Friday, April 1, 2011

Memories of a REAL Real Housewife of New Jersey

I recently saw Elaine at my grandson’s birthday party.  Except for the updated hairstyle, she still looked the same.   She had a welcoming smile and we talked as if we had just seen each other.   Elaine had that way about her.

Elaine became ill a few months ago.  Everyone was hopeful that her illness could be treated.  Sadly, though, she passed away yesterday.

Her passing has brought back a flood of memories.

When I was a young wife and mother, we lived in a quiet little neighborhood, which was tucked away, a few blocks in from the main highway.  There were only five houses on our street. 

Our children attended the local elementary school.  Fields and trees surrounded the school, which was on a cul-de-sac at the end of the block.

None of the women on our street worked outside of the home.   We were stay at home moms.
We put together a home cooked three-course meal every night, which consisted of a salad, main dish and dessert.  
We hung our laundry out on the clothesline to dry.
We took our houses apart twice a year for a spring and fall cleaning.    
We belonged to the PTA, and planned and participated in many fundraisers.
We would get together once a week to craft.  We knitted, crocheted, and made macramé, planters.
We sewed our own curtains, and decorated birthday cakes.
There were hand made costumes for Halloween and pinecone wreaths for Christmas.
We had our gardens, with cukes, tomatoes, string beans and peppers.
We were the real Real Housewives of New Jersey without the drama.

My next-door neighbor, Elaine, was quite an inspiration to us all.  She was the hostess with the mostess.  The original Martha Stewart before there was a Martha Stewart.  She always threw the best bar-b-ques in the summer and hosted wonderful holiday parties in the winter.  

We all had above ground pools in our back yards.   Back yards without fences, I might add.  All of the kids would go from pool to pool.  

Elaine, her sister, Joan and their mother all had tightly curled platinum blond hair.  On a hot summer day, as I sat on my deck, I would watch as the three blond heads bobbed up and down in the pool.  Each one had a cool gin and tonic in her hand.

Elaine was pretty special.  If anyone needed anything, she was the first one there to lend a hand. 
I remember one time we went on a little vacation with the kids.  We had a Doberman, who was a very sweet dog, but hey she was a Doberman.  Elaine, who was not a pet person, volunteered to let Casey out twice a day and feed her at night.  Not only did Elaine take care of our dog while were away, when we got home there was a plate of freshly baked cookies waiting for us.  But that was Elaine.

Once a child in the neighborhood suffered a severe brain injury due to an accident in one of the public community swimming pools.   Elaine joined a group of volunteers to provide daily respite for the Mom.   That was Elaine.

Elaine’s daughter built a house on the empty lot next to her mother and father and Elaine's son lives a short distance away.  She cared for her four grandchildren on a daily basis.

Many years ago, I moved on to a new life.   My kids are grown, married, with children of their own. 
Because their father still lives there, though, they maintain a connection to the neighborhood.  

My children and Elaine’s children remain close friends.   And now their children are growing up together.

Even though time and circumstance have created a gap in our friendship,  Elaine has a special place in my heart and I have many fond memories of the time we had together. 


  1. I feel very fortunate to have met Elaine ... aka, Martha Stewart, Pearl Mesta, and Emily Post, all rolled into one, according to my wife.

    It's amazing how rich our lives are made by the people that we know, meet, or have had contact with during our tenure on earth.

  2. Thank you for sharing bout Elaine. You are lucky to have known her.

  3. That was lovely. A very nice tribute to an old friend.

  4.  I am testing this