Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Lady Who Looked Like Angela Lansbury

I always loved Angela Lansbury. I only saw her once in my favorite musical, "Gypsy." (Yes, my Marmelade Gypsy cat was named Gypsy Rose in honor of that musical.)

Third row, Picadilly Theatre, London, England, 1973. I'll never forget it. She was amazing.

After, of course, she became a staple for television viewers. Her theatrical performances were captured on PBS; her famed "Jessica Fletcher" character still lives on in reruns every day on cable. And of course her movies, including "Gaslight" and "The Manchurian Candidate," where she played the bone-chilling mother of all mothers, are frequently caught on movie channels.

I saw the Lady-Who-Looked-Like-Angela-Lansbury today in the grocery store. It was a startling resemblance of the Angela circa "Murder She Wrote." (Angela is now pushing 90 and I suspect that while she is still a bundle of energy, as witnessed by those who saw her as Madame Arcati in "Blithe Spirit" this past spring can attest, she's probably aged a bit.)

She was a lovely woman, one who was getting ready to make her own window washing cleaner with alcohol, vinegar and dish soap. She spoke with the authority and grace of a woman who not only had done this before and was convinced it was a surefire method but also with the friendly openness our friend Angela always displayed.

But the thing I noticed most about the Lady-Who-Looked-Like-Angela-Lansbury wasn't just the resemblance, her warm manner or even her cleaning recipe. It was her beautiful coat. It was a creamy confection, slightly swingy but not flashy, with a low-key collar and lovely buttons. I'm not sure of the fabric but it gave the impression of a soft, lightweight cashmere or light wool. It was August 25.

Our weather team promises us that by the end of the week it will be hot again, perhaps even as you read this. But today and yesterday have been cold by Michigan-in-August standards, gloomy with heavy banks of clouds above threatening but not delivering raindrops, and more than a little breezy.

It is a reminder, a grim reminder, that this perfect summer will not last forever.

September 2014

I have been trying to wring every glorious moment out of summer that I can. It's been the loveliest I can remember with plenty of sunny days, temperatures between a temperate 75 and warm low-80s. Only once or twice I acknowledged that if I had air, I would turn it on but the fan was fine and humidity passed.

It has been a summer of days at the lake, road trips, thriving flowers in my garden and planters. It has been a time to read good books by the pool and then jump in and swim lap after lap, more and more each time.

It has been a time to feel strong.

I felt strong in the pool the other day. When I got out of the pool, I felt as though I could have gone on. And on. The sun was high and a few white puffy clouds added interest to the expansive blue sky. I was able to swim with both arms for the first time this summer, getting the "go ahead and stop if it's too much" permission from the physical therapist who had been working my shoulder for the past eight weeks. I felt powerful as I did my backstroke and joyful and so very grateful as I looked up into the glorious sky, not minding at all the droplets of water that splashed on my face with each stroke.

It has been a summer of dinners on the porch or Rick's patio, chicken and burgers, hot dogs and pork chops, the occasional steak, all grilled to perfection over charcoal and served up with good conversation.

It has been a summer of seeing old friends -- those I've known since high school and college. A time to create art, to try new things.

And it is going by all too fast.

These two days have served as a cruel reminder that while summer may bounce back to its warm, wonderful self, it won't stay forever. The days are already shorter and soon enough we'll see the first hints of autumn. Perhaps I already have -- there were a few yellow leaves floating in the pool the last time I was there. I'm sure there will be more before it closes for the season. Summer's sweet cherries, blueberries and raspberries will be replaced by crisp tart apples.

When I cut through the campus to get to my physical therapy appointments, I will be confronted with the traffic-clueless students who feel impervious to danger. In a few weeks, the neighbor children will be in school. And yes, last night there was an extra quilt on my bed.

After I saw the Lady-Who-Looked-Like-Angela-Lansbury, I went home and put on a jacket before going to my next appointment. I'd been a little chilled in my long-sleeved shirt and vest. (And to be honest, even with the jacket it was a little cool!). I tried to resist but I couldn't. After all, Jessica Fletcher was a smart one. I think her doppelganger probably was too!


