Thomas Wolfe’ famous novel said it best, You Can’t Go Home Again. But last week I did, for just a brief respite and launch of my new book, The Slumber Party from Hell. I went back to Houston, city of my heart. It was raining as we landed. The streets and trees glistened in the showers that cooled everything off and gave us an artificial feeling of fall. I’d been invited back by my dear friend Jane Page Crump to speak at River Oaks Country Club, that bastion of the genteel South.
Through out my prison ordeal, Jane Page had stood loyally by and I am forever grateful. However, with this trip she took loyalty to an entire new level. She invited me to be the guest speaker at the first fall meeting of her luncheon club. She also planned a reception for me in her Architectural Digest home, as well as an intimate luncheon to share memories with old and precious friends. All this without laying eyes on the book. In my mind that took great courage but Jane Page said, “I know you. I believe in you. I knew the book would be great.”
Over thirty years ago, Jane Page and Georgene Brandon (another of my gorgeous hostesses), and I had been docents together at the Harris County Heritage Society in Houston (www.heritagesociety.org) We were young wives who wanted to make a difference in our community. In our meetings we bonded and then formed fast friendships over a summer project at Sam Houston Park, the cherished oasis of history in downtown Houston, a town that has taken new to another level. The Park is a museum that preserves and protects nine historic homes relevant to Houston’s history. We decided to create a quilt of the homes, a stitchery of memories. We did not know that in doing so, we were creating our own memories that would last a lifetime. Our labor of love now hangs in the Heritage Museum and Georgene took me down to visit it and the memories.
I don’t know if Thomas Wolfe was right or not. I don’t know if I could go back to Houston to live. So much time has passed and I’m a different person. I do know that I was able to go back for three glorious days and rest in the love of my beautiful friends whose arms opened wide and welcomed me home. Their generosity of spirit draped over me like a rare lace shawl. In today’s fast paced world, they are indeed Linked In and Facebooked but still manage to epitomize what gracious Southern women are all about. They know about generous hospitality, lovely manners, and kindness. We learned it from our mothers and share it now. I pray that those qualities are never lost. To Jane Page, Georgene, Donna, MaryLee, Madeleine, and all the rest, bless you for remembering and keeping the memories alive. And to Amanda, who is creating new memories and yet becoming the keeper of ours, bless you for seeing the worth.
To be continued with the new friends I made and now treasure like Beth Sanders Moore whose courage and focus blew me away. Check her out http://www.cancerforward.org/About_Us/Forward_Thinkers/Founder/