Tag Archives: Love

I’m A 9th Generation American Homosexual

Front Cover 4 FBMothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, lovers, friends. With a public declaration on page one, this candid chronicle reveals how the thoughts and emotional conquests of women who love women differ instinctively from those of their parents and the male dominant heterosexual ideologies of a patriarch society.

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Through lyrically warmed words engendering levity and benevolence these forty-nine relatable narratives shed insight on the simple dignity of an endangered female culture vanishing-by-assimilation into an age of artificial equality.

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Spanning the course of 70 years, each story embraces a different kind of love and loss that bears witness to women who triumphed in spite of the tokenism shown by both straight society, and the preponderance of recorded gay history that virtually ignores the female perspective of people and events.

There’s never been a colored, a Jew, a Democrat, a Yankee, a queer, or a woman as Mayor of this town and there never will be! Page 167 • Entire worlds exist of just two people in love. Page 78Life is a silver lining for those of us willing to scrape the surface of adversity. Page 198 • So let’s stop telling kids that bullies are a schoolroom problem graduation solves, or law enforcement can control, or Congress can legislate against. Page 35 • Sometimes life is a sleepwalk in which we see everything clearly and deny it. Page 147 • I never danced on a grave, but I did steal something from the dead, once. Page 143 • Our existence evolves through exchanges, most of it involving how we choose to spend our time in pursuit of people, places, or things on which we place the greatest value. Page 15 • Eighty days after Bobby Kennedy kissed me, he was killed. Page 111 • I wonder if any other daughter remembers the first time she made her mother cry. Page 183 • There was this dog we loved and lost on Christmas morning, 1951. It changed everything. Page 95 • Back then, those of us in love with another woman conducted our lives without a need for labels or social acceptance. Page 13 • I want every woman to fall in love with the person who has fallen in love with her. Page 63 • There sat a black cat yowling through quivering whiskers. Page 47 • Because I didn’t know that Ann had been told I was queer, and I didn’t know Ann told all our mutual friends her mother said I was queer, and I didn’t know her mother told the parents of mutual friends I was queer, and I didn’t know certain teachers were warned of the same. Page 68 • But I don’t think he understands that most of us don’t want to be enslaved by the duplicities of straight society. Page 176 • et cetera

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Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?

by Marguerite Quantaine

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NOW IN PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON

FOR RELEASE ON KINDLE MAY 13,  2019

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Marguerite+Quantaine&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Paperback • Bookstores • Libraries  • Special Order • May 31st

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Thank you!

 

 

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TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN

The Golden KeyIn order to love truly and long, one must always put words — especially those spoken in spite — within the context of the moment, and decide whether past words spoken in love are more precious and true than those spewed in anger.
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Ultimately, ones capacity of heart is judged, not by what another forgives, but by what you forgive — and not by what you choose to remember, but by what you choose to forget.
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Truth is seldom what an outsider looking in concludes. More often, truth becomes what we need others to believe in order for us to survive during dire times we helped create. Truth can be deceptive and troubling and biased. It always has an agenda.
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Never choose the weakness of today’s truth over the power of tomorrow’s forgiveness. That’s like betting your heart, in a fixed race, on a blind horse named Regret.

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist. She is the author of the highly praised IMOGENE’S ELOISE: Inspired by a true story © 2014.

Her second book, Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?, is a collection of true stories demonstrating how women who lead heartfelt lives find purpose and feel joy.


