Parenthood in the name of my Fairy God-Friend.  I’ll head back to S’s offices before I leave for Sierra Leone to pick up some skirts…

And, later in the Spring, I will take S & D to dinner at our restaurant, to share pictures and notes on our Weddings.  NYC, as always, thank you for the adventures, experiences, and most of all for the People, I am blessed and grateful to meet.