On an unseasonably warm late September day in Paris, the aroma of starched cuffs and exotic flowers mingling in the air, I lean in the doorway of the hat shop on the Rue St. Honoré, marveling at the spectacle of women in heavy fur coats as they move up the sidewalk, exotic cats on display at the zoo. They navigate the thoroughfare in teeter tottery heels so thin I expect them to snap at the merest touch of weight upon pavement. The season of straw and light coats is behind these women. Global warming does not intrude upon the haute couture-dictated French season-appropriate fashion. The hats are felt, with feathers or baubles, or simple bands of ribbon. Some women already wear leather gloves with fur-fluttery wrists. Their cold-season fragrance, patchouli, amber, lavender, things white and clean, starched, perfect, assails the open doorway where, behind me, a theft has just taken place.
I watch them dazed, as they move in and out of focus. I watch them in a suspended state of disbelief, mothers bustling their wooly coated children, nannies with drawn faces and impatient animal hands. The hat box in my hand is weighted down with pent-up frustration.
I turn back to my ruined afternoon. The little shop is a study in miniature royal elegance. A small crystal chandelier hangs from a gilded ceiling. The walls are of pale blue with gold trim that reminds me of photos I’ve seen of the Palace of Versailles. We did not get to Versailles. The French are in the midst of their traditional tourist season strike, or grève. No Louvre or St. Chapelle, no Musée D’Orsay or Rodin Museum, either. So instead we have come shopping, searching for that one little treasure to bring home that will make this trip, this tiresome, expensive venture, all worthwhile.
In the corner, a fan blows warm air, lifting the feathers and tulle of custom-made hats that sit upon the shelves like a chorus line of empty heads. Only moments before one caught my eye, a rosy beige straw hat with organza leaves across the brim. With reverence, I lifted it from its puffy velour throne and stood before the gilt-edged mirror, placed it upon my head, tilted it this way and that as I posed and smiled at my reflection. I ran my fingertips across the brim, amazed how it fit my small head to perfection. It reflected back at me with a smile. It held out hope of a life transformed, the same hope I hold out for every purchase, though instinct told me this time was different. I needed this hat badly. I ached for transformation.
I held the organza frills between my thumb and forefinger, felt their soft promise roll over my skin. The rose-colored straw cast a tint of health over my pale skin. The straw smelled clean, untouched.
A yellow tag dangled from the brim, its price written in francs with black ink. I took the hat off, lay the yellow tag across my palm, closed my eyes and prayed.
When I opened my eyes I saw it was a lot. But not more than a lot. I double checked the numbers to make certain the one was not really a European seven, something I’d nearly missed a few times. A mistake like that would have pretty much cleaned out my savings account. With only a few days left in Paris I had just enough money, the flotsam of a week of frugal spending, to buy this hat. I’d turned away from the artists hawking overwrought prints along the Rue de Rivoli, mostly of the Notre Dame or Eiffel Tower. I’d walked out of the shop on the Champs-Élysées that sold lingerie so beautiful it nearly made my heart stop, mauve silk with black hand-made lace, but where the price of every item seemed to start with that odd, deceptive European seven. I spent not a single franc in the museum shops, since they were all closed. I regretted the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory. I regretted the L’Orangerie with its display of Monet’s watercolor lilies. I’d missed out on the medieval stained glass windows of La Chapelle. The French museum workers conspired to wreck the tourist trade and make a point, that the city and the tourist trade cannot survive without them. But they’d saved me money, so I was not complaining.
I vowed this would be my hat, my trophy, my souvenir, which I’d wear to God knows where, but since I am a writer of fiction I stood there with the holding the hat in upturned palms like an offering as I wrote a novella around the events to attend that required this very hat – the dinner honoring my Pen Faulkner nomination; lunch with my agent at the Ritz, although I haven’t made enough from my writing to afford a box of Ritz. Tea with the French Prime Minister; we’ll sit in his palatial garden sipping a musky Lapsang Souchong from Mariage Frères and he’ll say, “why Mrs. Beaufort-Worth, I’m so glad you wore that hat. It’s what made me notice your picture on the back of your novel.”
With a hat like this, I might achieve wondrous things.