NOW ON AMAZON & AVAILABLE IN BOOKSTORES NATIONWIDE
You are urged to LOOK INSIDE for a try-before-you-buy FREE READ of the first 3 chapters on Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Marguerite+Quantaine&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

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THIS BEARS REPEATING

Bears RepeatingSixteen friends called it quits in March. Adultery was cited as the cause in 5 of the 8 couple splits. I’m saddened when I learn of such heartbreak. Here’s why:
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I once knew a woman who was a serial cheater, oozing charm whenever she wanted to seduce someone. Mostly, she targeted women with troubled lives. To gain their trust, she claimed to be the victim of a failed relationship. She fed them with words she knew only damaged women longed to hear. She raised them up while having her way with them. She promised them a future. She convinced them that they needed her. Eventually and inevitably, she ditched them. And, just to ensure none would chase after her, the last words she spoke to each woman she cut loose were: “No wonder nobody loves you.”
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Infidelity is such an old and popular game of deception, you’d think women would have learned to avoid cheaters by now.
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But no. Women persist in thinking they’ll be the one to tame the fox welcomed into their henhouse.
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The fact is this: Every woman on earth has been victimized to some extent during her lifetime. Every . . . single . . . one of us.
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Where love is involved, some choose to be perpetual victims, always eager for the ‘ideal’ person to choose them, accepting of similar characteristics in new partners to replace the former, growing old and stale like hard candy until all traces of sweetness have dissolved into bitterness.
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A toxic indicator of having been victimized is chronic rage, a corollary of post-traumatic stress syndrome. When physical, verbal, or emotional abuse is experienced for extended periods (especially during childhood) it never leaves you. Certain words or actions push buttons in your brain creating a fight-or-flight frenzy, unleashing the dormant fury.
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The thing is, we all tend to blame others for rages directed at us — while excusing our own rages directed at others — in order to justify the decisions we make.
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This is where the intent of the heart comes in.
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In the aftermath of tears and loneliness that are sure to follow once rage erupts, you must learn to measure the intent of your heart against the intent of the heart of the person who hurt you. You must. Only then will walking away be easier than staying; leaving be easier than being left.
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The death of love is intended to be the hardest learned lesson in the test of time.
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Because the reward of love is priceless.
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So, try to remember the journey you took with the other person — not from the end of it looking back, but from the memory of the start. Chart how it soared. Determine if you made every effort to catch it when it began to teeter, every effort to shore it up when it started to crumble, every effort to revive it before you let it die.
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Own that you aren’t innocent. Own your part in the turmoil. Own the buttons you pushed. Own the choices you made that enabled the demise of your life together. Own the carrot of false hope you dangled long after hope in you was gone. Own the lies you told to yourself and others.
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If you’re hurting, join a support group to find comfort and get help. You can’t recover alone. But don’t allow the group to become your only source for self-esteem. Have an exit plan from it.
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Then, every morning, face yourself in the mirror and ask: Have I cast myself as a victim? Do I look like one? Have I presented myself to others as such? Do I enjoy being seen as a victim? Is victimhood my aspiration?
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If not, don’t adopt that image. Don’t encourage or allow others to attach that tag to you. Don’t become a poster girl for victimhood.
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Because, in the short term, you might find the comfort you need and the support you deserve — but in the long term, there are only two types of people you’ll attract:
(1) Those who embrace their suffering, dwell on their past, and treat being victimized as their red badge of courage.
(2) Those who will target you as prey to be used and abused again.
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Victims say, “I am who I am because of …”
Survivors say, “I am who I am in spite of …”
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Be a survivor.
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On behalf of all essayists and authors — my heartfelt thanks!

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist. She is the author of Imogene’s Eloise: Inspired by a true story © 2014 and Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?, due for release on Amazon in April, 2019.

WITH GRACE AND GRATITUDE

Won't You Be My Honey

The first time I spotted the alligator in the murky waters of a man-made lake framing luxurious condos on one side and a city park on the other, I worried aloud for the safety of the mallards, Muscovy, and white, waddling ducks, the snapping turtles, giant goldfish, flock of pristine egrets, and wading blue heron, making their homes in the marshes there.

“And, the kids who play in this park,” my sweetheart added.

I didn’t respond. Not that I would ever want a person of any age to be harmed by an alligator, but there was no imminent danger in that. Only the nature-preying-nature lurked.

The lake is more for show and tell by realtors looking to justify pricey units with a view. There’s no swimming allowed, and since it’s illegal to feed wildlife in Florida outside of a reserve, observing nature in this park is mostly done from a deck built 15 feet above, and stretching 20 feet out over the water, where picnic tables are placed for brown baggers wondering what so many thieving sea gulls are doing there, some sixty miles inland.