Anonymous said...

You make summer in Michigan seem so idyllic. Glad you have had such an enjoyable time.

Here in Hawaii, we have hurricanes and flooding to dread. El Nino at its finest!

Mae Travels said...

Once I think there was even a frost in this part of Michigan near the end of August. Our weather just can't be trusted! I love your description of the lady WLLAL.

Marilyn Miller said...

I love this post that leads us into thinking of fall. And Angela would have been so wonderful to see on stage and in the market too. Your flower photo is lovely. And I am so glad you are swimming and do so well. For some reason I didn't remember Gypsy being names after Gypsy Rose. Nice post!

Arabella said...

Lovely evocative post spring is about to arrive here but I am not looking forward to summer, just too hot. Enjoy the remaining warm days and may autumn be cosy and comfortable.

littleRamstudio said...

How funny, Gypsy is one of my favourites too! The family always considered it's theme tune should also have been mine too - I've always tried to entertain!
Have never been overly excited at the thought of Autumn creeping in, it's those dark evenings that are the least appreciated.
Here our cats have been looking longingly into the wood stove hoping that a match will be put to it soon.
Heather :)

...... Bobbi said...

The weather in Kentucky has been almost the same, very crisp and "fall-like". I love this time of year!

Shelia said...

Hi Jeanie! Oh, Angela was such a beautiful young woman. I loved her in the olden movies "Gaslight" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". She always seemed like such a nice lady in Murder She Wrote. Hope your week is going well.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Annie said...

Summer is winding down here and the heat is starting its slow turn towards the crispness of Fall. Your bundle of apples reminds me of the upcoming Apple Hill Days and the annual (though missed recently) trip to Placerville and catching up with long time friends, Barb and Jeff. Can't wait to actually get up there, finally, this year.

Sheila da Silva said...

Hi Jeannie, and first of all, Thank you for visiting my blog and introducing yourself!
Nice to meet you. I too am an Angela Lansbury fan, and watch the reruns of Murder She Wrote on TV every evening here at 7pm!
It is decidedly Fall- like here today, and I am going to put a blanket over the foot of the bed tonight....just in case.
I do love Fall though, and the thought of fresh picked crisp apples excites me, as do cozy sweaters and homemade soups!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Sounds like an altogether perfect summer! I love the description of swimming in the rain! That would be so fun!

I love Angela Lansbury! I saw her in"Gypsy", too,when the production moved from the West End to Broadway via a quick engagement in Los Angeles in 1974. She was absolutely terrific. (I had seen Ethel Merman before and Tyne Daly after in other productions of the show, but liked her version best!)\

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

It was a glorious summer, wasn't it Jeanie! Me at the beach in Carmel, you by the lake, and me again here visiting lakes, horse ranches, farms and local discoveries. But now the weather is chillier, even on this second day of our state fair when typically, it's SWELTERING! But not this year. Fall wants to make an entrance much sooner, and it's just as well for me; school officially starts on Monday, and summer will be a souvenir.

Mary Rose's said...

Another Angela Lansbury fan signing in: she was the perfect Mrs. Lovett to George Hearn's Sweeney Todd in the musical of the same name ...1980-something. Oh my.

Summer hangs on here in SC. Hummingbirds are here, zipping around me as I refill the feeders. Kids are back in school, USC students are obliviously occupying sidewalks, but you know what? It was only 69 degrees when I woke up this morning. And THAT's a sign that cooler fresher air is on its way here. YAY!

Oh, and the tropical storm Ericka. Fine.

XOXOXO to the Best Appreciator I know (#you.)

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm glad the Summer has been a n njoyable one for you... Even if it's over all too soon.

Mmm... Cherries...

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

The coat that you the Angela look alike sounds beautiful, but I hate that we've needed coats! We've had chilly weather for the last week or so and some are saying "yea fall!" but I am not happy about it at all! I like fall well enough - just not during a summer month! It looks like warmer temperatures are returning to our area starting tomorrow, though, and hopefully they will stick around. I'd love an Indian Summer!

Kitty said...