“Let me try that,” my mother’s voice creeping up behind me still rings in my ears as I stand there in the doorway, looking out at women, waiting to see if one falls off her shoes and breaks a leg. A nanny pushing a very large, elaborate stroller stops to peer into the window. She wears a camel hair coat and a black felt chapeau with a red rose on the side. The child inside the stroller is sleeping, two fingers stuck in her mouth and spittle collecting around her lips. She looks so small and lost in that vast expanse of stroller. Her bonnet with its white lace ruffles has slipped to the side of her head and the sun is full on her. The nanny’s face as she looks in the window is drawn, her expression grim, but there is something of curiosity in her eyes when she spots me standing there. She nods as though in sympathy, as though to say, “mothers, what can you do? Hide your hats.” Then she is off, pushing her stroller with the sleeping lost child, and I wonder as they prance down the sidewalk whether the nanny borrowed the hat or if it’s hers, and why she doesn’t adjust the child’s bonnet to keep the sun off her fair head.
As I watch the nanny stop and adjust her own hat, I relive that moment when I see my mother’s demanding little arthritic hands in their rosy crocheted gloves reach for my hat. Instinctively, I draw away, put the hat behind me knowing it’s too late.
Her fingers have a depressingly claw-like jaggedness and her knuckles are swollen and look like the knotty bumps on a tree. She is wearing rosy mauve crocheted gloves. At night she wears black spandex gloves that are supposed to relieve the pain. This morning when I went to wake her up, she was snoring softly, her small black gloved hands lying outside the covers, and as I leaned over to kiss her good-morning, the sight of them broke my heart.
“Let me try that.” Her rosy crocheted claws reach out.
Reluctantly I hand it over.
My mother is sitting in a wheelchair. My husband, Richard, pushes her to a mirror where she puts it on and admires herself. “It looks good on me,” she smiles. “It’s a little big.”
“We can take care of that Madame,” a sales clerk with a blonde beehive straight out of an early Deneuve movie, skin like damp marble and gold loop earrings large enough to perch parakeets, suddenly appears from behind heavy purple drapes. She moves with a film star chic, definably perfect as only the French can manage and, I decide, fake. As she makes her entrance, I look up to see if there’s a glittering marquis over her head, half expecting someone to yell “lights, camera, action,” or the French equivalent. She sashays up to my mother and takes the hat, my hat, runs a finger along the inside. Richard, shrugs an apology as I stare at my mother and the salesclerk, two traitors trampling my fantasies into dust.
“We can put something in the brim to make it smaller,” the salesclerk says. She smiles and I see that her teeth are stained and not quite straight. I’m certain her French accent is phony. Her vowels are over-done, like British actors badly playing French in so many of the BBC mysteries I’ve watched at home. I make up her life story, a failed drama student from some obscure, shabby English village, and this lessens the pain of her complicity in the great hat theft taking place right in front of me.
She takes a needle and thread from behind the counter, makes a few quick tucks in the brim into which she then inserts some thin spongy material that shrinks it just enough to fit my mother’s head. My mother is grinning like a Notre Dame gargoyle. She admires herself in the mirror where my hat is reflected back to me framing her doll-like face with its smoky blue eyes and ivory parchment-creased skin.
My husband stands back, arms folded over his chest, in his “I’ve got nothing to do with this” posture. I mouth the words “traitorous dog.” He smiles, winks.
“I’ll buy you another hat,” my mother says, but nothing catches my eye and all I really want is to escape this stuffy shop with its heavy drapes, its tacky chandelier and grimy blue Versailles-walled, headless atmosphere. I remember from a French history class in college that people used to piss in the corners at Versailles and the great Hall of Mirrors was a vast wasteland of smelly armpits, lice-riddled wigs and shit-slippery floors.
At last, the salesgirl takes out a wide-brimmed red hat with black lace over the crown. It fits in its second best, disappointed way. It is also a third again more expensive than the original. I smile and say, “I’ll take it.”
To her credit, my mother doesn’t complain about the price. At 83, she’s retired and living on a fixed income, but since Richard and I have paid for this trip she hasn’t had to put out a single franc. She buys the hat for me and now I stand looking out onto the Rue St. Honoré with its furry female cats and overpowering perfume, its treacherous nannies and overwrought mothers with their sweltering children, waiting while the salesclerk puts my hat into a box meant for my mother.