At first, all I saw were the mammoth marble shaped alligator eyes, trolling the lake’s surface, leaving innocent ripples of water in his wake.

“Or,” she said when I pointed out the marauding eyeballs, “it’s a submarine.”

“No, hon, I’m pretty certain it’s an alligator.”

“But, I’m thinking…”

“It’s a gator, okay?”

“I’m just saying what it could be,” she persists, as the tire-like tracks on it’s back emerges. “Or, maybe one in camouflage to look like an alligator, so no one would suspect.”

Really, who am I to say otherwise? I thought.

We only visit this particular park once a year, in September or October, depending on what date the High Holy Days fall.

I won’t expound on the significance of these 10 days for those of you who aren’t Jewish, but I will share the custom of casting bread upon the water (tashlikh) as a symbol of one’s transgressions being disposed of. Unlike other religions, Jews don’t believe in original sin. Instead, we’re born pure, acquiring our indiscretions with age, intent, or ignorance along the way.

But, if we’re sincere in saying “I’m sorry” to those we’ve wronged, and have done good without expectation in return, and made an earnest effort to mend fences, the sin slate gets wiped clean on Yom Kippur, giving each of us another chance to get life right, and do it better.

The disclaimer appears in the setting of the sun, symbolizing the closing of the Book of Life, when even skeptics (secretly) want their names, and those of their loved ones inscribed therein — although no one learns who makes the cut until the High Holy Days roll around again the following year. (Because only those remaining in the here and now know if they were inscribed back in the then and there.)

For the record, I’m very disorganized about organized religion, to the point of anti-it.

But I do like everything about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the culmination of 10 days of introspection, taking stock of one’s life, offering amends, being grateful for whatever cards have been dealt, making promises and looking forward while witnessing the sun sink behind the trees, or beneath the ocean, or into the hills.

Of course, I’m pulling for more than family and friends. I want my pets to be included in that Book of Life, too, and mercy shown for all the animals on earth. I want children to be protected, and hurts healed. I want every woman to fall in love with the person who has fallen in love with her. My list is long. I ask a lot. It takes me the full 10 days to catalog all the hope in my heart.

———– TO CONTINUE ————
THE ABOVE ESSAY REPRESENTS AN EXCERPT FROM:
Seriously, Mom, you didn’t Know?
by Marguerite Quantaine © Copyright © 2019
NOW ON AMAZON & AVAILABLE IN BOOKSTORES NATIONWIDE
You are urged to LOOK INSIDE on Amazon for a try-before-you-buy FREE READ of the first 3 chapters.

Find Me On Amazon • Friend Me On Facebook •  Follow Me On Twitter

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This essay was first published entitled See Ya Later Alligator in 2015 and continues to be revisited each year at this time in memory of those who have passed, and with hopes we all continue to be written into The Book of Life. ~ 

Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist and author.  Copyright, © 2015-2018

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I’m all eyes and heart.

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HUSH, HUSH SWEET CHARLATON

Essayist & Author
Marguerite Quantaine

My late sister, Kate, believed in truth. She thought she recognized it, practiced it, and that it would prevail. But I’m no longer sure truth ever was, or will be — nor am I certain of it’s prevalence in society today.

Because all truth stems from whatever is written as fact, and even the most inspired of wordsmiths are writers-at-soul choosing multiple elements of speech, edicts, merged thoughts, external influence, doubt in some entities rarely balanced by confidence in others, and a necessity for meticulous punctuation in order to advance beliefs, all the while knowing the end result will be subjected to individual interpretations using numerous mediums regardless of the author’s intent.

Enter our willingness to believe whatever we’re being told and — worse yet — our parroting of those narratives, as if each utterance was an original thought from which we’ll eventually justify any errors of our ways by citing a misdirected faith in the charisma of charlatans dressed in fleece.

