Sunday, May 11, 2014

I Heart Maman

Friday I went over to BHV to check out the lily of the valley perfume table for more testers/touches
Instead everything was la Fête des Mères coming up May 25.
Such pretty pastels
In New York I barely gave perfumes a glance.
In Paris I'm addicted. Yes, please spritz me
There's loads of teal to deck Mom out in.
Every now and then I wonder what my mom would think of me living in Paris.
I lost her when I was 24. Too young. She was just 57. Way too youngAt 16 she traveled with her family on a grand tour to the Mediterranean ending up in Paris. When I was 10, my dad came home and announced at dinner he'd bought 2 tickets for Paris. My dad adored surprising her, yet I have no memories of their trip or what souvenirs she brought back. I found a lace hanky with my name embroidered on it when I was packing up to come here. Was it from my mother's trip to Paris?
Once I hit my teens it was difficult for me to appreciate my very talented mother. She had big plans for me to go to fashion design school and complete her unfulfilled dreams. I wasn't having it. We were at war when I was growing up. Yet after she died I HAD to come to New York, go to Parsons School of Design and fulfill her dreams. It was like a compulsion. I worked on 7th Avenue, then moved on to designing shoes in Italy and Spain and so many other things, finally ending up in Paris.
Last night I called my ancient second cousin who lives in Pigalle, to see if she remembered my parents trip to Paris.
She had vivid memories of my mom. How elegant and chic she was (my mother wore hats, gloves and suits she designed and sewed herself)...and her belle silhouette. How they all went out for a grand dinner at la Cafe de la Paix near Opera. 
Perhaps my Paris Sketch letters are meant for my Mom?
I wish I could send her one. 
Happy Mothers Day dear PBers !


  1. What wonderful tribute to your mom, Carol!
    One fine day, when I come to Paris, I will take you to Cafe de la Paix. Hugs, Merisi

  2. Maureen7:35 AM

    Carol, that is so beautiful and very touching. 24 is WAY too young to lose your beautiful, talented Mom! I lost mine at 47 and was a sad, lost orphan for a long time.. I went to Café de La Paix by Opera Garnier the first time I was in Paris. I found one of their little coffee coasters in a drawer last year, my souvenir.! Go there, sit outside, drink a cafe crème and picture yourself there with her .You know she is around in the spirit world where borders and visas are not required. I'm sure she would love that you made this brave move and be so proud of you.

  3. Mothers and daughters relationships can be so complicated....this is a very poignant post. I am glad you were able to find out more about her trip.

  4. I just want to save this.
    You gave me my second tears this morning.
    Puddle eyes to be exact.
    She must be overjoyed and so proud.x

  5. Anonymous9:13 AM

    A very beautiful tribute to your mom...I think your mother would have thought very highly of your decision to live in Paris.

  6. The rapid disappearance of BHV's lily of the valley perfume testers is a metaphor for lilies of the valley, your mother, and life itself. It's all ephemera. Your mother, despite being absent all these years, knew in her heart that you would achieve all of your successes, take risks and thrive.

  7. Usually I don't like these sentimental tributes to mothers, but this is lovely. I'm sure she would approve! You certainly have an interesting history! And you keep writing more interesting chapters!

    1. I never intended to go there Jeanie
      It just hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday
      This was going to be a perfume post
      Go figure...

    2. You can write a perfume post any ol' day!

  8. Belinda10:40 AM

    Love today's post, beautifully written.

  9. What a lovely and touching tribute to your Mom.

  10. Alison11:01 AM

    A lovely tribute to your Mom and mothers everywhere

  11. Lois B11:03 AM

    Beautiful tribute to your Mother!
    Very touching!
    Your dreams of Paris began with her, obviously!

  12. Foodwalker11:05 AM

    I doubt you cousin would like to be called ancient. She looks very elegant. Nice memories of your mom.

  13. that is so beautiful!! I am so moved by this

  14. Others have already said it succinctly, but I just have to add that I am sure she would be most proud of you and your accomplishments.

  15. I was in the BHV on Friday! But in the basement where the smells were mostly body odor!

  16. Love this post . Am thinking your mom would be thrilled that you are having a life in the arts in Paris!

  17. Barbara1:04 PM

    Loved sharing your memories of your mother for the forth coming Mothers day, also being able to read about your second Paris.
    What would life be without happy memories & even the sad ones make us what we are.

  18. Patsy1:06 PM

    Dear Carol- I can really relate to your story. My mother died when she was just 53 and I was 14. Mother's Day can be a bit of a sad time. But I bet your mom would be entirely delighted that you fulfilled your dream of living in Paris. There can be no doubt about that.

  19. Daphne1:08 PM

    Absolutely beautiful!

  20. Leslie1:11 PM

    Lovely. My sister loved her "letter from Paris"!

  21. Judith1:18 PM

    Carol, I have followed you for years on PB and now a subscription here. You are living MY dream, and through your eyes I will continue to do so. Thank you for being brave enough to make the move to Paris - you are truly an inspiration to admire and that is exactly what I do every time I read one of your posts and now it will include your letters for the next 12 months also. Wishing you good health and happiness from Australia

  22. Carol, all of your posts are wonderful(!) but this one just really touched my heart.I lost my beautiful Mama unexpectedly when she was only 52;I was 19 and a newlywed.What's given me comfort all these years is forever feeling her love and knowing we are forever in each other's hearts.
    You look so much like your lovely Mom.She is so proud of you for fulfilling your dreams and being a success.You don't realize what an inspiration you are and what pleasure PB brings.
    Thank you!
    God Bless

  23. A very touching post - sometimes the best things we write are those that come upon us unexpectedly because they truly come from the heart.

  24. Melody2:40 PM

    Loved your post today!

    You have done so well. I'm sure your mom would be so proud!

  25. Carol, this is so beautiful. And boy -- do I get it. I was 25 when mom died; she was 58. So many things I wish she could see and experience with me. Places I'd like to take her or get for her (the perfect lunch, the prettiest blouse, the loveliest antique anything...). I miss her every single moment. She never saw me truly formed, yet I have become so much like her (in all the good ways, I think.) I suspect your mom would give a big grin, knowing that your creative world is so much like she would have wanted. And now, you want it too -- all that and Paris. I simply love this.

  26. Anonymous5:22 PM

    My mother lived to 96 but her mother died when she was only 11. My mother was a down-to-earth tho well educated farmgirl. She told me that when her first child was born (my sister) she held the baby, crying, and said 'If only you could see my baby Mother'. And suddenly her mother was sitting in a chair near her. 'Of course I can see your baby, Teenie' she said in a scolding comforting way. I said to Mum 'Maybe it was the anaesthetic?' but she denied the possibility. 'How clearly did she appear?' Mum replied 'As clear as you are sitting here now'. Since then I have always believed that your loved ones who have passed away can indeed see you, but not intervene. I hope his might make you feel a little happiness and you'll go to the Cafe de le Paix to please your mum. If your handkerchief came from Paris it might well have been embroidered Carole...or Caroline. Maybe not Carol. Yours is the best blog ever. Gwendoline in Australia

  27. Beautiful, colorful photos, Carol, and a beautiful Mothers' Day story!

  28. What a beautiful post Carol, I'm glad that it moved beyond just a perfume post. Your mother was way too young. I'm lucky and still have my mother here, although we don't live as near to each other as we could.

  29. This is such a beautiful post.

  30. Anonymous1:13 AM

    I love reading your posts and I look forward to them, and this one is amongst the most beautiful I've read.

  31. Anonymous2:14 AM

    Such a beautiful post from the heart. Thank you, Carol, for being so open-hearted and sharing your thoughts and memories with us. XOXOX

  32. Dear Carol, this post is beautifully written, with such love. Mother's Day is a fine day to remember sweet times.


  33. I’m sure your mom received your
    tender thoughts !!
    cela m’ a émue de lire ton post !!

  34. Thanks for sharing the story of your Mom. i miss my mum too. Lost her when i was 14 and she was 52. Too young for sure.
    Love your blog. It makes my day!

  35. Michelle3:48 PM

    I, too wish I could send my mother flowers. She died when I was 32. I think of her every time I catch a whiff of Arpege, her favorite perfume. We did however get to make a trip to Paris together along with my father. I treasure those memories. Particularly of my father's archaic French that he had learned by reading his collection of early Louisiana history books published in French in the 1600's. He was a hit with everyone who had never heard the ancient dialogue, rather like "whither goest thou?" in English. We shopped all of the antique shops that we could find, but I have no recollection of where we dined. Too bad our memories are all that we have of our dear mothers.

    1. Thank you Michelle and everyone for sharing your memories

    2. Dianne D7:29 PM

      Michelle, I just had to reply to your post. That is so cute that your dad went to Paris and spoke archaic french. I had to chuckle. Thank you for telling us.

  36. Oh how lovely & also the comments. *cries*



  37. Love this post. My mom and I used to love to visit the perfume departments on shopping trips to a mall. Shalimar, youth dew and Coco Chanel were some of our favorites. One time we went shopping before a dentist appointment and without thinking she spritzed on a few smells. Then she had to apologize to her dentist telling him she hadn't gone into a new business. She had such a sense of humor . :) it will be 20 years on the 20th she died.. on my 47 th birthday at 68..still to young. This brought back sweet memories. :)

  38. I just read your post this morning, and almost burst into tears! I lost my mother 16 years ago, and it is still painful. I was lucky to have her so long, but I have old pictures from her childhood. There is a photograph of my mother, her father, her sister, and 2 brothers, sitting in a garden, and all four children look miserable! My mother was four years old when her mother died, and she never really got over the loss. It’s painful to look at that picture, but she survived it, and went on to leave a “not very nice” step-mother, and make a better life for herself, many years later. Her mother’s mother, watched out for the 4 children, and gave them a sense of belonging and worth.
    It was lovely to read your tribute to your mother. My sister and I tend to just keep busy on Mother’s and Father’s Days, so that we can block out reality, but I think that your way is better.
    Thanks for the lovely post!
    P.S. When we were looking through the attic, when our mother decided to sell her house, and move closer to
    us, we found a box of dolls. One was a lovely French doll in a blue satin dress. We asked our mother about it
    and she said, “ Oh, Daddy was in Paris after Lillibet (my sister), was born, and he bought it for her”. We were both born in Germany, in the fifties. My sister, finally got that doll, in 1997!

    1. Thanks W for sharing your sweet memories.

      Funny. I didn't intend to touch on any of this and yet such an outpouring of memories.
      We're all vulnerable when it comes to our Moms aren't we...

  39. Well THAT made me cry.


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