Up until this, my mother has never flown over the Atlantic, never set foot on European soil although she’s talked about it often enough, wanting to see every blade of grass trod upon by her Beaufort ancestors. To her mind, she has had a wonderful five days. We’ve taken her to the Galleries Lafayette where she scoffed at the prices and made us wheel her throughout the store until we sweated with exhaustion in search of a restroom. She had lunch at Printemps, where, beneath a stained glass dome radiant with overhead light that showered rainbows onto our table, she complained about the saltiness of her soup. She’s stood under the Eiffel Tower and seen Montmarte but we might as well have taken her to a K Mart on Route 1 in Hicksville, USA for all it seemed to impress her. She’s taken unforgettable taxi rides, including a drive past the spot where Princess Diana was killed, which she claims is the highlight of her trip so far. This worries me. She’s been on a hair-raising race through the Place de l’Étoile, where she had to shut her eyes to keep from screaming, and after which we all laughed till our sides hurt. Even if she’s missed some of the world’s most famous art, she’s been to Mass and Communion at Notre Dame, something she will brag about back home, donning some holier than thou mantel as she strides down the hall of her senior apartment complex. Richard has pushed her up and down the narrow, dank, and moldy-smelling alleyways of Père-Lachaise Cemetery where I bored her with the history of the Communards, even pointing out the bullet holes that still exist in the upper wall.
“On May 28, 1871 during what’s called la semaine sanglante, or the bloody week,” I explained, sounding like the scholar I wished I were. “Government troops lined 147 Communards against this very wall and shot them.” We were standing at the Mur des Fédérés, where a plaque and clearly visible bullet holes marked the spot where the Communards were killed.
“Were any of our relatives among them?” she asked, and when I could not say they were for certain, she gave me a dismissive wave.
“Let’s go and see Balzac’s tomb,” I suggested, and mom slumped liked I’d asked her if she wanted to have a root canal. “I want to go shopping,” she said. We went by a large granite edifice with the name “Beaufort” carved at the top. Mom pointed this out and said “there, you see? Our ancestors. I wonder which one of them is buried there.” As she went on with her speculations, I held back from pointing out that Beaufort is about as common a name in France as Smith is in the U.S. We had as much chance of being related to a Beaufort that rated space in Père-Lachais as of being related to the Vanderbilts. We wheeled her past Edith Piaf’s tomb, whom she remembered from The Ed Sullivan Show, and left.
She’s dined at a four star restaurant near the Place de la Concord, eaten the world’s best pizza in the Eighth Arrondisement, and had a grand time rummaging through the displays of cosmetics at Sephora, a purple-walled emporium of beauty excess on the Champs Élysées. After two hours during which Richard sat on a bench outside while I wheeled her around with an aching back, she settled on an eyebrow pencil, face cream and mascara. After an exhausting day of pushing her up and down every quais between the Left and Right Bank, we went back to our hotel with its view of the Arc de Triomphe and ordered dinner from room service. My mother lifted the silver lid off the platter, stared down at the thick, fatty, very expensive slices of ham, held a slice up by the edge of her fork, and with a look that would have shriveled Robespierre’s testicles said, “The French have a lot of nerve calling this meat.” Then she threw it down on the plate and said she “couldn’t eat this,” even though her hands were shaking with diabetic need. Richard went into the bedroom and tore the buttons off his shirt with his teeth.
So when a flush of guilt hits me over the price of this hat, I push it down, reminding myself that my mother has made my husband break a tooth and just stolen the best hat I’ve ever almost owned.
We spend the afternoon at a small café on a back street off the Right Bank. The sky is startlingly blue and cloudless. It is warm and humid so near the river, but there is a slight breeze and the umbrella at our table shades us from the sun. My mother sits across from me in her blue checkered JC Penney shirt and baseball cap with the name of some small-town baseball team I’ve never heard of. I wonder why she isn’t wearing her hat, then remember she left it at the hotel.
“Why aren’t you wearing your new hat, mom?” I sip coffee that is making my hands shake. I do not drink caffeine, but I no longer wish to suffer the scornful looks from French waiters when I ask for “café décaféiné.” My caffeine-loaded coffee is a bullet of energy and right now I could swim the entire length of the Seine, against the flow.
“I’m saving it for a special occasion,” she says. She breaks a croissant apart into crumbs and chews the pieces carefully. She swallows each with a mouthful of tea, which is hot and served in a flowered pot with hairline cracks that flow around the base to the spout like lace on a veil.
I am happy in my caffeine high watching the locals and the cacophony of fashion, the French bodies that I imagine sweating and farting into their cashmere. Some plod by in thick rubbery-soled shoes; others, young women office workers mostly, in shoes that make them appear to defy gravity, shoes from which they could throw themselves off and commit suicide. There are scarves everywhere, watercolor patterned or abstract in eye-blurring colors, thrown casually over a shoulder or tied in knots that a sailor couldn’t decipher. They walk by flicking their cigarette ashes on the sidewalk. They let their little white dogs poop in the grass alongside the café and do not clean it up. We see tall, stem-thin women racing along like they’re late for a fashion shoot, portly but beautifully dressed women pushing along with thick black leather briefcases under their arms, men with silk ties and shoes so polished they give off light. There are people on bicycles wearing business suits and even some women peddling in skirts. There is not a bicycle short, or even so much as a lycra fiber, in sight. The French think Americans are insane. We worry too much about falling off our bikes. We pasteurize our cheese. We eat corn.
Almost everyone, I notice, is wearing a hat.
Across from us a woman dressed entirely in black lays her baguette, unprotected by wrapper, on the park bench while she sits and smokes. There is, without a doubt, pigeon crap somewhere on that bench. Pigeon crap is practically de rigueur to the Paris park bench as obligatory as cigarette butts or dog poop along the street. My mother is aghast at the unsanitary nature of the French. “Les gens sales,” she says, “dirty people.” The woman breaks off a chunk of baguette, eats it slowly, the sleeves of her black sweater draping to her thighs. I can feel her watching us through her glasses, which appear dusty black and have gold rims. Her shoes are of the suicide type. She wears tight pants with tiny slits at the ankles. She sits with her legs crossed, eating, smoking, judging us in our scrubby American clothes, my mother in her American department store checkered shirt, in her wheelchair. In a week I have not seen anyone in Paris in a wheelchair and I wonder where these people are kept. Perhaps there are laws prohibiting them from public view. I am suddenly overwhelmed with sadness for my mother’s plight, a woman who walked six miles a day on her job now unable to go more than a block without pain tearing up her back. I think, she can have the hat. I turn to stare back at the woman. The caffeine racing through my veins makes me light-headed and belligerent. After a while, the woman shrugs, smiles, looks away and stares into the trees, her cigarette limp in her fingers. My mother sees this but says nothing. My husband chuckles as he finishes his coffee. I am quit of Paris.
Back at the hotel, we pack our bags and listen to the news on the television. There’s going to be another strike in two days―this time, it's the railway, taxi and Metro workers. One of the Metro workers died on the late shift. The union claims he was attacked, but there is no sign of violence and the doctors say he had a stroke. No matter. Facts have never interfered with a French union strike. So I’m doubly relieved we’re leaving tomorrow.
That night I sit at the edge of the bed. Our suite has two bedrooms, a large bath and a sitting area with chairs covered in an orange check pattern and a green faux-leather sofa where my mother is watching the only English-speaking program she can find, a game show that I do not recognize. I hear her muttering about no Geraldo, no Oprah, and it’s a good thing her ancestors left this place. I don’t want to remind her they left because the ancient laws of primogeniture gave all the land to the eldest son and left the rest with nothing. So really, we are the descendants of losers. This bit of cruelty makes me giggle. My husband comes out of the bathroom with his shaving kit.
“What are you laughing at?” He smiles like he’s already in on the joke.
“Nothing,” I whisper grinning into my shirt. I pull my hair back from my face enjoying the sensation of my fingers over my scalp. The tension eases out of me. “I was just thinking that only one Beaufort inherited land in France and the rest ran off to Canada.”
“I thought you had a Beaufort relative who was a bishop during the French Revolution.”
“That’s the story, but who knows if it’s true? Besides, if there was, he lost his head.”
I giggle stupidly, thinking of heads and hats, excuse myself because I’m obviously overtired.
In reality, I think that must have been a very cruel way to die. All those people jeering, throwing rotten apples as you trundled down the rough cobbled street on your way to the spot where the guillotine and a gruesome end awaited, the ritual of binding your hands, sticking you on a platform and sliding your head through that little slot where you waited for the axe to fall.