Now, don’t get me wrong by taking me out of context.

I harbor no objection to people having  faith. It’s often a convenient, efficient, popular, time-honored tradition that’s easier to embrace than most are willing to admit, and necessary to the survival of even the unfittest.

What I question is our inclination to believe the worst in others, as if in doing so we’ll esteem ourselves in the presence of those whose alliance we crave.

What I find dubious is our rallying for the very rights we join school cliques, and group cliques, and office cliques, and organization cliques, and awards cliques to deny to those unwilling to join our cliques.

What I cannot fathom is the instant exclusion of those we’ve never met and never spoken to based solely on what we’ve heard from a friend, or associate about the stranger.

Think of how many times you’ve united against bullying in our schools over the past decade, assailing the abusiveness of name-callers as detriments to society.

And yet, nearly half of us voted for a name-caller to lead us and participated in the notion of locking up a person who has never been arrested, booked, tried, or convicted of a crime in her lifetime.

In a patriarchal society — which ours is — I can understand how misogyny can flourish among males.

But the implausibility of misogyny is such that I can’t understand how it thrives among females.

Except, maybe I do?

Perhaps it’s because every news anchor, commentator, journalist, politician, and figurehead over the past year failed to question (what I’m inclined to recognize as) the ecclesiastical elephant in the room.

I first felt the enormity of it’s presence forty years ago when I refused to attend the wedding of my brother.

At the time I’d been in love with my Elizabeth for seven years, a woman who’d not only been crucial to saving my life after a catastrophic car crash, but had eagerly, earnestly, and single-handedly tended to my long-term recovery for five of those seven years.

Nevertheless, the invitation to my brother’s nuptials didn’t list Elizabeth’s name, nor did it include her as a plus-one option.

As a result, I declined the invitation.

Now before you feel any politically correct indignation on my behalf, please don’t.

Remember, it was 1977. Homosexuality had only recently been declassified as a mental disease, while me and mine were still labelled by law as felons at risk of being arrested, indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced as such. We were social misfits. Deviants. A cause for embarrassment.

Even now there remains places in America where being homosexual is still regarded as a detainable offense, though not prosecutable; municipalities where dissident profiling can prevent police from responding to assaults, or delay ambulances from arriving in a timely manner; where medical treatment is subpar, and getting away with causing a death could go unnoticed, or be ignored altogether.

(It’s here you should take umbrage.)

———– TO CONTINUE READING ————
THE ABOVE ESSAY REPRESENTS AN EXCERPT FROM:
Seriously, Mom, you didn’t Know?
by Marguerite Quantaine © Copyright © 2019
NOW ON AMAZON & AVAILABLE IN BOOKSTORES NATIONWIDE
You are urged to LOOK INSIDE on Amazon for a try-before-you-buy FREE READ of the first 3 chapters.

Find Me On Amazon • Friend Me On Facebook •  Follow Me On Twitter

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist and author.
Her novel, IMOGENE’S ELOISE : Inspired by a true-love story
is available on AMAZON, in paperback , and on Kindle.
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Note: Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and add your thoughts by selecting Leave A Message here. I’m all eyes and heart. 
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MY LIFE OF CRIME & PUNISHMENT

Little Tots Prayer

The first thing I ever did to indicate the direction I was heading resulted from letting my kid sister, Kate, annoy me. I was 3.3 at the time and tiny for my age; she was a martinet of 2 and already bigger and brighter than me.
We lived in a drafty 19th century farmhouse on the brick street of a south side neighborhood in a small midwestern town back then, where her crib sat in my parents bedroom, being used one night to corral us while company visited.
It was late. We were lying back-to-back. I was weary and wanting to sleep. She was incessantly demanding that I “Get out! Get out! Get out! Get out!” of her bed until I got fed up and gave her a reason to bellyache.
I peed on her.
That was my crime.
As punishment, every person Kate introduced me to from that night onward included the preamble, “This is my sister, Margie. When we were kids she peed on me,” invariably prompting the retelling of our toddler turf war.
The last time she introduced me was to her late shift hospice nurse in May of 2015. It’s allowed her to maintain the upper hand on my heart, forevermore.