Your writing is wonderful, as usual. I wish I were there to share your wonderful summer. Ours here has been Very hot and dry. Reading writings like yours is a breath of fresh air. God bless you today and always. Love you.

shoreacres said...

I'm so glad summer has been such a wonderful time for you. You've had a chance for nearly everything I remember as part of a perfect summer. None of that for me -- along with nearly everyone down here, we're longing for autumn and winter. When I read that your Angela-look-alike was wearing a coat?!?! Oh, my goodness. I'd just like to have it below 70 one morning!

I'm glad to hear that shoulder's doing well, for sure. Feeling strong is good!

Tammie Lee said...

wonderful how your pulled your tale together from the beginning to the end. it is that time where seasons are changing and i wish so much that i could enjoy the end of summer like you are. but we are hiding from the smoke and it changes everything.

Mari said...

They say fall is a season to slow down, think & reflect on things and life. I think you are already in the mood for it or at least you sounded like you are going there.

I was out today and was feeling melancholic about the weather. It was gray and a bit chilly. It wasn't bad, just you know that it isn't something you normally feel in summer. I looked at people and noticed that their clothes have been different these past few days. Indeed summer is wrapping up. It's sad but a cuddly fall can't be worse.

Glad to hear you've had a very productive & enjoyable summer.

The French Hutch said...

It certainly sounds like you had a wonderful summer Jeanie. I wouldn't mind a little change in the forecast and a preview of cooler days. I bet you'll have more summer days ahead. I enjoyed you sharing a special theatre experience in London. It brought back my own memories. It's always fun to see people who remind us of someone. I love watching Angela Lansbury in old movies and also the "Murder She Wrote" series.
It's been a busy summer here too with a little renovating going on and not much fun but plans to change that soon!
Hope you are enjoying a great weekend.


Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

This is my favorite time of the year. We're still in the middle of a drought out here and no sign of fall yet. I'm really looking forward to it.

Tamara said...

You're so right! Thanks for visiting Thyme-for-tea. Isn't it funny you post on
Fall the same time I post on Spring. It was lovely to read how strong you were feeling in the pool - I love that feeling of being able to just go on and on... great feeling. Sorry that the chill is coming your way - but as Mari points out - seasons are important for us. Lets just take the change in our strides. Enjoy the momebt. ps have enjoyed reading Ricks blog - but he does need to improve the layout!

Beate said...

What a wonderful summer you had so far.It sounds like you made the best of it :) I'm so happy you could swim with both arms like that! That must have felt awesome! :) The clouds in the picture are SO beautiful! And sleepy kitties always make me smile :)
Now I want an Angela Lansbury coat :D
Have a wonderful week and hopefully more gorgeous summer days.
Lots of hugs for you,

Jenny Woolf said...

I don't really like the autumn - I know many people love it but I want to hang on to summer too. Here in England we haven't had good weather lately. It hasn't been a terribhly good summer anyhow but the last few days it's felt like March or October! Well, I tell myself that there are pleasures to living in London in the winter so it could be much worse. It was such a weird and delightful feeling to spend a week in New Zealand last October and suddenly have it like May in Britain. The vegetation and many of the plants looked surprisingly similar to parts of Britain too, which heightened the strange feeling :)
If it wasn't 24 hours flight away I might recommend it to everyone :)
By the way those apples look wonderful. Are they Worcester Pearmains? They're the earliest apple, taste wonderful but don't keep. I always make the most of them.

Bella Rum said...

No, it won't last forever. That's for sure, but it has been beautiful and fun while it lasted. I'm glad to hear that you're feeling strong. :) My sister loved Angela Landsvury.

Esme said...

I loved Murder She Wrote. I was in Mendocino once where it was filmed. Frost aghh. On our trip we went from 110 to an outright cold night where heaven forbid I had to invest in a pair of cute Euro jeans. Honestly I sweated like nothing else. It is so hot here with humidity like the rain forest. Here is home-I was in a suit with proper shoes yesterday-first day back and thought I was going to melt-It had rained so the humidity was so high-my hair was a ball of curly frizz.

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