But Who Asked Me?

As we know, the well-to-do love buying things, and that includes the 4-legged they leave behind on weekends since, according to Muffy, Socrates doesn’t do well in the country.

So the maid, they overpay to ease their guilt, stays at their penthouse to feed and walk Socs, as the kids call him, proudly promenading like she’s in a Jamaican parade.

Why get a dog, one you even paid for, no shelter animals for the rich and mighty, might not go with that sectional made of horsehair that turns out, makes you sneeze, in the first place?

But who asked me?

She’s dating a gorgeous goyisha guy she can’t bring home for Rosh Hashanah since her orthodox dad might have a stroke.

Okay, so just don’t bring him, it’s only dinner.

But who asked me?

A guy is siting in his car waiting for a parking spot. He’s aggravated that no one is moving, yelling at his doorman. He’s driving a Jag but doesn’t put it in a monthly parking garage, what’s up with that?

But who asked me?

A rather robust woman in a coffee shop after ordering the $15.99 7 course Early Bird Special, is whining how high her cholesterol is, while her husband, who’s clearly heard it all before, quietly butters bread. As she whines further like a malfunctioning Mattel toy, eating scalloped potatoes sauteed in cream, I so want to say, just so you know, your cholesterol is now doing the tango.

But who asked me?

When I brought up to a friend the last mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and how awful it was to have it happen again, he said, ‘Yeah, and, your point is?”

WTF?

But who asked me?  

SB

 

Posted in Culture, humanity, media, New York City, Politics, violence, words | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Best Story of the Week…September 13

On route home, crossing Park waiting for the light to change, I’m behind a young father and his 3 year-old son, when it suddenly starts to rain.

Father:  Shit, it’s raining.

Son:  Shit, it’s waning.

There’s a long pause.

Father:  Daddy’s sorry to say such a bad word.

Son:  No Daddy, wane is a nice wud.   images-1.jpeg

🙂

 

Posted in Culture, Family, Home, humanity, humor, kids, Love, nature, New York City, parents, words | Tagged , , , | 49 Comments

September 11, 2001…Straight On Till Morning

The journalist Mary McGrory, when she couldn’t bring herself to write about John Kennedy’s funeral said: in the presence of great grief and emotion, write short sentences.

I am always humbled to remember the fallen, those who didn’t come home on the 11th of September, 2001. I was living on the same block as the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home then, and can still hear the sound of bagpipes mewling in the early morning as another firefighter or policeman was laid to rest.

I hold dear the image of a little boy clutching his dad’s police cap as the coffin was carried out, holding back tears at the realization that he was now, the new head of the family.

The passing of so many was so arbitrary that as a New Yorker, I know that given only slightly different circumstances, I could very well have been among them.

I often wonder what was on the minds of those men and women during their last twenty-four hours on earth. Were they happy, contented, worried, or sad?

Were they plagued by some nagging problem as they lay cradled in the arms of someone they loved? Did a girl my age look in the mirror and think she looked old or fat in her blue jeans? Was she engaged, perhaps, or hoping to be? Maybe she was planning a holiday with her family or expecting that well earned Christmas bonus so she could buy a new car.

You can feel their presence—snatched souls caught in the ether, still wondering what happened to them.

I was walking down East 68th Street when I noticed a plaque on the front of an apartment building, stopping to read the name…Christopher James Hanley. getPart-1.jpg

I then looked him up. He was 34 and single, nine days shy of his 35th birthday. It said he had an eye for special things—he liked what he saw. His photographs from around the world looked like postcards. He called his parents every morning. He agreed to be the godfather of a child of parents he didn’t know. I couldn’t help liking him immediately.

Christopher Hanley was on the 106th floor of 1 World Trade Center at a breakfast conference at Windows on the World when the first plane hit, slicing through the 93rd-97th floors. He called 911, then his parents, conversations they will forever cherish on tape. He was calm and composed, though unable to get out since the emergency stairwells were destroyed above the 92nd floor. Did he know that or was there still hope in his heart before the first tower fell?

I went back and stood across the street from 315 East 68th, a beautiful pre-war building built in 1931. I envisioned him coming out on that fateful morning, maybe in a suit or navy blazer, gray wool pants and polished Florsheim shoes. Was he wearing a tie or was it stashed neatly in his front pocket? Did he turn around and look back as if he had an inexplicable premonition, or did he just gallop to catch a taxi so he would not be late for his meeting all the way downtown.

His mother Marie said of her only child that if he had been late that day, he’d still be here, but her son was an early riser.