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When I was not quite five I crossed a busy street in the middle of the block after being warned never to do so.
That was my crime.
As punishment I was, first, hit by a taxicab, and then vilified by my kindergarten teacher, Miss Beech, for losing the school’s celebrated green-and-white stick figure safety flag awarded to the most accident-free district. I spent all of kindergarten, first, and much of second grade shunned.
The alienation ended when we moved from our neighborhood into the school district that was presented the prestigious safety flag after my mishap.

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In junior high school my best friend was Beverly Brown. During the summer of 1959 we’d frequent the Bloomfield Elementary School playground where all the neighborhood kids hung out.
One day I discovered the basement door to the school was left open. Upon further exploration, I found I could easily walk through the door of the humongous furnace, and crawl through the boiler tunnels leading to classrooms located on the first and second floors.
Inspired, I became an entrepreneur as The Bloomfield Boiler Guide charging a quarter per tour, commencing with a Cokes & Chips Party in the furnace chamber while whistling to Mitch Miller’s The River Kwai blaring repetitively on Bev’s Stromburg Carlson portable record player.
That was my crime.
At the end of the first tour we were, one-by-one, greeted by police officers as we gaily emerged from the furnace and transported by patrol cars, sirens screaming all the way to the joint where we were sentenced to sit on hard benches behind bars until parents arrived to spring us.
That was my punishment.
Bev’s were there within minutes. Mine never came.
After six hours, a change in shift occurred and I was released to walk home feeling my claim to chain gang fame crumble.

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At age 14, I forged my parents signatures to wangle a coveted 40 hour a week job working 5 hour weeknights and 15 hour Saturdays as the record department sales and inventory control clerk at Hopkins, the most popular electronics store in town.
The Hopkins family consisted of the Magooish father, Robert, Sr., who was obsessed with soybeans, and two feuding brothers, Motorola Bob and Prince John, the latter being a local disc jockey who depended on me to choose the best of the latest released demo records arriving daily in the mail for playing on his prime time show. All three men were members of the Kiwanis Club which placed a freestanding, glass globe, stainless steel Ford Gumball machine at the entrance to my music department.
Ford gumballs came in pristine white, cadmium yellow, royal blue, Pepto pink, and verdant green, each with a fiend thirsty flavor cementing a brisk business as the best penny chews of the 50s and 60s.
Back then, 45 RPM records were a buck plus one cent tax the dollar, so Magoo kept plenty of pennies on the top of the cash register to pay the tax for any customer short of change.
As it so happened, I was addicted to Ford gumballs.
That was my crime.
I used the freebie pennies and a few from the till to treat my multi-record buying customers to a free gumball without thinking to inform the trio.
Many miles and decades later I learned the missing cents — sometimes as many as 20 a day — were wreaking havoc each evening when Motorola cashed out the register and came up short against the receipts. He swore Prince was stealing change to keep the books from ever balancing. The discourse turned so beastly between accusations and denials that one day Prince packed up and moved his family to Texas.
My punishment was in learning I was the trigger, much too late.
Not that Motorola would have admitted any error, and not that Prince would have accepted any apology, and not that Magoo cared beyond the ticker tape apparatus (next to the gumball machine) operating 24/7/365 tracking the soy bean market.
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As a corporate executive in New York City for the designer line of the largest provider of leisurewear in the nation, I’d occasionally gift a sample pair of pajamas, ‘borrowed’ from the showroom for delivery to a very wealthy friend who pestered me for a freebie each time she planned a new paramour sleepover.
That was my crime.
One day I was served with a subpoena to appear in court to testify as “the other women” in a high profile NYC divorce proceeding.
It seems the wife of my friend’s lover had discovered her husband’s affair and promised not to divorce him as long as he told her the name of his mistress. Unbeknownst to me, my friend suggested her lover give the wife my name instead of hers, thereby allowing them to continue the affair without consequence.
Hubby complied, never suspecting his wife would use the confession as proof of his infidelity, backfiring on all three of them once I was deposed.
That wasn’t my punishment.
That was my cure.
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Life is a silver lining for those of us willing to scrape the surface of adversity.
At five, I may not have grasped the words, but I already knew how oppression is forged from the indignation of adults. Being alienated taught me to observe more, listen closely, talk less, read well, recognize the treachery of language, and understand that bullying won’t be curtailed from the child up until it’s eradicated from the parent, down. Oh, and by the way, it doesn’t take getting hit in the head by a taxi cab to learn that.
As for those in uniform, it’s true, I still challenge authority. But I never again broke into another school (unless you count the times I didn’t get caught), and I make every effort to shake the hand of all police officers I encounter, thanking them for their service while trying not to whistle The River Kwai as I work the crowd.
Meanwhile, the mere mention of gumballs requires I battle temptations to buy a vintage Ford machine on eBay as a tribute to Motorola, Prince and Magoo who taught me the invaluable skills that eventually landed me a job in Manhattan where I sang New York, New York with gusto after turning the head of Ol’ Blue Eyes when we passed as strangers in the night outside the 21 Club.
Which takes me to the brink of divorce court with one of the most interesting and exciting bad influences I ever had the endless pleasure of knowing — and leaves me within the aura of my sister, Kate, who remained my loyal partner in crime and laughter for the balance of her life.
Sleep sweet my peep.

