Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Cathe's Corner - The View From the Other Side of the Mirror

It's not often we dedicate a column to a reader but it is not often a reader fits the mold of Cathe, the pride of Philadelphia. For all the years in the newspaper and media business I have seen it is very seldom that writers get much in the way of feedback from the readers and in most cases the same person seems to keep writing over and over, someone named Anonymous.

Then there is Cathe. A Philly blueblood through and through, Cathe is one of those rare characters whose life has been mystical, a bit bizarre, most certainly entertaining and something Jane Austen would have died to have written about. In Cathe's world reality and fantasy have been genetically compressed and if you do not meet some very high standards you are cast out with the riff raff and cease to exist.

She loves life. She loves Godfathers. She loves family. She cares about everything. She does not like violence or war. To prove it she married a soldier. He stole her from a blueblood. Then he discovered he had to protect the nation and her. Why did she marry a soldier when she didn't like wars and violence? It seems Cathe had a rebellious streak and she was just trying to teach her parents a lesson.

I guess she figured if she threatened to elope with a rifle carrying soldier instead of having a huge family wedding with an ascot wearing blueblood they would react in horror and promise not to cutoff her chauffeur, maids and cooks when she finished college. She underestimated her dad who simply responded, "That's great darling, be sure to let us know where the wedding will take place."

It was not the response she expected. She got the soldier and lost the chauffer, maids and cooks. She might be the only person you ever meet who had never driven a car, made a bed, picked up her clothes or cooked a meal on the day of her wedding. Needless to say the soldier was more than a little surprised but he was the one who pursued her relentlessly before she ever agreed to go out with him. It was all his fault to begin with.

Imagine moving into your first apartment and being asked by your new wife when the interior decorator would be there, what all those pans were for and where was the nearest dry cleaner. Our military might get a decent pay but her needs required a trust fund for a dowry and that was not one of the wedding presents.

To the new bride if the chef wasn't preparing the meal at home then eating meals was going to your favorite restaurant and putting the bill on daddy's account. She had no idea what a credit card might be, nor the cost of the meal as she never bothered to look at prices on the menu. Even the grocery store was a mystery to her, food was supposed to magically appear in the pantry and on the dinner table. Her driver took her back and forth to school or where ever else she wanted to go.

Somehow Cathe and the Godfather survived that start in life. Her hubby made a career of the Navy while seeing the world. They spent a good deal of time in Sicily, the place off the coast of Italy, which seems an ideal post for an Italian American and his bride. In time they went on to build an entire life and family where fantasy always trumped reality. He survived her. She survived without the servants. And they are now happily living in St. Mary's County, Maryland and Cathe can be found at the Vintage Source, the world's most unusual antique center and social club.

Of all my readers Cathe is the most inspiring, most persistent, most demanding and most rewarding as my articles are distributed by her to a host of family and friends throughout the country and when I don't get new articles written she is the first to protest the lack of news. As a result, this column is dedicated to Cathe and all those like her in the world who never stop thinking about ways to help people and never lose their quest for information and/or entertainment.

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