He is buried where he fell, at the National September 11 Memorial, Panel – N-22. A mass was held in his memory, and a scholarship created in his name. He sounds like a fella with a healthy interest in life, so I’ve decided that there is a good chance he was happy and content on September 10th, 2001 with sweet dreams that went with him all through the long night, straight on till morning.   Unknown.jpeg

Susannah Bianchi

Posted in Culture, Family, grace, History, humanity, inspiration, Love, media, New York City, parents, violence, war, words | Tagged , , , , | 30 Comments

The Tiers of History

Unknown.jpeg As I’m rereading a book about Mickey Mantle, I don’t recall the problems he had had with Joe DiMaggio, who, as The Mick was beginning his career, Joltin Joe was ending his. I also don’t remember what a light touch he was money wise, and how even his friends took advantage of him. The way he quietly visited sick kids, and despite a 44 year marriage, went after women like dishes on a buffet table. My hero partied hard, dying of alcoholism at the age of 63.

Leavy’s prose is fresh as if there were pages missing the first time around, my consciousness shifting, sifting through the past revisiting it.

A book on World War II, not my first, left me stunned at the way our soldiers were treated as Prisoners of War by the Japanese. Tortured, beaten, fed so little their teeth loosened from lack of nutrients. How didn’t I know this? Perhaps the complete horror was too much to initially take in, where now, an opening existed for the truth in all its awfulness to penetrate.   images.jpeg

George Washington is always commended for stepping down as head of the Continental Army at the peak of his power, saying a heartfelt farewell to his troops at Manhattan’s Fraunces Tavern that still, as a museum installation, can be seen.

I reread, it wasn’t due to humility that the Father of our Country stepped down, it was because he was broke, not taking a salary for 7 years leaving his farm in the hands of a relative that let’s just say, wasn’t Mr. Green Jeans, allowing it to fall into desperate disrepair.

Right when he was bringing his beloved Mount Vernon back to life, we called upon him again to be President because he was the only one everyone trusted.

Patriotism trumping home sweet home, he came to New York having to borrow money for his inaugural suit, the fashion plate that he was. No careworn threads for George, he was taking his Oath of Office in sartorial splendor, and that was that.

Though reading about him many times, these facts flashed anew.

I marvel at that, since now I’m even more acquainted with him, our heroic POWs, as well as The Mick.

Here’s a poignant tale I’ll end with.   Unknown-1.jpeg

When you consider the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg is my favorite to read about, I wonder how this escaped me.

In the hours before Pickett’s Charge when close to 2,655 casualties of the Southern Army, many merely boys, were killed, wounded and captured, marching through an open field, they sprawled beneath the trees staring up at the blue July sky, knowing that they were more than likely to not ever see its beauty again.

Yet their love of the south was so great, they marched, 498 to their deaths, with I’ve heard it described as…divine dignity.   images-1.jpeg

Now I ask you, as a passionate reader, how did I miss that?

Was I drunk?

SB

 

 

 

Posted in Books, History, inspiration, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 47 Comments

Right Foot Left Foot

My latest loss is my longtime foot doctor I’ve been seeing for 20 years. The part time space he rents has tripled, so that’s it, he will be my doctor no more.

He’s the sweetest man not to mention greatest footman, if you will, I’d from time to time send a note to…

Dear Dr. Steve…we love you, thanks for making us feel so much better.

Love, Susannah’s feet.

When I saw him for the last time, he gave me all his subway cards since he won’t be needing them anymore, his formal practice being in New Jersey where alas, he’ll stay from now on.

So, when I got off the train, I ambled over to the machine to see what was on them.

Next to me was a young man of color who had a good dozen he must have picked up off the ground hoping he’d find a fare.

One could say I had a good poker hand with four of a kind, $5.50 each, which comes out to two rides a card.

As we stood side by side after seeing his face, I knew, he folded.

“How’d ya do?” I asked, though knowing the answer.

He shrugged.

“Here,” I said, handing him one of the cards. “Someone gave these to me, so how bout I give one to you?”

His face lit up like a fireplace.

As I watched him breeze through the turnstile, I felt better having shared the goodness, graced to me by a man I’ll always remember, feet first.   images.jpeg

SB

Posted in Culture, grace, Gratitude, Health, humanity, humor, money, New York City | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

History’s Greatest Hits

I had lunch with my friend Jack and his date, I’ll call Minnie, from Long Island.

Jack, whenever we meet, always asks what I’m reading, so I mention a book on Benjamin Franklin, by Stacy Schiff, I’ve just reread.

Minnie says, “Whoy,'” as she applies more lip gloss she certainly doesn’t need.

“Why? Because he’s so interesting,” I say, trying to just be polite realizing she’s another one of Jack’s dates I know won’t go anywhere, since, he gets bored so easily.

He told me he’s searching for a woman, just like me, but looks like an eternal centerfold. A Minnie, with interests other than sex toys, backseats and what’s on the dessert cart.

