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May 2011

Penhaligons Bluebells and a gift to Planned Parenthood!


l loved Mother’s Day as a child….It always meant that I got to get up early to make my mother breakfast in bed, which was her absolutely most favorite thing in the world to  enjoy and something that she never did because she worked  obsessively full time in the family business.  My mother was raised in the town of Champaign Urbana, Illinois and came from a European family that had been extremely wealthy for centuries, that is until they lost all of their money in The Great Depression and she never got over the feeling that the next shoe was about to drop. Sadly , as comfortable as my parents were she was never able to indulge herself easily.

 Luckily for us though whenever we were sick out would come her white wicker bed tray and the lovely Limoge bed tray set, complete with a teapot of its own and a covered plate. She made us the loveliest foods, tea, soup and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off and we’d lay in bed feeling like princesses and hoping for at least two more days of the flu so that the “treatment” could continue!

So every year starting from a very early age, Mothers Day would find me up and prowling about, first to find the bed tray and the precious porcelain set and  then into the kitchen  where I’d make her  favorite meal  of  buttered toast points with the crusts removed, fresh asparagus spears and scrambled eggs with tons of hot dogs stirred into them , diced onions and lots of American cheese. First I’d bring her the Sunday paper with instructions to  “NOT EVEN DARE GO OUT OF THE ROOM, MOTHER” and then I’d make her a pot of jasmine tea, which was another pleasure that she totally loved yet didn’t allow herself often.  

I loved making that meal all by myself in her kitchen and I always made enough so that I could have some too! The asparagus and toast points were easy  enough but the most fun were the eggs! It was a wonderful dish….first you browned the onions and hot dogs (always Kosher!) and if that didn’t smell wonderful enough then you added a bit of minced fresh garlic.  Then I would add the eggs that were gently beaten with tons of fresh chives from her garden and let the whole mess cook for a bit. Then I would add the cheese…huge glorious gobs of it …so much that the whole thing became a huge melting mess!  Fortunately for me I taught my husband and son to make this very early on!

I’d assemble the bed tray complete with her Grandmothers linen and then the last part was a quick run into the garden where holding my breath I’d search for her favorite bluebells. I never checked the day before to see if they had bloomed, that was all part of the fun. There was one little fragrant patch of them, darling little dancing pink and blue  flowers that had  been given to her by her dear friend Louise, who sadly departed this Earth long before she ever should have. For some reason they always bloomed on Mother’s day regardless of the weather!

I’d find them and pick a few stems and go dancing into the house where I’d put them into a   little Waterford bud vase. Then I’d have my father pick up the tray and we’d carry it in to their bedroom where she’d always gasp with delight and surprise! She’d eat the whole thing happily , while all the while  nestled in her bed with it’s huge white  embroidered duvet and fluffy down pillows. If it was terrible she never told me because   I guess that’s what mother’s do!  She’d finish, take a long leisurely bath (in all of the years that I knew her I do not think that she ever took a shower) and then off we’d go to the  Cleveland Museum of Art or the Botanical Gardens  and have a wonderful day.  When my son was born the tradition changed a little bit and my  family would make the same breakfast for me and then I’d quickly rush over to cook it for her! Eventually, we settled on dinner together and a lovely trip to the garden center where I’d buy her lots of flowers for her gardens and share just a lovely day enjoying her company! Bluebell_EDT

Sadly, as most of you know  a terrible stroke  took her from us several years ago.  I miss her terribly but we shared a fabulous life together and every year since  on Mothers Day I wear Penhaligon’s  beautiful “BlueBell”.  Today I am going to the   nursery to find my own little patch of bluebells to plant in a wooded corner of my new garden .  Wherever today finds you, hug your mother and keep her close. If yours is gone like mine, find some way to honor her and like she did, enjoy your children and grandchildren madly! 

 When she died we scattered her ashes along the bend of the beautiful River Road, in the shade of a willow tree that sings continuously in the wind with her favorite silver bell and her Barack Obama button.  That’s where I get to visit her…at Solstice we bring her eggnog and in a few hours I’ll bring her fresh asparagus from my new garden!

So how will you spend your Mother’s Day? My mother’s most passionate cause was Planned Parenthood, because she felt that every family deserved   the right to safe and affordable health care.  She was vigilant and in the end when she was living on a fixed income that was the one organization that she refused to stop donating to.  In her honor and yours, please leave me a comment  letting me know what you’re doing today and for every one I’ll donate a  dollar !

 Happy Mother’s Day to you all and wherever today finds you I hope that it’s filled with joy, fabulous perfume and lots of feasting!



Originally printed on my favorite perfume blog  Perfume Smellin Things