A few years back, I wrote about “My Walk on the Wild Side.” This event came about in the late ‘90s when I was living in Vermont—I was testing the waters of being “my own woman.”
A friend at the law office had read about an upscale photography studio that was promoting a professional photo shoot complete with free hair styling and make-up sessions. She encouraged me to sign up and have some fun. “What do you have to lose? You may become famous,” she added with a grin.
I scheduled my appointments: first a new hair style, including a special style that was created especially for me. Part two of my adventure was make-up; the brushes, bottles and pots of colors and powders were dazzling. I watched in awe as the cosmetician expertly did her magic. When finished, she stepped back and patted my shoulder. The woman in the mirror was chic and elegant. It was me: daughter, mother and grandmother! Where had I been hiding?
When the big moment arrived, I was nervous; the photographer, a young woman with a sparkling personality, quickly put me at ease. She had a quick wit, and soon I was laughing, really getting into this “modeling stuff.” She used a velvet drape across my shoulders which we complemented with my own jewelry—she wanted sophistication and class. Pose after pose, shutter clicking with lightning speed, she moved around the studio. We did one pose which was strictly for fun: She smoothed a fur coat over my bare shoulders and suggested I wear long gloves and loads of pearls and sit beside a beautiful Tiffany lamp.
Lady of the evening?? What a hoot that was!
A few weeks later, the proofs were ready. I looked at the shots over and over, finding it hard to choose. Eventually, I chose two poses. One I’d frame and give to each of my family members and the second I’d keep for myself; neither choice was the “fun shot.” My boys were surprised and impressed at seeing their mother in a very different light, looking like a model.
Some months later—I had moved back to New York—I received a note from some friends. Attached to the note was a clipping from the Burlington newspaper announcing a new promotion from the photography studio. What a shock: The studio had used my “fun shot” in their ad. My friends thought I looked glamorous and sexy. I was uneasy: This shot had been strictly for laughs.
Actually, despite my discomfort, the feedback was great. Friends applauded the fact that I took such a big step out of my comfort zone and they loved the results. You were right, Gail, I did become famous for my walk on the wild side and it was a fun, fantastic trip into the world of glamour.
Now fast forward to the present day. During medical testing this year, I was admitted to the hospital for a sleep study. The diagnosis: sleep apnea.A CPAP machine was ordered. The surgical supply reps, Eddie and Miriam, delivered the machine to me and were so kind and helpful explaining this contraption that would be a part of my life, maybe forever. I led them to the bedroom in order to set up the machine. I have a long, low chest by the window and it is very meaningful and precious to me, for on this chest are family pictures: my folks, brother, sister, my kids and best friends. Sitting in the back row are the two framed photos I had chosen all those years ago.
“My God, Miriam, look how gorgeous she looks,” exclaimed Eddie.
“Oh, wow, you look like a model,” chimed in Miriam.
I told them the story of my “wild side.” They were impressed and got a kick out of my taking such a step. They also knew I was approaching my 80th birthday.
Eddie said: “You may be 80 years old, but you still have that wonderful, beautiful face. I’ve got to tell my mother about you.”
As they left my home, they both hugged me and wished me a special birthday and many years of happiness for me and my family.
“You are one stunning and remarkable lady. God bless you.”