Still, I wanted to visit the museum secreted away in a corner of Paris that is dedicated to the Revolution. I have a macabre fascination with the Revolution and all those senseless executions. I wonder if there’s a tablet somewhere with the names of those who died, or scrolls of parchment tucked away in some cubbyhole with the names of those killed. To have lived and died with no remembrance, without the dignity of even a name registered to say you once existed, seems the ultimate cruelty.
But of course, the museum with its answers is closed. The grève.
Richard sits by me and squeezes my hand. My mother is grumbling at the television. She is hard of hearing so her grumbles carry a long way. I tried to get her a hearing aid before we left, but to my knowledge it still has not come. We have spent five days talking in outside voices. My throat hurts and all I want is sleep.
Next morning we make it to Charles DeGaulle in plenty of time to buy my mother a hamburger in one of the airport restaurants. At the table next to us, a couple is feeding a hamburger to their little dog. My mother smiles, but I see a tear run down her cheek. She wipes it away before she thinks anyone can notice.
“I’m going to miss it here,” she says, watching the little dog eat.
We get her settled in a comfortable seat with more leg room than she had coming out. It’s near the bathrooms and they smell of disinfectant, but she wiggles deep into her seat and smiles. The flight attendant gives her several extra bags of peanuts and she chews them noisily over the nine hours it takes to get back to Washington. This is the slowest plane ride I’ve ever been on. Our aircraft is like a huge bumble bee flying into a constant headwind.
As I sit there, I wonder if this trip has erased some of my misdeeds in the Heavenly ledger, the ones I’ve carried around like a sack of ashes most of my life. There were the times after I moved to Boston for college, that I promised my mother I’d be home for Sunday dinner and never showed up and never called. I remember once, after my father died, making a list of things I would do for my mother when I became a famous writer and made lots of money. I would buy her new glasses because hers were held together with tape. I would pay to have the sofa re-stuffed, the one she claims I ruined by jumping on as a child. I would make sure she got new dentures so her mouth would stop hurting and she could eat properly.
I would not leave her. Because I know what alone feels like.
In the months after my father died, I would come home from school and go into the silent living room where his chair rested in the corner, the Brillcream stain from his hair still evident on the headrest, the scent of his skin still present in the faded yellow-specked upholstery. I would carry my books upstairs into the bedroom I had shared with my now-married sister, look at myself in the mirror and see only a thin-faced shade with startled, frightened eyes staring back. I’d wander into my parents’ bedroom where dust shrouded the furniture and the closet had no door, exposing the secret clutter of my father’s work shirts, boots and khaki pants. In the corner was a bullet shell he’d brought home from World War II. I would sit at the edge of their bed and stare into the closet, at the moth-eaten Army blankets heaped on the floor. In the stillness I could hear the creak of wood growing older, the flap of a blue jay's wings on a tree branch outside. I felt the electricity of invisible feet moving across a carpet.
When the plane lands at Washington Dulles, I breathe a sigh of relief.
A few days later my mother is back in New England where she lives most of the year with my sister and her husband. The phone rings and when I pick up my sister’s voice comes breathless at the other end.
“Ma,” she gushes, and I can tell she’s in one of her ‘high’ places, that the medication is working on overtime, “Ma can’t stop talking about her trip.” There is an edge in my sister’s voice, a note of happy hysteria she gets when the house is at rest.
“All she did was bitch and complain,” I say, my cruelty wanting to bring my hyper sister back to earth.
“She said she had a wonderful time shopping, that she ate some delicious soup in a big department store with a gorgeous glass dome. She said she saw the tomb of our Beaufort ancestors and you told her about how the French got shot in a cemetery.”
I pull the receiver away from my ear and stare at it.
“She said she ate the most delicious ham she’s ever tasted.”
I stare down at the numbers on the phone. It is an old fashioned dial type phone that I rescued when my mother moved out of her house. I think of Richard at the dentist, getting his tooth repaired.
“Well, I’m glad she had a good time.”
“I love the hat,” my sister says just before she hangs up. “It looks so cute on her.”
“Yes, I was so glad she found something she really liked,” The words have a tough time getting past the knot in my throat.
My sister chuckles. “She confessed that you found it first and she took it from you. But she says you can have it when she dies.”
“It’s too small for me now, anyway,” I sigh. “It’s been tucked and stuffed like Dolly Parton’s tits.”
