In Memory Of My Feelings

I went to a memorial service for a woman I knew for close to thirty years who wasn’t all that kind to me. You’re wondering, why then, for God’s sake, would you attend?

To heal, that’s why.

Years ago before it became the rage, I had a personal training business.

I was young, pursuing my modeling and in lieu of waitressing, privately worked out with people. I’d show up in tights and Keds making you exercise for fifty minutes right in your own living room, very novel at the time. Jean, I’ll call her, was a client.

When my modelling kicked in, I quit. How foolish I was not to sell my little business, but when you’re in your 20s, your financial acumen is a bit light…a nice way of saying you’re stupid. I ended up bestowing it onto another trainer who ended up making a fortune.

Jean didn’t like how I went from the help to what, I suppose she perceived, as her equal. In other words, Thingirl jumped her station.

Over the years, whenever I saw her she’d either call me by the wrong name or ignore me altogether, which one can imagine, was painful.

She was also a friend of my late friend Jackie, another thing she didn’t approve of. Jackie would often say to her, “What’s your problem with Susannah,” and she’d say, “Who?”

When I read in the New York Times Obituaries, what my father referred to as the Italian Racing Form, she had died, I was pulled to go to the service, a surprise even to me.

Why would you go pay your respects to such a bitch…she treated you like the maid,” said Camille.

Fair point, but I still felt the pull.

The fact is, when someone is cruel to you it’s more about them than you, a hard lesson to learn since it hurts like hell.

Her contempt of me came from extreme insecurity, like somehow I’d steal something from her status. I know a fellow who dated her who said, all she talked about was how much money she had, a turnoff to anyone, let alone a man trying to get to know her.

What made the decision for me to go despite Camille’s protests was Charlie, this woman’s  Standard Poodle. It was mystifying how someone so unpleasant could have such a great dog who, after her series of strokes, could no longer walk him. This is how I got to know him, through his walker, Ned.

Charlie is the Cary Grant of poodles, elegant, well-mannered. The morning of the memorial I saw him and Ned coming back from the park. Without much thought I rushed over to ask if Charlie was attending the service. That may seem like an odd question, just not to me or Ned who said, “I really want to take him but I’m not sure how her kids are gonna feel.” I jumped right into nut mode, especially after catching a glimpse of Carmela out in the yard and said, “Of course he should be there, she loved him…he was her best friend?” And perhaps her only friend the rate she lost them with her pervading arrogance and snootiness.

That’s when I went upstairs, changed into my navy suit and headed over to All Souls. It’s a parish for all denominations known for its guest speakers who come from all over to preach on democracy and religious freedom. I signed the book sitting in the back watching as people came in.

But when Ned arrived with Charlie wearing a black arm band around his middle, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I’m glad I went, for Charlie, Jean’s one true mourner sitting stoically beside the family who, though surprised, welcomed him minus any class distinction whatsoever.

And by the way, they welcomed me too.



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 Thanks.
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10 Responses to In Memory Of My Feelings

  1. micklively says:

    Isn’t it alarming how prevalent distorted measures of the “worth” of a person have become? “She treated you like the maid” suggests that maids, and presumably those in other professions regarded as menial, deserve less respect and courtesy than M.D.s and C.E.O.s. I am not sure where personal trainers are supposed to fall in this weird system: not quite untouchable? Which notch on the greasy pole do you aspire to? Who, in their right mind, prefers size of pay packet to integrity, honesty, compassion as yardsticks?


  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, maybe you went for Charlie’s sake. He wouldn’t have attended if you hadn’t intervened. Now don’t waste another thought on that woman.


  3. katecrimmins says:

    I think you went for you and Charlie. It had nothing to do with her (unless you wanted to be sure the wicked witch was dead?”).


    • You just reminded me of something my mother once said…my very first boyfriend died and she went to the wake even though it was no secret she LOATHED him…when I asked her why pray tell, she said, “To make sure he was dead.” Couldn’t write this stuff Kate…truth is scarier than fiction…and yes…I went for Charlie…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you went for Charlie & Ned.


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