Wednesday, February 20, 2008

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I am someone who tells myself and others, I never get sick. Until I do.

It is so annoying to admit that over two weeks ago some germ or other got into my system, and since then I really haven't been running at full speed.

Cold, flu? Who knows, but the main problem has been the cough that will not leave. Many of us at the shop have had the same symptoms, and our customers tell us that they have also been felled by this wicked business.

The germs really did pick a very inconvenient time to come calling. On February 7, I'd planned an experiemental special evening at the shop, inviting long time loyal customers to come in from 6-8 pm, wearing or bearing their favorite vintage garments from our company. We had a lovely buffet of light refreshments and fizzy water and white wine, but best of all, had representatives of the company's design team on hand to meet the customers. In our invitations to the customers we described it as a backstage pass to meet the designers and ask/tell them anything on that they would like.

I felt absolutely rotten that day (could not even wear my absolutely required eye makeup) but the evening was a wonderful success. The customers loved meeting each other, and the designers had a grand opportunity to meet their public, so to speak. I took lots of photos and have written the first of a series of reports on the evening. I think that the company will be replicating this event at other shops in future.

Meanwhile, every time that I have had a day off, I have just slept as much as possible, rallying thereafter to get down to the shop again. Every time that I thought I had banished the bug, it just came back at me again.

But a lovely surprise came last weekend, and would not have happened if I had not been at work.

We are now featuring our spring preview styles, and New York weather is not at all springlike just now. So, along with the incipient economic recession that is sweeping over our land, business is not so good. Many customers now either concentrate on the sale area, or utter those "I am just looking..." words. On the weekends, we have many visitors from abroad and from other parts of the States. We can usually figure out who is not "local."

So. A couple had browsed through the shop, and were on their way out, and as is my habit, I went up to them to say bye, bye, and to offer the lady our most current brochure. As I gave the booklet to her, she turned to me, and said, "I know you. Aren't you Frances ...?"

Well, I am. Thank goodness, she quickly took away the mystery of her own identity and I realized that I was seeing a teenage, college-aged good friend, whom I had not seen in 40 years.
What a marvelous random gift of fate!

We had a grand, if too brief, chat, and exchanged e-mail addresses. I am just stunned that she recognized me! It is really marvelous to now already have been playing catch-up with the e-mail technology, and to re-c0nnect with someone whom I felt I had lost. If I had given in to the flu/cold or whatever has been giving me such grief, I would have missed this lovely reunion.

My lesson learned is that even when you might be feeling sorry for yourself, and doing a bit of moaning, life just might toss you an unexpected bouquet.

Pleasant dreams to all.


  1. Hello to you Frances and thank you as ever for your lovely comments on my blog. I too think we would get along famously and would love the chance to meet; let's hope it's an event for the future. How I would love to sigh over those gorgeous Liberty fabrics. There is just something so special about them isn't there? great to hear your friend and you have caught up too. I hope those darned bugs leave you alone soon and that spring weather will halp to restore your health (ever hopeful here!). xx

  2. Hello Frances, so sorry to hear you've been poorly, hope you're feeling better now. Horrible to be struck by the dreaded lurgy.

    How amazing to be recognised by someone from college days, obviously you've aged so well, she could recognise you. Lovely surprise!
    Great blog.

    Get well soon
    Love Elaine

  3. Francis, I'm sorry to hear you've been poorly. I did wonder why I hadn't seen you on Coo for a while.
    I hoped you were on holiday!
    The evening in the shop sounds absolutely wonderful. I'm not surprised it was a success. Are your garment sold in Britain? They sound lovely and just my style - If I had any money that is...
    Best wishes, hope you're over the worst of the bug by now

  4. Oh Frances you sound as though you have been through the mill with your bug. Sometimes it is best to just carry on and others to give in - only the person with the bug can be the judge of that.

    Love the sound of your evening at the shop - what a wonderful idea - wish I could be a regular at the shop - it sounds as though you all take good care of your customers.

    Wow and to meet an old friend like that . . . it can be a wonderfully small world at times.

    Now tuck that vest in and DON"T go overdoing it.

  5. Hello Frances, sorry to hear you have been poorly. I have been off too with a fluey head cold. I feel so much better today though I am weak and tired and haven't gone in to work. I will be back on Saturday.

    The bug you have sounds like one that was going round here, the cough hangs on and on. It will go eventually. Have you tried inhaling steam in a bowl (my favourite old fashioned remedy). And dear old honey and lemon of course. Even the GP is saying that that is the preferred cough remedy now!

    Glad you met up with your old friend, what a lovely surprise!

    I have put up a spring fashion query in the forum, people think you may be the expert to answer me!

  6. Frances, I do hope you are feeling better, there is nothing worse than a bug which hangs around. I think a few days off are indicated!
    The vintage evening sounds such a good idea, I would love to have nbeen there, the only problem is that I cant get in to all my favourite older garments now!
    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog, I always like to read your words!

  7. Yes, it's horrid to have to give in and admit you are ill, I understand that. I'm glad you are coming out the other side and hope the cough improves soon. I'm glad being reunited with your friend was a success.

  8. Wonderfully evocative as always but watch that cough my friend. A full speedy recovery to you.

  9. Hello Frances, sorry to hear you have had a nasty bug and hope you are feeling a lot better by now. I bumped into someone yesterday, how time passes. When I enquired about her baby daughter the reply was, that baby was twelve years old. It is nice to see someone after many years and it must have made your day. Look after your self. Milly x

  10. That's a lovely thing to happen. And testament to the fact that the years must have treated you kindly.

    Hope you're feeling better soon.

  11. Hope you are well on the road to recovery now - what you need are some bright sunny spring days to spur you on.

    How wonderful to meet up with a friend after so many years. A coincidental meeting like that makes the world seem a very small place.

  12. oh, that sounds nasty, poor you! And to have it drag on so...but how wonderful to have met your friend after all this time, you deservedthat bouquet! :)

  13. Dear Frances,

    Apologies for getting here late, just trying to catch up.

    I do hope by now that you are feeling so much better from the cold virus.

    The evening at the shop sounded wonderful, how I would just love to serve in your shop, or to be a customer even, surrounded by such gorgeous fabrics.

    The chance meeting with an old college friend is simply wonderful for you Frances. Enjoy the days of getting to know one another again, lots of catching up to do I'm sure for you. Lovely Blog Frances.