“Oh, you can unstuff like Dolly did. It’s not irreversible damage.”
I hang up and stare at the phone for a long time. Then I get up and try on my hat. I put it back into the box and forget about it until a few weeks later when I wear it to tea with friends in DC. Delia, a columnist for a small suburban weekly, says it looks elegant but Cordelia, our resident fashion expert because she works for a wedding consulting firm, calls the color “not quite flattering. But darling,” she says as she pours extra cream into her tea and takes her third scone, the skinny bitch, “it is from Paris so we will not complain.”
When I get home, I put it back in its a box, place it on an upper shelf in the back of the closet.
When I call my mother each week I ask her, “did you wear your hat?” her answer is always the same.
“I’m saving it for a special occasion.”
My mother comes to us the day after Christmas. We ring in the New Year watching the ball drop in Times Square. We don’t go anywhere to wear our hats, which are now out of season anyway. After the ball comes down, we go to bed. I can hear my mother snoring from the guest room. Richard is restless. He turns to hold me. My heart pounds against the heat of his chest, but there is no sex. We’re both too tired. And I am afraid. It’s of something I can’t explain. Since my mother’s arrival there’s been a sense of dread running through every step I take. The clock on the dresser clicks over to 2 a.m. and still I cannot sleep. I go quietly into my mother’s room. She lies there, her mouth partly open like she’s in the middle of a sentence. She snores in fits and starts, her black-gloved hands rest on the covers. I touch her forehead, find it damp. I watch her for a few moments, watch the rise and fall of her chest, the way her head rests against the pillow, take in the thinness of her hair, the way her face, relaxed in sleep, looks like a young child’s. In a picture that hangs on the wall of her room, she poses in a bathing suit, her legs long and slim as a dancer’s. Dark eyes look out of a smooth pale face and her hair tumbles around her cheeks in dark curls. The photo was taken just before she met my father.
I sit on the edge of the bed watching her.
Earlier that evening we sat together watching a movie and laughing. Suddenly, my mother disappeared and there arose in her place the young woman she was before her marriage, the one in the photograph on the wall, when friends and movies and what to wear to go out at night were the only cares that cluttered her mind. I glimpsed, with the briefest flash, what her friends must have seen in her, the qualities that drew my father to her, the person she hides from me behind a wall of mother. In that single moment I felt more love for her than I ever had. Looking down at her sleeping now, I feel that love again and I am glad I did not talk her out of the hat, those coveted bits of straw and organza, did not try to keep it for myself. I have watched her over time become translucent with age, watched bits and pieces of her slowly fall away, and now as her chest rises and falls with each breath I am stung by the cold reality that the unavoidable someday is coming and nothing I do will stop it.
She mutters in her sleep, something about stringy ham.
I go back to bed feeling helpless.
I put her on a plane back to my sister in Connecticut, making her promise to wear her hat in the spring, wear it every day if only to go to the mailbox. She is in a wheelchair at the front of the pre-boarding line, in front of the frazzled young mother with a baby in a stroller and twin toddlers who are weeping and wiping their runny noses on the back of their hands, in front of an old woman pushing a wheelchair-bound boy with cerebral palsy who cannot keep his head upright. Just before she boards I lean over and she hugs me, kisses me on the cheek, then a flight attendant pushes her up the ramp, ahead of the woman with her stroller and weeping children and the boy, and I hear her asking if she can have extra peanuts because last time they only gave her one bag. As the plane rises I think of my mother in the front row eating her peanuts and watching the land float away. I cry all the way home. Richard asks what is wrong, but I cannot tell him. I am bowed under a sense that I will never see my mother again, but to say it aloud is to make it real.
It is May when the call comes, the weekend of Mother’s Day. I try to write a poem. I call it “On Mother’s Day Ten Years From Now,” but it goes into a drawer, unfinished. We sort through her things after the funeral and my sister hands me a box, square with a dusty gold cover. Inside is the hat she bought in Paris.
I bring it home, put it in a closet. I never wear it.
Denise Marois lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two co-dependent dogs, Bella and Hartley. A former news reporter, she graduated from Boston University and has an MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University. Denise is an okay painter, a lousy singer, a pretty good comic actress, and a nearly expert sewer. She is currently at work on a novel, She's Always There, and a collection of short stories that speak to mother-daugther relationships.
© 2009 prickofthespindle.com