Wednesday, October 22, 2008


There have been many wonderful women in my life -- including my wife and daughter. However, over the years there have been many others whose lives and wisdom and talent have changed my life and the way I lived it.
Back in the 1960s there was a tiny little shop on First Avenue in New York City just a few blocks away from the United Nations. The shop was called NANCY'S FANCY and was owned by a feisty lady named -- Nancy.
Nancy was Church-Mouse poor and supported herself by refinishing discarded items into works of whimsy. The shop also sold an assortment of stationary and party goods for the last minute hostess, but the real goodies were Nancy's delightful creations. The neighborhood children flocked to the shop where Nancy dispensed saucy wisdom and broken animal crackers.
Like "dollsandreams" it was a safe haven for a slightly disenfranchised business type like me. After a day of snotty, snarling clients, Nancy's delightful smile let me know that the world was in balance.
Once she told me that on her day off she dressed up and went to all the great shops on Fifth Avenue starting with FAO SCHWARZ and working her way down the street hitting TIFFANY'S and SAKS.
Knowing how poor she was I asked her if it wasn't a little depressing to look at all those fantastic items she could never afford to buy.
"Oh, no," she replied with a bright smile, "I just pretend they are all museums."
This was a woman who definitely made sweet lemonade when life gave her lemons.
She had one Sasha doll -- a blonde Gregor named "William or Mary Depending" -- depending on how he/she was dressed. That doll was so beloved it is difficult to imagine another who had more love lavished on it. Nancy created an endless wardrobe of fashions that were as imaginative as her recreated "former" furniture and objects.
There I was, successful and wealthy, with dozens and dozens of Sashas to delight me and I don't think I was ever as happy as Nancy and her one Sasha.
CoCo Chanel often extolled the virtue of "less is more" and I thought that Nancy embodied that idea in the way she saw life and delighted in it.