I love the expression ‘well-heeled,’ my friend Ed uses it a lot. It means affluent, moneyed, well-to-do. I like the imagery it provides: the Astors and Vanderbilts, Grace Kelly in It Takes a Thief, Cary Grant in just about anything.

Yesterday, first light, I saw a petite looking lady with 5 little dogs on a group lead: 2 miniature Poodles, a Yorkie, a Maltese, a Lhasa Apso and a French Bull Dog. I asked if they were all hers. “Yes,” she said, “all rescues.” I said what I always say when I hear that, “Good for you that you didn’t go out and buy a dog,” or 5 in her case. I then remarked at how great they looked, so healthy and happy not to mention groomed like show pups.

“They’re well-heeled,” she said before disappearing into the belly of the park.

Well-heeled, or well-healed?

I thought about the double-meaning wondering which one she meant.

Well-heeled isn’t always about money and privilege. It’s about going through hell and coming out the other side. How many times does that happen to an individual in a lifetime? Then I applied the term to myself.

I can think back to a few instances where life took a shot at me knocking me down fairly hard. When Bill Hicks died of cancer I never expected to rally yet I got up off the mat badly bruised but with compassion I certainly didn’t have when I fell.

Losing 2 best girlfriends to illness left me spinning like a top. Imagine Carrie and Charlotte without Samantha and Miranda (gratefully I still had Camille).

When Missy, my last cat died, my heart hurt so much that I drank, no exaggeration, every day for a month. I’m only sorry I didn’t frame my American Express bill. I think they even sent me a toaster.

I took turns sleeping on Camille’s and Trudy’s sofas because I couldn’t bear to go home without her greeting me. I’d slump to the floor in tears.

Lucky, the kitty, Rosie’s predecessor at the florist, helped me get through that painful time. Every morning I’d quietly let myself out of whosever apartment I was hiding in to walk before I could run into anyone. Lucky would wait for me in front of the store on 78th and Lexington where we’d sit together on the steps of a nearby townhouse. I’d quietly sob until he’d climb onto my lap to nuzzle and lick my face. One day the tears finally stopped so I knew I was better.

Shortly after that Lucky died of a heart attack in the middle of the store. The neighbors who all loved him built a little shrine on the corner with his picture in a frame. The heartbroken shopkeeper waited almost a year before Rosie appeared in a little wicker basket the size of a peach. They had a contest to come up with her name, the winner receiving violets in memory of Lucky who liked to eat them.

Well-healed, yes I like that spelling much better since it says a whole lot more than mere financial abundance…

rich in lessons, well-to-do in love and compassion, kindness and humility.

So whenever I don a little black dress with pumps that suggests wealth and affluence I can honestly say with much gratitude…

I am indeed…



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in animals, Cinema, Fashion, friendship, Gratitude, Health, Love, New York City and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Well-healed

  1. It’s so funny how one day, when you least expect it, you just know you are better. Everyone has different timing, but eventually the moment comes and you are healed.
    On a side note…I’m showing my mother those arms!


  2. Rob says:

    See that’s your best feature: that wonderful combination of compassion, observation and humour, that makes your blogs so entertaining yet thought-provoking.


  3. Rob says:

    p.s. I still love your legs, though!


  4. kerrycooks says:

    Great post Susannah! And you look beautiful in your dress


  5. jimmie chew says:

    loved the post!! (tell Rob to stop looking at your legs)!


  6. rachel bar says:

    A lovely play on words, a lovely play between You and Rob, and a touching blog.


  7. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Aww, that’s so sweet about Lucky. You seem to have an incredible rapport with animals. People like that lady who adopted all those rescue dogs are like their fairy godmothers.


  8. Patricia says:

    Have you gotten another cat? My Henry died in 2010 at 16 and Dolly in 2011 at 19. I thought I would wait awhile before getting another catkid but 2 weeks after Dolly died I went to a shelter and got Teddy. My heart doesn’t beat right without a catkid underfoot.


  9. Animals are so precious, they are innocent and naturally joyful. We are blessed to receive a pet’s pure unconditional love. Time after time they show us how to be in the moment, how to forgive and forget. I could carry on, my kitties never cease to amaze me. I am quite certain the kitty I saved actually rescued me. He has been by my side ever since we found each other, purring with appreciation and love just because I look at him. Very touching story, Susannah.


    • Thanks Esmee. Lucky was a great cat. I cried over him too. He was the second florist cat I knew who had a sudden heart attack. I wonder if there is some plant or flower that causes that. He did munch on violets when they were in season. Who knows.


  10. Hmm, I know lillies are highly poisonous to cats, dunno about violets though. You’re not alone, I cry more over losing a cat than most other things. Lucky was lucky kitty to have been loved by you.


  11. Nabilla says:

    Has anyone ever told you that you look a little like Audrey Hepburn? Looking gorgeous in that LBD Susannah


  12. Jed says:

    Here, here. I mean hear, hear.


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