As I live past 50, I am constantly impressed with my friends who are dealing with some adversities that this age brings and manage to live a life of pizzazz. Take my friend Marian’s story.
I met Marian in Los Angeles in the mid 70’s. She epitomizes glamour and sophistication. She also wields a wicked tongue encouraged by her quick British wit.
We worked on a freelance project together and got paid under the table. Being a single mother, I needed the extra money. Marian had no green card.
We also caroused around Hollywood and Beverly Hills with her equally gorgeous friend, Deirdre. I contended that men (albeit older men) hit on me because both of my friends were too beautiful to approach.
The night Jack LaLanne tried to grab me from an adjoining table, Marian quipped, “Good God Marilyn, turn off that neon sign on your back.”
Marian converted to Judaism when she married her first husband. My daughter, Kim, was flower girl at the wedding. When I was moving to Northern California to get married, Marian and Deirdre arrived at our wedding shower,in leather, on motorcycles with a gift of lingerie, including crotch less pantyhose, which I hid in my visiting future husband’s briefcase for his trip home.
Marian divorced after her son Geoffrey was born, so now she was the single parent. On one visit back to Southern California, she introduced me to her soon-to-be second husband. He was Japanese.
She also introduced me to her Graphic Design business partner, Mike. Together they created corporate identity for customers who were totally disarmed by their attractive appearance, talents and knowledge.
Marian’s second marriage ended. I never met her third husband.
Through 30 years when my husband and I visited, we often spent many boozy lunches with Mike and Marian and noticed how equally suited they are. They both are funny and smart.
When Marian’s son, Geoffrey moved to England and married, Mike accompanied her to the wedding. He is very close to Geoffrey. Marian had some face work done and looked gorgeous.
Three years ago I received a shocking email from Deirdre. Marian had had a major stroke! Mike found her hours later after she missed a client meeting. I did not get to visit her until months later when she finally came home.
Still having trouble speaking, she was able to quip, “Why couldn’t I have just died, I was prepared for being a gorgeous corpse.”
I couldn’t give her any reason other than I would have missed her terribly.
Since the stroke she has shown much bravery facing physical therapy, pain and frustration. As I continued to see her, she regained her speech and much of her physical ability. Mike has steadfastly been by her side.
A year ago, I received a happier email.
“Birds do it. Bees do it. We’ve done it. We’ve fallen in love. We’re going to get married.” Mike and Marian.
“What wonderful news”, I yelled into the phone.
“Well after all Marilyn, it is the only sensible thing to do. After a 25 year plus business partnership, we’ve had all the fights.”
Typical of Marian’s pragmatic self, she wanted to achieve certain milestones in her recovery before the wedding. One such milestone was a trip back to England attending her grandson Sebastian’s christening. As usual, during the month long trip, Mike was with her. “I finally get this grandparent thing, “ she recently told me.
In September, my husband and I were honored to be at Marian and Mike’s wedding at the Beverly Hills Courthouse. That’s me right behind the beautiful bride.
Don’t rule out happy surprises in your life. Sometimes, when you least expect them.