White Diamonds and Mother Courage

You guys. I am, for some reason, seriously lacking inspiration lately to put up on this here blog. I am obviously out and about being sassy and classy per usual, but I am finding that when I sit down to write a post I sit here and just go, “ummm sooooo yeeeeeah.” Not cute. So here we are. Ho-hum-de-dum-dum.

Then today something tragic happened. Elizabeth Taylor died. Obviously ya’ll already know this since she was, like, a legend in so many ways. But seriously is it not super sad?! I was sad. I loved seeing her mondo-makeup’d face in pictures. And she was so beautiful even as a super hunched over old lady in a wheelchair whist going to the club and drinking martinis. We would all be blessed to be martini bar hopping in a wheelchair and still fabulously dressed with massive diamonds adorning our every joint. Yes please.

Anyway. Many other reputable publications have published wonderful tributes to Elizabeth’s life and accomplishments, among them a billion marriages and having violet colored eyes (now achievable via contact lenses) and inventing a top selling perfume, so I am not going to eugoogalize her. She was awesome and produced many quotable quotes throughout her lifetime. I mean if I married 8 times I think I could probably gain a fair amount of wisdom too. Right! But anyhooz, I think it is super cool that I am connected to Miz Taylor by only two degrees of separation! I think. It might be one degree but I’m not exactly sure how the whole degree-of-separation thing works. The point is, my dearest mother met the one and only Elizabeth Taylor and I could not be any more excited about it.

Here’s the story. I would say it’s not every day that a regular young gal gets to meet a celebrity of any kind. I guess it depends on where you’re from and where you live, but I can say with quite a bit of certainty that Momma Sassy was accustomed to “small-town” type life in small scale cities in which one does not encounter celebrities of national and international repute often. Namely Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is great, but really. Famous people haven’t lived or really visited there since Robert E. Lee was in residence on Monument Avenue. There are arguments against this but just go with me here: no one of Elizabeth Taylor’s caliber really chooses to live in a small city like Richmond without some other incentive, like marriage to a Virginia Senator for example. If you read the WSJ obituary of ET (LOLz…her initials are ET…phone home), you will know that one of her 8 marriages was to Senator John Warner, then Secretary of the Navy. During Warner’s campaign, Elizabeth famously choked on a chicken bone, thus tearing her esophagus and requiring surgery. Anyone older than Gen-Y will probably remember Saturday Night Live skits in which this was mocked. Anyone on staff at then-Richmond Memorial Hospital remembers treating her for said ailment, including the one and only Momma Sassy.

Dramatic pause for effect. Maybe this isn’t as cool for other people but it gets better. Elizabeth was put in a private room after her treatment for a couple night stay at the hospital and given around-the-clock nurse supervision, apparently primarily to prevent her from having to press the call button. I must say if I was a State Secretary’s wife in that day I’d have required the same. And Momma Sassy just happened to be one of these lucky nurses. Apparently, according to Ma, it was the coolest thing ever. She was 24 years old, aka my age, and still adjusting to life as a new nurse in a hospital. I equate this to me being a nurse and getting to be on duty for Angelina Jolie. The best part about Elizabeth in my mind is that she was the same height as my mother (and thus, same as me). Who would think! There is something about being a celebrity that makes you look taller. I mean, do any of you know that Shakira is under 5 feet? I know, right! Anyway. During her care of Elizabeth, Momma Sassy gave her a back rub AND brushed her hair. I mean. That’d be like if I got to brush Angie’s hair. Cool. I know, I sound like a 6 year old girl getting excited about brushing Barbie’s hair, but come on you guys.

Momma’s favorite part of her time with Liz was the evening they were watching TV the night that Jimmy Carter apparently was hosting an opera singer. The singer was dressed in a long and flowy caftan dress (hello, 70’s calling!) with a bunch of very blingy jewels on her fingers and wrists. Young Nurse Momma remarked at all the shiny jewels, and Elizabeth smiled at her and said, “They’re fake.” Of course, Young Nurse Momma, being young and probably never having seen a 69 carat diamond as Liz had, asked, “how do you know?” Elizabeth smiled and, pointing to her eye, simply said, “I know.”

Gasp. I mean really. I think I’d trust anyone who’d owned and worn over 150 carats worth of jewels possibly all at once to tell me if something was real or not. But how cool is that! I suspect that if I were a nurse in these times and I was assigned to sit in with Angelina Jolie or someone of equal fame/fortune, it would not be as exotic. Something about celebrities these days is much more human. They are real people because we see them do everything all day long thanks to People.com. [Love the headlines that say things like “they shop at the grocery store!” and “They go to the gym!” …I mean, duh.] But Elizabeth Taylor. She was a beauty, she had a talent, she was a mom, she was a grandmother, she was an AIDS awareness advocate (to put it mildly), she was a scandalous lover, and she was a perfume magnate. AND she was a Dame. High five to Momma Sassy for keeping composure. Even if it was just one or two nights of your entire life, It’s one of those things you never forget.

May I never have 7 husbands or 8 marriages. Though a 69 carat diamond wouldn’t be bad.

“I’ve been through it all, baby, I’m mother courage.” Elizabeth Taylor, the world will miss you. I hope you are resting peacefully on a fur-lined chaise with diamonds at your feet, girl.

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One response to “White Diamonds and Mother Courage

  1. And, to think, we’ve known each other for years and I never knew! Mama Sassy has a way of sharing her secrets one at a time, widely spaced in time, like Godiva Chocolates. Guess that’s one of her techniques for remaining sassy and mysterious in true Momma Sassy style.

    Loved the tribute MSP, as I loved Liz and continue to love diamonds!!!!!!!

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