Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dee Alter

my wonderful friend Dee is a such a little blessing in my life. A retired flight attendant from when the requirements included french twists, personal weight control, pearls and an impeccable uniform, Dee is full of stories that are pushing me to write a whole book. she married a successful US Ambassador in Hollywood, and moved to South Africa, where they lived in a beautiful mansion with a full butler, maid and grounds service. she was a very glamorous lady, but never had any children.

Dee and i often talk about tap dancing. we can both do the double time step, and when no one is around on the weekends, she pulls me out from behind my desk to dance with her. she is so young at heart, and an absolute riot. she is partially blind, and every morning i work, has me check her makeup because more than once has switched her lipliner and eyeliner pencils. she once told me a story of when she and her husband, Mel (rest his soul), were at the grocery store. Dee ran in to grab something, and when she came out, she got into the car, only to discover it was not Mel who was in it! she sat down and started talking, and the strange man in the driver's seat had to explain the problem! she laughs and laughs at her own little mistakes, and she is so full of joy, even though her sense of sight is disappearing. she says she wants to adopt me as her grandchild. she gave me a beautiful beaded ivory purse to have for my wedding, that she herself wore to Richard Nixon's inauguration ball. she also gave me a silk chiffon vintage robe. she is just fantastic!

yesterday after lunch, she came to my desk to chat with me like always, and she had her sunglasses hanging around her neck. i noticed that laying on one of the lens was a nacho cheese dorito. i pointed this out to her and she said, "i'm saving it for later!" we cracked up laughing. the she said, "i make a point of wearing my sunglasses around my neck when i eat, they catch any food that would normally land on my pants." she is such a delight. then she invited me over at 4:30 yesterday to have wine in her apartment. she loves red wine like me. i went of course, and she had a few other lady friends over and served pretzels with peanut butter on the inside. my glass of wine was almost full to the top. either she likes to drink or she couldn't see how much she poured.

we sat around and they told stories about run-ins with Bing Crosby, the amazing dancing of Fred Astaire, and Martha even spoke about how she didn't know she was going to have twins until one more popped out. they lived in such a simpler time. they also talked about the comedians of their generation. how foul language or sexual content were absent. they were raised by their parents to have proper manners.

i looked at Dee over my glass of wine, and i suddenly got so terribly sad. we connect as great friends, and i love spending time with her. she was invited to my wedding but she can't see well enough to attend. i just wish i could have known her when she was young. i wish we could have grown old together. it's so sad that i found such a wonderful friend so late in her life. i have made it my mission to spend as much time with Dee as i can. she has her friends at the retirement community, but no living family aside from a niece that lives on the eastcoast. she is lonely. but so full of love and happiness. i want to share it with her, and i will! she is such a special gem in my life.

also, she photographs about 30 times better than me.


  1. LL - as I've said b4, I would love to escort Dee to your nuptials [there and back at a reasonable hour]. It would be my honor to make it happen for you both. Say the word. BTW, is the double time step what you do when you have mai tais and bleu cheese fries? thanks for the photo. it helped draw the tear. e. p.s. put a notch in the end or one of the pencils for her. she won't always have your eyes to help her.

  2. C'mon Lace - we need Dee Alter near de altar! It will only take a little logistics work. Yours, E.

  3. LGG, Once again your blogs about the people you work with are your best! They will make a great book. Dee looks loverly and I think she should come to your wedding. See what you can do to work it out and Eric would be a big help at that!

  4. de alter! hahahahahaha that was funny uncle eric! you slay me! hahaha


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