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Copyright Marguerite Quantaine © 2017
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I’m all eyes and heart.
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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist and author.
Her novel, Imogene’s Eloise : Inspired by a true-love story
is available on AMAZON, in paperback and Kindle. Please choose LOOK INSIDE
for a free read of several chapters before you consider buying.

A RARE AND VALUABLE COMMODITY

FranCat

FranCat


While watching a rerun of The Antiques Roadshow broadcasting from Tulsa, I got a message from my friend, Frances Walker Phipps. It was sent to me from infinity and beyond, but arrived just fine. No dropped call.
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     Frances was a reporter for several Connecticut newspapers, the antiques columnist for The New York Times Connecticut Weekly, the author of several definitive reference books on American antiques and colonial kitchens, and the founder of The Connecticut Antiques Show (1973), touted as one of the five most prestigious such events in the nation. Renown as a barracuda among a tribe of elite dealers who vied for the chance to earn a space in her much envied function, Frances determined what could, or could not be displayed on the show floor; what was, or was not an authentic antique. Her strict vetting of merchandise on preview night was surreptitiously referred to as the Phipps ‘reign of terror’.
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     The Tulsa Roadshow featured a woman who presented a folk art doll for discovery. I don’t own a folk art doll, but I do have a folk art cat that Frances gave me from her private collection of antiques dating from the 17th and 18th century, like most of the chairs, tables, cupboards, beds, books and decorations in her Haddam, Connecticut home. Hand stitched from swatches of forget-me-not floral broadcloth and twisted black yarn to form it’s Queen Anne stylized eyes, nose, mouth, whiskers, and outline of front legs with four toes, the coveted cat is in remarkable condition, even with the two small tears near it’s right eye, and drops of dried blood near it’s heart. I suspect the cat is older and rarer than the Roadshow doll appraised at fifteen hundred dollars.
     The assessment made me smile — not for the price it garnered, but for what Frances said in my head: 
     “Bull.”
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     Frances was once an attractive woman with thick, wavy hair, a bright smile, a great mind, and a fervor for the preservation of Colonial Americana. 
     But by the time we first met she’d matured into an unpretentious, stout woman with a big bust, a fierce wit, an untamed tongue, rumpled clothes, a bad wig pulled down like a wool cap onto her head, and a folded over Kleenex stuffed behind the right lens of her black horn-rimmed classes to hide a socket ravaged by a malignant tumor.
     We were introduced by her ex, Midgie Donaldson, on opening night of the Connecticut Antiques Show in 1975 when I was the editor of a fledgling magazine, The Antiquarian, and she was the highly respected authority wielding power and influence over dealers selling to the rich and famous. 
     “So, you came here thinking I’d teach you all about antiques. Is that it?” she proposed.
     “No-o,” I counterpointed. “But I heard you have an eye for it.” 
     We bonded instantaneously.
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     Back then, those of us in love with another woman conducted our lives without a need for labels, or social acceptance. One simply knew by the level of trust demonstrated and access allowed who was, or wasn’t ‘in the life’ — and knowing was enough to make you relax your behavior to match the trust and respect given, or strengthen your guard wherever zealots loomed. The antiques trade has always had its share of both, but nothing interferes with doing business.
