My mother, the Green Hornet, and other notes of love

Are you still feeling the glow of Mother’s Day? It was a glorious brunch filled day at the Pfister this past Sunday when good sons and daughters showered their moms with well deserved adoration.

Me? I was out of town, there and I’m not 100% certain that my Mom even had a good cup of coffee.

Lest you think I’m a terrible son, you should know that I did manage to arrange an early Mother’s Day lunch at the Café at the Pfister with my mother Judy. She’s a rock star of motherdom, and I wanted to make sure I had at least bought her a salad.

I also had an ulterior motive for our lunch date. My Mom has a great Pfister story that I really wanted to hear told to me at the scene-of-the–crime, as it were. This story is part of my family’s legend and lore, and I’m sure for those folks who were around the day it happened some 35 years ago, it’s still a memorable moment.

My wife Paula (a woman who is in the Top 2 of all-time great mothers on my “Mother’s I Love” List) was also included in our celebration of good mothers bread breaking because she somehow had never heard the story, and I’m also just rather fond of lunching with her.

My mom, Paula and I settled into a table in the Café right along the windows. It had been years since my mom had been to the Pfister, and as we took our seats she looked out the window as if looking back in time.

“It happened right out there,” said mom gazing at parked cars on the street. “Right in front of all the cab drivers. They had a good laugh.”

Over the years I’ve thought and thought about my mom’s story, and I’ve considered how different endings could have changed the course of my life in some pretty drastic ways. We’ve certainly laughed about it all over the years, but listening to my mom tell my wife the story put the whole thing in perspective for me once again and makes me think that maybe my mom had a guardian angel watching over her as she exited our family car to have the most eventful day ever getting her hair done in the Janice Salon at the Pfister (which has now blossomed into the full service WELL Spa® + Salon).

Paula leaned in as my mom recalled the day long ago when pants legs were flared and the music of your life had a disco beat. I was about 10-years-old and my brother was a mere toddler as my mom dropped us at a neighbor’s house so she could drive downtown to the Pfister to get her hair done, taking a well deserved break from her job at that time as a stay-at-home mom. We were a one car family back then, and my hard working father took the bus to work everyday as a tax attorney in a downtown office building a mere few blocks away from the Pfister.

Our family car was an AMC Green Hornet. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it did the job of getting us around town.

Green Hornet_May 11 2015
The AMC Green Hornet. Style, class, distinction…meh.

It also proved to be reliable for shuttling us back and forth to visit our family in upstate New York, a trip we made for the Christmas holiday and summers. That car was steady, and on our family’s modest budget it was a more than a-okay set of wheels.

Mom parked the Green Hornet on Jefferson Street right across from the lineup of cabs servicing Pfister guests in need of a ride around town. She filled her meter, dashed into the hotel, and went into the basement salon for a nice hairdo tune up.

As soon as she got settled in her stylist’s chair, someone rushed into the salon and said, “There’s a car on fire across the street!”

My mom gulped hard, panicked knowing that she herself had parked right across the street. Hoping that she heard red or orange or even brown, she asked, “What color is the car?”

“Blue,” answered the town crier who had given the car- -on-fire report. “It’s a blue car, and it’s up in flames.”

Blue was a perfectly fine color as far as my mother was concerned. It wasn’t green, the color of our sweet little ride, so she relaxed believing there was no need for concern and sunk into the stylist’s chair for one of the stunning cuts she always received, classic looker that she has always been.

As mom made her way out onto the street freshly coiffed, the news of the burning car had almost vanished from her thoughts. That is until she pulled her keys out of her purse and was stymied about how to unlock our AMC Green Hornet that was now charred and smoking parked tightly against the curb. Whether or not a Green Hornet burns blue when it bursts into flames, there had clearly been a mix up in making the announcement.

The cab drivers nearby had been waiting to see who the poor sucker was who owned the car. They told my mom that the moment she had walked into the lobby at the Pfister, flames had shot up from under the hood of the car. Had this happened a few moments earlier, my mom would have had no need for a cut and shampoo but my brother, dad and I might have had a great and powerful need for another lady who did a damned fine job of keeping us all together. It was, to say the least, the best bad timing my mother ever had.

My mom tells of walking to my dad’s office and announcing to my father that the car had burned up and that the fire department had smashed the driver’s side window when putting the fire out. I can only imagine the look on my dad’s face when my mom showed up that day to tell him that their only car was out of commission.