A Miss January, who reads.

But back to Ben.

Jack loves when I go on one of my historical rants, so at his urging, I’m off to the Revolutionary Races.

Ben, the eldest Founding Father who famously said to his peers…

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately, caused confusion for Minnie. Even after I urbanned it with…either we hang together or we hang alone, did she say…

“What does that mean?”

“Well, if we hadn’t won our independence from Britain, he along with the other Founding Fathers would have been drawn and quartered, then hanged, for treason.”

“HUH?”

“Their heads would have been cut off and put on spikes, ya know, like those troll erasers you get on pencils?”

“OH!”

After regaining myself, I apologize, but she actually now seems interested after Jack says, she loves slasher films.

“OH!”

Alas, that was the best I could do in the horror department, but then told my favorite Ben story, how in 1788, one of the oldest synagogues in Philadelphia was about to go under, so Ben raised funds to keep it afloat, restoring it, still existing today.

When he died in 1790 at 85, as his funeral cortege solemnly made its way through downtown Philadelphia, the entire Congregation of Mikveh Israel, walked behind his casket in tribute, to show their gratitude.

Minnie, who turns out to be Jewish, is in tears.

“That’s the best story eva’,” she says, sobbing into her Chicken Caesar.

Jack then sweetly hands her a napkin, so she can blow her nose she immediately powders.

P.S.  Did I mention Ben sired the first library? 😊

Liberry?

Library.  🙃

Unknown.jpeg

Recommended reading. There are many Ben books, but these two are my favorites.

A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America…Stacy Schiff (2005).

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin…H.W.Brands (2000).

SB

Posted in Books, Cinema, Culture, dessert, Faith, food, Gratitude, History, humanity, humor, Politics, war, words | Tagged , , , , , | 41 Comments

Best Stories of the Week…August 30th

A 10 year-old boy at school was celebrating his birthday allowed to invite two boys to join him for lunch. He chose his best friend and another kid his mom didn’t know. When she asked, who he was and why did he ask him, her son said, “Because no one talks to him.”

At a 12 Step meeting, an elderly woman came in with her Cocker Spaniel. The guard at the church’s front desk told her dogs aren’t allowed. When she said, he was a Service Dog and had just forgotten his vest, he said, without it, he was just another dog.

His boss appeared and after hearing the story allowed the lady in with her beloved pup. He then went on his way…in his wheelchair.

I was coming home from Whole Foods proud of myself only taking one bag that, crossing the avenue broke, my pears and and oranges rolling down Lexington like ground ball hits.

A hard hat having his lunch ran after them retrieving each one, while a woman watching, who had double bagged, gave me one of hers.

A woman was behind another woman at Staples who had a shopping cart filled with school supplies. When she asked, if she was a teacher and when the woman said yes, paid for the whole thing.

Last but not least, my neighbors across the hall moved to Spain. I hate good byes, but knew, the right thing was to go over and wish them well. Before I could do this, the two little girls beat me to it. There they were three years after we met, taller, baby teeth missing, two little lights I know I’ll never see again.

They both at the same time, hugged me tightly around my waist and said, “Thank you for always being so good to us. We’ll miss you.”

The little one, as sensitive as a buttercup, handed me a wad of bright pink Kleenex all three of us shared.  images.jpeg

SB

 

 

Posted in creative writing, Culture, Family, friendship, grace, Gratitude, humanity, humor, inspiration, Love, words | Tagged , , , , , | 59 Comments

EEL. EEL. Bean Oootlet.

I ran into Diego, a guy from my old neighborhood who works as a handyman, a Jack of all trades if there ever was one.

He was dressed from head to toe in bright whites…Polo Shirt, Bermudas, sneaks that looked like big baby shoes, but spanking white, like he had just alighted from a cruise ship.

Apparently, he had been in Maine working on someone’s summer house…grande, he told me…leek a coostle.

He slept in a tent, oonder the stars, and had all his meals cooked by a Senora named Meez Eeleezebeeth who brought them to him on a tray with piernas (legs).

“Eet wooz beest veecetion, eever,” he said,” purring like a sated cat.

“Well Diego, Maine must agree with you since you look better than I’ve ever seen you,” I said, admiring his snappy clothes.

His smile that matched mine like two tumblers about to toast, got even bigger before saying…

“EEL. EEL. Bean…Unknown.jpeg

Oootlet.

🙂

SB

Posted in Culture, Fashion, Gratitude, humanity, humor, inspiration, money, travel | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

You Can Take The Girl Out Of The Model, But Not The Model Out Of The Girl

11:00 A.M.  I’m at a casting in midtown for an osteopenia drug. No, it’s not penis related. It’s the last stop, the green room, for osteoporosis.

Where did the glamour go, I ask you?

I’m surrounded by women in all shapes and sizes cackling like hens.

You almost expect to find eggs when they get up to pee for the umpteenth time.

I arrive at my appointed hour, LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO, the way Wilhelmina, rest her chic soul, taught me. Nowadays, professional etiquette be damned, I’ll show up whenever I damn well please, which is why reception looks like Ben Hur.

The Breakdown: Natural yet well put together, not overly made up or fussy, Women should exude confidence and calm, comfortable in their own skin.

Here comes the twist: We will be asking women to wear a one piece bathing suit to be photographed in.

Talk about laying eggs.

Women of a certain age, lets say, have parts that are a bit worn. And just because they’ve had their face lifted, doesn’t necessarily mean their ass went along for the ride.

As they all disrobe, breasts hitting knees that wink scaring the shit out of the little deli delivery boy, I sit and wait.

I’m smart, wearing a pencil skirt over my black French maillot swimsuit (ho ho) I could easily step out of once in front of the camera. The others were draped like it was 1899, layers everywhere…a sorority party gone porn.

Here’s a tip. Don’t buy a suit from L.L. Bean. I know they’re reasonably priced, but that’s not a good enough reason to look like a fat feed bag.

That’s the other thing. Most of these ladies look like cafeteria workers in Arkansas, and believe me, one of them will book the job.

Doesn’t matter what I do, frumpy or dumpy, I will always look like a model despite various nooks and crannies.

But there I was anyway, thinking if I bought a Lottery ticket I’d have a better shot. But, as you learn in this shallow, unpredictable, why didn’t I go to college, business, you just never know.

“Miss Bianchi, you’re on deck.”

So now I’m standing in-between two gray-haired girls chirping across me as if I weren’t there.

Imagine Tweeting, LIVE.

Why do women talk so much, and about nothing. I mean…

NOTHING!

I’m naming presidents under my breath so not to punch them, when the door swings open.

I step in.

Wiggling out of my skirt, I thank the young girl (20?) from the ad agency for asking to see me refraining from asking, why, as I’m led by a tattooed gal with fuchsia hair to the seamless white paper facing the camera, as if I were mentally retarded.

Apparently the woman before me had some trouble. Was she blindfolded? No I didn’t say that.

“Nice suit,” the ad girl says. And it should be, I heard my mother snap from the ether, it cost enough.

Hey ma, you’re the one who taught me, you get what you pay for.

Now I’m standing there looking like a fly swatter, with buttons, waiting since Tats was having some technical difficulties.

The fetus receptionist pops in to see, why the delay, since she’s getting backed up out there. Think Chevys on the Jersey Turnpike, in Bean bathing suits.

“Da ya need a robe?” asks the fetus.

I say no, despite my boobs sticking out like doorbells it was indeed, that cold.

FINALLY…

I’m asked to copy 5 poses of diagrams displayed on the wall. I try to look as if I’m serving soup to students that, at best, make me look crazy.

Then, since there’s a video involved, she will now ask me questions.

“What makes ya feel, ya know, that you’re alive?”

My heart? No, I didn’t say that.

“Well, I love being with my grandson…

I don’t have a grandson.

and his Poodle, Bob.”

Never knew any dog named Bob, or any Bob for that matter. Was hoping my nose wasn’t getting bigger.

“Tell us why, Susannah.”

“Oh you know, dogs and kids…they live in the moment…they remind you to be happy where you are….to be grateful for everything, like the sun and the moon, and the sound of your beloved husband wishing you a good morning.”

I don’t have a husband.

“Are you crying?” I ask both girls.

NEXT!shopping.png

SB

 

 

 

Posted in Beauty, Culture, Fashion, fitness, History, humanity, humor, media, modeling, New York City, women, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Best Story of the Week…August 22

It’s a drizzly day as I head back home from my run.

A pretty girl in her 30s is standing under the eave of a brownstone perusing her phone, smartly staying dry.

She looks great in jeans with an opened navy blazer, its collar flipped up over a black and white striped French sailor shirt, a beige three quarter trench coat tossed over her arm…classic black flats with just a hint of heel…a nice bear brown tote resting beside her.

I love how her light-blonde hair falls just right in line with her shoulders, as if it came with the shirt.

After my quick, efficient appraisal, she looks up as I’m about to pass, igniting my Tourettes that kicks in, saying…

“Ya look just like a J. Crew ad,” and she says, “Funny you should say that…I’m a sales rep for them.”

“Really, you don’t say?”

Only in New York.

🙂      images

SB

Posted in Beauty, Fashion, humor, media, New York City, shopping, women | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments