I received an extraordinary Christmas gift yesterday.  One I never thought I’d see in my lifetime – one I asked for when I was five years old.

First, let me tell you that there is a little 14 year-old ballerina staying with me for this Christmas season.  Her name is Juliet Doherty.  She’s staying here with her Mom because she plays the part of Clara in the Nutcracker segment of the Radio City Music Hall Spectacular with the Rockettes.

Juliet is an angel – a beautiful, yet sweet face; a charming, happy countenance – and her dancing…   Ah, her dancing….  She has the perfect ballerina’s body and she has an extension up the side of her head!  When she’s on stage, she lights up the 6000 seat theatre at the Music Hall!

She’s here with her mother, Krista.   I’ve watched her over these last few months, stretching, standing in her toe shoes that her mom just stitched the ribbons onto, working two to five shows a day – with her always smiling face and her always charming manner.

One night, I was watching her Mom work on the new pointe shoes she got for the show – a little brighter pink than what she had been wearing for practice.  All of a sudden, a story from my childhood rose up within me like tears.   I told them:

I took ballet when I was very little.  I loved it.  I must have been  good at it because I remember the teacher telling my mother that I should go on to pointe classes.  I would need toe shoes, of course, instead of the ballet flats with the elastic across the front that I had been wearing.  I wanted pointe shoes badly, but my mother said that we probably couldn’t afford them so not to get my hopes up.

My grandmother came over a few nights later and I started dancing for her in my pink leotard and my ballet flats.  I didn’t say anything about what the teacher said, so I don’t know how my grandmother knew.  Perhaps she didn’t — perhaps it was just a coincidence.  She said, “Oh, Linda, that is so beautiful!  You should have real ballerina shoes.  I’m going to get you some toe shoes!  Pretty pink ballerina toe shoes, just for you!”

I was so excited, I could barely contain myself.  I didn’t ask when, but if she said so, then she would, right?   She would get them, I was sure of it.

The next time she came to visit, I looked at both of her hands for a bag or a box.  Nothing.  She didn’t say anything either.   I was not a bold child – I would never have said, “Grandma, where are the pointe shoes you promised me?”

Every time my Grandmother came – for a long time – I looked to see if she was carrying a bag or a box that might have my pointe shoes.  No.  Not ever.  There never were any pointe shoes.

I finally gave up looking.  I finally gave up ballet.

I’d almost forgotten this story if it wasn’t for watching Krista stitch the bright pink ribbon onto the bright pink pointe shoes that would grace the stage at Radio City Music Hall.  It made me remember that I gave up on a dream a long time ago.

How easily dreams are crushed when we are small!

Yesterday, Krista and Juliet came home from seeing the rest of their family — all in town for Christmas.  Juliet gave me a  Christmas bag with bright red paper peeking out the top.  “Merry Christmas!” she said.

I looked inside and saw a pair of bright pink toe shoes, autographed by Juliet.  It says, “Linda, a pair of pretty pink pointe shoes just for you.”  I couldn’t believe it!  I finally got my toe shoes!

It’s almost 60 years later and still I feel the excitement of having my own pair of pointe shoes!  I can’t wear them, of course.  They’re Juliet’s size 4 – and I’m not a size 4 anything anymore.

I have them on a shelf by my computer.  As I looked at them today, I made a pact with myself that I would never give up on a dream again.  I still have many dreams and sometimes I tell myself that perhaps it is too late.

No, it’s never too late.  If I can finally get my pointe shoes, I can write a book, I can have my Tuscan farmhouse, I can have the love of my dreams.  I’m not giving up.

Juliet gave me the greatest of gifts – the gift of a dream come true…

Deliciously yours in the Hopes and Dreams of it All, Linda

Here is Juliet Doherty, en pointe.  She is even more beautiful in person than she is here.  Thank you, Juliet, for a very special gift!

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and ”Spiritual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you.

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“The new, hot color is orange!” my son announced at lunch one day two weeks ago.  He then gave examples of how a touch of orange – as a wool cap, perhaps, or a puffy vest, could be the perfect accessory to an otherwise understated,  but elegant, “bella figura.”

I wanted to howl  with laughter!  As someone who spent many years in the fashion business and bored my buyers to tears with my latest proclamation on the “new, hot color”, I remember when my own conversation was all about orange and what that would mean to the fashion business (without which color, of course, the next season would be a disaster!).

There have been many years between these two conversations.  Josh was barely out of swaddling clothes when I made my mad and crazy platform for orange as THE color that everyone had to have.

It was in Paris in, I want to say, 1982.  After having spent a week in Florence in a hotel room on the floor in a virtual sea of rolled-up yarn swatches from which I was trying to create the following Fall’s color pallet —  even to crawling around and looking under the bed for just the right swatches of color that I was certain I had seen somewhere, but currently were hidden from view.  “I have it!” I cry, gleefully holding aloft a  little ball of orange yarn and proclaiming it the bread and wine of the following season.   Sing Hallelujah, my children!

It didn’t stop there.  We arrived in Paris and hopped in a cab to go to dinner.  I started  again on how orange had to be just so — not too red, not too yellow, but just as right as Goldilocks’ porridge.  I remember holding my hands in front of me, palms up, fingers curled as if I were Uma Thurman receiving the Hattori Hanzo sword in “Kill Bill 1”, grasping and receiving at the same time – “Can you see it?  Can you see this perfect orange in sweaters, in jackets, in handbags, as a belt wrapped around a gray cashmere dress?”

I stopped for a moment and looked up from  my hands.  My two buyers, Meryl and Joe, were looking at me in either rapt attention or appalled concern for my well-being.  Either way, in that moment, I burst out laughing.  “Hey, Guys!  It’s just a color!  What AM I going on about?  This is not the solution for world peace!”   They looked at me, stunned, and then they, too, burst into laughter at my intensity about of all things –  orange!

We had a great dinner – that’s hard not to do in Paris – and came back to the Meurice Hotel.  We came to my room to call New York about a problem that needed resolving, knowing that it was 6 hours earlier in New York and we would be able to find one of the assistants, Paul, still at work.

As we opened the door to my room, we were struck by drapes in orange, a bedspread in orange and bolster pillows in orange.  Everywhere we looked, we saw orange!

It was playtime:  Meryl ran to the drapes and pulled one around herself, Grecian style — while Joe pulled the cover off the bed and wrapped it around himself so that he looked  like an orange Lawrence of Arabia.  We laughed ‘til our sides hurt, even as we made the call to New York and got Paul on the phone.  The poor  kid! – a hard-working assistant buyer, trying hard to please as his Vice President and two of his buyers were howling with laughter and parading around the room making speeches about orange!

Now I sit here at lunch listening to my darling son tell me that I have to understand how important orange is.  As the memory of Meryl and Joe decked out in my orange room décor runs through my mind, I try to listen seriously and intently to his important pronouncement –  without chuckling.   It is hard.

I’ve just returned from Christmas shopping for Josh – and while I cannot say here what one of his presents is because I don’t want to give it away – I have just scoured the city for the perfect gift with just the exact amount of orange in it to satisfy my Ralph Lauren-loving, sartorially resplendent son.  I was even able to have it wrapped with orange ribbon!

I shake my head at my silliness…

Still, there is something about this that moves my heart – that he is so his own person – and so his mother’s son…

Deliciously yours in the Oneness of it All, Linda

NOTE:  The dress in the thumbnail above is Bottega Veneta, 2010.  Divine!

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you.

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