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     One summer morning a year later my Elizabeth accepted a lunch invitation to Frances’ beach house in Westport, about 90 minutes from our Huntington, NY home. After we’d driven the 29 miles of the Long Island Expressway, crossed over the Throgs Neck Bridge, exited onto I-95 and traveled another 30 miles towards Stamford, I glanced at the telephone number to call in case we got lost in Westport.
     “This isn’t a Connecticut number,” I noted while pulling an Esso map out of the glove box to search the index.
     “Whadaya mean?”
     “This area code is for Westport, Massachusetts.”
     “So?”
     “So? So? It’s another 150 miles down the road.”
     “Oh, like I was supposed to know that?”
     “You could have asked.”
     “I didn’t want to appear stupid.”
     “Oh, sure. I get it. As if accepting a lunch date in the morning from someone 250 miles from Huntington registered as smart. Uh-huh.”
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     It was after four when we finally dragged ourselves through the door of the beach house, but before I could offer an explanation, or apology, Frances hurled a cotton stuffed calico cat at me and smirked, “That’s for making the crack about my ‘eye’ for antiques!” 
     “Oh yeah?” I sputtered. “Well, then I’m keeping this ratty old rag cat!”
     “As intended, my dear. As intended.”
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     In April of 1986, on the morning of the Connecticut Spring Antiques Show evening opening, we didn’t find Frances in her Manager Only curtained cubbyhole at the back of the Hartford Armory auditorium.
     “She might still be at the hospital,” offered Midgie. “She’s not due here until noon.” 
     But a feeling inside me forewarned otherwise, so we drove down to the New Britain hospital and requested her room number. 
     “You can’t see her right now,” a nurse told us, visibly shaken. “She was accidentally given a double dose of chemo and the doctors are with her now.”
     “Will you tell her we’re here?”
     “Who shall I say . . .”
     “Marge and Liz. Tell her we’re right here waiting for her.”
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     Hours later, after the 3 p.m. shift change, a different nurse asked, “You’re here to see someone?” 
     “Frances Phipps.”
     “Are you family?”
     “No. Friends.”
     “I’m sorry, but only family members are allowed to see, or inquire about Miss Phipps. Hospital rules.”
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     By the time we left Hartford that night there was still no word from Frances. The gala went off without a hitch. It was well past midnight when we finally got home, and nearly noon before we heard the news that Frances had passed away. The obituary said she died of a heart attack at 62.
     Bull.
francatback
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     Here’s the thing: Our existence evolves through exchanges, most of it involving how we choose to spend our time in pursuit of whom, or on what we place the greatest value. 
     Just as the woman at The Antiques Roadshow planned to sell her ancestor’s rag doll in order to ensure her present, so did Frances Phipps plan on preserving her 200 year old calico cat in order to ensure her memory.
     Ultimately, life is calculated, not by what we let go of from our wallets, but by what we hang onto in our hearts.

     Rag doll: $1,500.00
     Rag Cat: Priceless.

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Copyright Marguerite Quantaine © 2016
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I’m all eyes and heart.

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist and author.
Her novel, Imogene’s Eloise : Inspired by a true-love story
is available on AMAZON, in paperback and Kindle. Please choose LOOK INSIDE
For a free read of several chapters before buying.
SheMagRev
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