Something Positive After the Hurricane


My good thoughts go out to all of the families that suffered losses during Hurricane Sandy. The photos of the homes lost, damage done, and most especially the news of people who have lost their lives is so sad for all of us. We send prayers to all of you who have gone through this ordeal. 

We in northwestern Connecticut were fortunate. We feared for the worst, particularly  after last October’s damaging early snow storm.  This time we got a relative pass from Mother Nature.  As we go about the repairs and cleanup, I thought it might be a small distraction to share a lovely moment that I experienced the week before this tragedy.  This is not to minimize what has happened but to look at a moment shared by a couple in love.

Just before this awful storm I attended a wedding  in California of two terrific people. I  wanted to write about it because it was so beautifully done — characteristic of  the taste, style, and great beauty of the bride, Frances Schultz. Some of you may know  her because she has a lovely blog where she shares information, experiences, and the things that inspire her:

Anyway Frances married Tom, the man she refers to as “her cowboy,” in a three day celebration that was great fun for her guests —  and I hope not too stressful for the couple.

The first night was a charming barn dance given by the warm and lovely Firestone family.

Night two was a fabulous black tie party.  Frances worked with the talented Mindy Rice and Lisa Vorce of Santa Barbara to transform their barn into a version of El Morocco, the legendary Manhattan nightclub. The beautiful details included the zebra motif of the old club on the dance floor, the banquettes, and the level of glamorous sophistication one experienced forty years ago. Most special to me was the abundance of garden roses throughout the space, including one of my all-time favorites: Yves Piaget, whose fragrance and form are unforgettable.(Sadly I cannot grow it in Connecticut.)

In addition to the beauty of the ‘nightclub,’ called “Club El Rancho”  after their ranch, music set the mood.  During dinner Frances had the wonderful Mike Carney play Frank Sinatra tunes, and  I floated down memory lane . . .

The heyday of El Morocco was the 40’s , 50’s and 60’s.  It still existed when I first came to New York,  and I was thrilled to experience some of last moments of the club’s legendary glamor.  I went  there first just after I graduated from Washington University, with a handsome and charming boyfriend, feeling rather under-dressed in a sweater and slacks. I returned many times, but one visit was most memorable.  I was with another boyfriend and  a much older group that included Frank Sinatra, Barbara Marx (they were not yet married), and Freddie Brisson, the husband of the wonderful comic actress Rosalind Russell (of the unforgettable film Auntie Mame). Surrounding us were Aristotle Onassis (after Jackie) and various  well-known fashion models in the company of the playboys of the early seventies.  A world that no longer exists . . . but back to the wedding!

The third day there was a small town fair with kids, ponies, a baking contest and a parade, a real slice of great American pie. Then we all began to prepare for the wedding, which was held in a lovely olive grove at the ranch.  The ceremony was followed by a pond-side dinner,  which offered  great food, dancing, and — of course — fireworks.

The bride was beautiful, the groom charming and hospitable, and the after-party so much fun!   All done with tremendous style.


Frances and Tom at the black tie El Rancho Zaca party on Friday night

The beautiful garden roses, grown a few farms away. The glorious deep pink one is my beloved Yves Piaget that I discovered for the first time in France many years ago ( yet another story)Handsome John, the beautiful and very talented comic Debbie, and my beau — darling Simon.

The peaceful olive grove, which was the chapel for the wedding

The beautiful and talented Frances and the ol’ sweetie Tom at the ceremony.

Mindy’s lovely altar arrangementThe Jersey Boys of California certainly got ” yours truly “up and dancing.  I love their music!  Dating myself? Let’s agree that it’s timeless!CR having a twirl with the bride!

The bride and groom watching the fireworks in celebration of their union

Thank you, Frances and Tom, for sharing such a happy moment with your friends!  It will make for beautiful memories for all of us.

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