But here’s what I love about this story and my parents pluck and determination—we kept that car. My parents did what they could with the means that they had, and I’m happy to report that we had that little AMC for another couple of years. It even made the trip to upstate New York for Christmas a few months after the blaze. Of course, my brother and I huddled under blankets and my dad drove with mittens because heat rarely came from the dashboard after the accident.

Paula, my mother and I chuckled about it all over our salads, thinking about how crazy it was for my mom the moment she made her horrible discovery. I’m gladder than glad that no one, most of all, my mom, was hurt back in the day. I’m also proud to say that I know that standing before that smoldering Green Hornet in the afternoon sun nearly 40 years ago, my mom’s hair looked amazing.

Candlelight Vigil

As the minute hand makes its incremental sweep toward five o’clock, the atmosphere on the main floor swells with anticipation for the weekend.  A boisterous cluster of men greet one another near the lobby bar.  A young co-ed rushes to the concierge for directions.  A preschooler fingers the pink sparkles on her princess shirt as parents carry her sibling up the stairs in a stroller.  Perched on impressively high heels, a slender woman anxiously watches the revolving door.

Down the hall in the boutique, an older couple selects a tangerine silk blouse for their theater outing.  As they chat with the associate, I follow the blouses, blazers, cocktail dresses, bracelets and chocolates to a table display of candles.  I recognize the round tins immediately. I’d received one as a gift last year, but had expected not to enjoy its scent because I’m not a fan of mint chocolate.  Turns out, I loved the candle so much I’ve kept the burned out tin as a reminder to research the maker and vendor.

Here they were. Voluspa Truffle White Cocoa.

A woman neared the table to examine other tins as well: Baltic Amber, Panjore Lychee, Dahlia Orange Bloom.

“This one,” I say authoritatively, “is truly divine.” I begin to tell her about my serendipitous discovery and realize that she already has a number of tins balanced in the crook of one arm.  With her other hand, she held a flute of champagne. We strike up a conversation about candles, the good, the bad, and the cheap.

“I’ve bought them for fifty dollars and I’ve bought them for five,” she said.  “The good ones are worth whatever you spend, if you like them. I like the ones with soy and natural products best, like these.”

My new candle sister’s name is Michelle, a Milwaukee-area native who travels the country as a real estate professional.  She picks up a few candles for her stash whenever she visits the Pfister’s WELL spa. She might burn candles at any time, she says, but always when she meditates, a practice she’s adopted in the past five years. I admit to her that I’ve only been meditating for a week, after Pfister narratorseveral failed and short-lived efforts over the years.

“It’s still difficult,” she laughed, “but, now, I can tell the difference when I don’t take the time to still myself every day.”

Michelle has become as equally diligent about balancing her busy world with regular exercise, girls’ outings with her sisters, spiritual readings, and treating herself to a massage.

“At the end of any given day, we’re responsible for dozens of decisions with serious weight and consequence. The reality of our lives can be immense,” she says. “I  do my best to live well in between it all.”

Michelle takes a sip of champagne and flashes a warm and brilliant smile.  I thank her for sharing her story and wish her an exquisitely quiet evening.  She raises her glass and I head for the lobby.  The bustle had thickened with friends laughing in the lounge, business women arriving with their roller bags, and couples in formal attire weaving through a crowd of dress slacks and denim.  It is definitely the weekend, but Michelle may be off to the best start.

 


Curtis from 97.3 Radio Now, Visit WELL SPA

Check out Curtis from the Connie and Curtis Show on Radio Now 97.3, sovaldi getting a well needed pedicure and manicure.

*Warning*

We love Curtis a lot, but the before video is not for the faint of heart. You may want to pay a little more attention to the after video. Well Spa really pulled a miracle on this one.

Before

After

Thank you again Curtis for enjoying your services from Well Spa + Salon.

Connie & Curtis can be heard from 5:30a – 10:00a on Milwaukee 97.3 Radio Now.

10 Years of Blu Anniversary Party

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 10 year anniversary Party of Blu. We hope you had as much fun as we had.

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Experience live, prostate acoutiscal music every Saturday from 8pm – Midnight beginning this weekend. Here is the schedule of artists.

Saturday, Oct 16                                     Ethan Keller

Saturday, Oct 23                                     Blonde on Blonde

Saturday, Oct 30                                     Colin O’Brien

Saturday, Nov 6                                       Litmus Vinyl

Saturday, Nov 13                                     Greg Flattery

Saturday, Nov 20                                     Ryan McIntyre

Saturday, Nov 27                                     Evan Christian

Saturday, Dec 4                                       Chris Demay

Saturday, Dec 11                                      The WhiskeyBells

Saturday, Dec 18                                      Kyle Feerik