Some Bits of Royal Whimsy & Hoopla

Dear Reader -  As you may remember from my In Search Of . . . post, we'd been on the lookout for somebody fun to speak at biblion, adding a few juicy historical bits to the royal wedding hoopla in Lewes this coming Friday (I, personally, dear Reader don't feel any deep connection to the royal wedding, but I'm all in when there's hoopla to be had - and throw in a dash of whimsy, and I'm over the moon). Despite the kind efforts of my friends and my own steady footwork, we were getting nowhere with finding a candidate. And while there was part of my little brain that had this sneaking suspicion  that it'd all work out in the end, I began working to find other ways for little biblion to contribute to the festivities:
 

I was leaning on the counter at the Rehoboth Beach post office on Tuesday, watching Miss C fill out her passport application with her dad (they're taking a trip to Venice this summer - how cool is that?), when my friend Peggy (who'd been the most dogged in trying to come up with a speaker for us) sent me this text: "Idea!! Royal wedding fun for biblion!"

My "do tell" reply got a call back, and Peggy proceeded to tell me her awesome idea of having a card for Lewes to sign at biblion that we can then send to Kate & William. How perfect was that? I made a couple of adjustments (made it a "Book of Best Wishes" to sign rather than a big card and am adding a small, hand-lettered card with best wishes from the people of Lewes with a lovely print of an original painting by Lewes artist Jean Doran). We put the book out late yesterday, and we'll keep it up 'till it's filled over the next few days.

But the story doesn't end there! A few hours later that same day, Peg texted again: "Gasp! A possible speaker for you. The mother of an acquaintance - look at today's News Journal local/leisure section. No kidding. The woman is going to be in Lewes for the great event." Sure enough, I went to the News Journal's website, and there she was, replete with video!

Turns out that Margaret's daughter Sarah is a friend of Peggy's from the lawyerly side of her life. The three of us connected on a conference call Wednesday morning to see if this could work with schedules, etc., and then I had a chance to chat with Margaret for a bit. She was lovely (. . . and fun . . .  and funny!), and we agreed that a wedding-toast-fueled, Noontime casual conversation in our little shop was just the ticket to round out her royal wedding visit to Lewes.

So come and join us, dear Reader, for a wee bit of Royal Whimsy in the midst of Lewes' Hoopla!

We're gathering at Noon on Friday for a wedding toast and a casual conversation with Margaret Caufield. Margaret was born in Nottinghamshire and moved to the United States in 1967. She has been a serious collector of royal memorabilia for 40-odd years and has a wealth of juicy bits and stories to share about the royals and their history. As you well know, biblion is tiny, so come early to be part of the fun!

And even if you can't make it for Margaret, be sure to sign the Book of Best Wishes, which we'll send as a gift from the people of Lewes to the happy couple!

Vive la Hoopla!  - Jen

P.S. And here's a reprise of King Floyd that's perfection for the occasion:

Caroline

Dear Reader -  I apologize. I've been a bad blogger - or non-blogger, as the case may be.

I confess that I have been in a bit of a funk. It's not that things haven't been fabulous - they have. Little biblion is happy as a clam. We had our grand-ish opening on April Fool's Day, when Miss C and I didn't cut the ribbon (the Lewes CofC are very good stewards of their resources!):
(Though our Beneficent Landlord, Mr. Ted [just left of me], who also serves on Lewes' City Council, let Miss C cut a sliver off the end with the gianormous scissors.)

The after-party turned out lovely, thanks to the amazing talents of my friends Lorraine and Gary Papp, former pastry and executive chefs of the Buttery, who chose to simplify their lives and start a catering firm called the Essential Chef and Lorraine's delectable cake-baking enterprise, Beach Baker Cakes. Here's a video of Gary from his other life, teaching kids (dig the groovy tunage):

I dunno what Miss C and I would have done without their help. Lorraine was a wonder, making our tiny shop into a gorgeous feast for all of the kind-hearted friends who showed up, despite my funk-driven (I'll get back to that, I promise!) belated invitations! Our dear friend Preston (who's standing right behind us in the Chamber photo) was a blessing as our tireless bartender, and our friends Tim and Ingrid helped us wrap it all up at the end.

There were some amazing treats from our neighbors, Cafe Azafran (who provided some to-die-for tapas), R&L Liquor (who provided the yummy Cava and a tasty Malbec), and Lewes Bake Shop (who provided Miss C's favorite lemon bars). Amy of the latter is featured in this fun video promoing the town's upcoming celebration of the Royal Wedding (I'm sorry, dear Reader, but those who know these folks will find this beyond funny - Go Karen! Our new Queen Mother!):

The crowning jewel still shines today, in Mayumi's lovely floral arrangement:
 

The shop is now open seven days a week, thanks to the help of our friend Ingrid, who used to manage a bookstore and has very generously agreed to help us out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The only shot of Ingrid that I have is in profile, as she and her husband, Tim, check our friend Dean in at Taste the Fruit of the Vine last September (Ingrid's an amazing person and a perfect fit with biblion's vibe - we're so happy that she's able to hang with us a bit!):

As I said, happy as a clam.

So back to that funk.

I knew this was coming, but I've kept trying to turn to the side in the hopes of deflecting its impact a bit. But then my friends Britt and Cliff walked into the shop, and the full force came rushing back as I knew there were others in the world for whom this date would have a certain, heavy impossibility to it.

You see, dear Reader, our dear Caroline died just a year ago on this day (she was Britt's mother and Cliff's wife). Caroline had beaten the crap outta cancer two times in a row and had thrown in an impressive fight with heart disease in the midst, but the cancer caught up with her a couple of years ago, coming back with a vengeance just before her 70th birthday:

It was one of those it-kinda-feels-like-it-might-be-the-last-one moments, and in the spirit of keeping it as fun as we darn-well could, our friend Lynda threw a tea party for her (I, of course, brought the hats):

Then Miss C and I hit the streets in Reho, getting birthday wishes from the masses. Here's a sampling:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It was awesomely fun, but, looking back on it, I feel so sad: while I'd hoped against hope that it wasn't true, Caroline never made it to 71.

Caroline and I fell in love in choir at St. Peter's. We found each other in the alto section and found kindred spirits with equally twisted senses of humor. We then found ourselves giggling in the corners of the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) meetings, and then in our EfM (Education for Ministry) seminar.

I didn't have to grow to love Caroline, I loved her instantly, and I treasured her friendship among the favorites of my life. What made it special was the stunning openness and honesty that we shared - something about the way we resonated together made it okay to share some of the deepest aspects of our selves (particularly our failures and shortcomings) with ease. We were able to be share the fullness of our humanity. And having lost my mom when I was in my 20s, my friendship with Caroline was a true gift. I always felt deeply loved, understood, and appreciated.

Which, I suppose, is why I felt so grateful and honored when she asked for my help last winter/spring as she moved toward death. I'm not sure if I was able to do much, ultimately, but I know that I was able to be there with her - and I know that that was good - for her and for her husband and family. Remembering those days tonight - the rawness of it, the stunning beauty, the tenderness of so many relationships drawing to a close - I am overcome. I miss her terribly, dear Reader.

So here's to Caroline. I went and bought a bottle of the last glass of wine we shared, a nice Italian Prosecco, and I poured myself a glass and raised it as I sat down to write to you. I'm certain that she's raising one with us:

Rest in peace, my beautiful friend.  - (a now de-funkified) Jenny

P.S. Appropriately, from In My Tribe: