Shareen Published in Darling Magazine

“Her Classic Plaids and Tweeds”
     Her’s are the first eyes into which we gaze.  Her’s the first hair that enchants and the first necklace that entertains.  She is the first model, the first fashion show, and our first icon. Some of us adopt our mother’s taste and some of us her manner, but all of us in some way can take from her a lesson in style.
My mother kept her cashmere sweaters in plastic bags, and her perfumed handkerchiefs ironed and folded into the top drawer of her dressing table.  Her day clothing lived in a small tidy closet, shoes in boxes, jackets separated from dresses, skirts in a row.
     By day she wore classics; slim skirts in plaids and tweeds, jewel necked twin sets and flats. By night she was all glamour, elegance and chic theatricality.  The basement closets were reserved for her evening wear and they were her private costume house.
She would dress quietly and alone in her room.  Sometimes I would peer in to see her sitting at her dressing table, an actress at half hour…taking out her pink rollers, brushing out her hair, applying her lipstick. Always a Revlon red.
     My dad would round up the three of us into the car and pull down the driveway up to the base of the front walk and there the four of us would wait for Mom.  From the middle of the back seat between my brother and baby sister I would sit, head turned to the left, eyes firmly fixed on the front door. Soon it would swing open, her long graceful arm would push out the screen and out she would step, 5’10, all legs, hair curled, red lipstick, painted nails and on this night in a cream pleated palazzo jumpsuit with gold and turquoise earrings, sandals and a simple gold bracelet high on her arm.  Around her waist and dropping onto the pleats, a gold coin belt turning a queen (a proper English woman ) into an Egyptian dancer.
     My dad would say, “Look at your mother.  Isn’t she beautiful?” And we would all watch her round the front of the car, pull open the door and dip gracefully  into the front seat. Glamour would become the air around us as it would fill with Chanel 5.
I see her too arriving to us many a Sunday morning before church and the entrance was always the same. The door sweeping open, her long legs reaching out over each long step of the walk, and now prim, she would be in a plum tweed Jaeger suit with a classic jacket and pencil skirt, always just past the knee, low heeled pumps, the small gold watch that always graced her wrist, and of course, her sunglasses.
     If I wasn’t in the back seat waiting for show time, I was at the base of the staircase sitting in the blue chair to the left of the front door.  I would hear her bedroom door open, my heart would tighten with anticipation and I would fix my eyes to the top step. She would round the stairwell and I can still see her hand reaching for the banister. I wouldn’t smile but instead with awe I would watch her like a movie star. Tonight gracing her long line, a slim black caftan trimmed with gold and bronze embroidery, slit up both sides revealing her legs, chandelier earrings, hair up and wrapped with a braid.  The Queen of England had become the Queen of the Nile.
     Over my head, just to the side of the door frame was a small mirror and often she would bend forward into it to make a final adjustment before stepping out.  “Be good”, she would say on her way to meet my dad, always seated in the blue Cadillac at the bottom of the walk.
      I do not own any of her clothing but I share her mixed heritage and a love for two sides of the world.  We are the Queens of England and the Queens of the Nile. From her too, I took the value of quiet preparation and a grand entrance.  These are the timeless pieces of womanhood I inherited.

Yuki Fujita Artshow

Shareen girl, Yuki Fujita, is one very talented artist. She combines the artistic style of her home country, Japan, with today’s culture all around the world. To view her work, you can attend her art show this weekend in Redondo Beach. Details below!

place : ego fine art
          604 North Francisca Avenue Redondo Beach, CA 90277
opening reception : Saturday, March 22nd  18:00-22:30 
              open  Friday-Sunday 12:00-16:00
To view more of Yuki’s work, visit her website here.

The Typing Test: Part 2


I walked out onto a wet Madison Avenue.

It was still raining.  I was without an umbrella. I was so disturbed about my failed typing test that I didn’t care.
I walked without direction.
I knew the city but not well enough to be purposeful.

The rain splashed up onto the backs of my legs. My hose were getting ruined.
My feet hurt in  my new pumps and I knew already that I would never wear them again.
I stopped at the first corner and looked at the backs of my calves. They were dotted with sooty spots.  My hair was growing fuller and frizzier by the minute and my new suit was becoming darker with each drop.
I didn’t care.
I had been dreaming of this day for much of my life, and  I honestly didn’t know if I would be capable of passing the test.
50 words a minute.  Five mistakes.  Five mistakes. 50 words a minute  Five mistakes.  I though of nothing else.

At the time, Conde Nast was housed in a grand brick building on Madison avenue between 44th and 45th streets. I wandered north and then west over to fifth avenue and then continued to Sixth.
I stumbled upon a La Fondue restaurant.
La fondu held a fond memory for me of a funny visit to Manhattan shared with my two dearest friends from Smith.  Eda and Wendy and I had come into the city to run around for a day and we had lunch at La Fondue.
La fondu aptly serves fondu and fondu is served in little pots that have either very hot cheese in them or hot oil.  The cheese is for the dipping of bread and the oil is for the cooking of meats.
The waitresses walk quickly through the narrow aisles saying hot oil, hot oil with heavy french accents and we found this unremarkable thing so funny.  For months we mimicked them and cracked up as if we were actually amusing.
Hot oil, hot oil… was just one of those things that stuck.
I went in.
I had some French onion soup.
I thought of Wendy and Eda and tried to feel some sense of levity but I  was numb with misery.
Ms Slavin had told me to come back when I was ready.
I was not yet ready.  I felt terrible in fact.
I stumbled out and back over to Fifth avenue.
Having gone a bit north, I found myself facing St. Patrick’s cathedral.
In the movie version perhaps the music would change or maybe the rain would suddenly stop and the sun would break free .
Nothing dramatic happened.  I was just desperate.
I climbed the wide grey steps of the cathedral.
I was not a catholic but you can bet I put my fingers in the holy water, I made the sign of the cross, I bowed before kneeling.  I placed my lips over my clasped hands, and prayed. ” Dear God,  please, please let me pass this typing test.  Please let me do it right.  I want to work at Conde Nast so badly. Please.  I feel I have been good.   I have worked so hard.  I don’t want to work any where else.  Just please let me pass this typing test.” Amen.

I walked back.  By now I looked  rather like a heavy metal singer.
My hair was outrageously undone, my hose were mottled and I didn’t care.  I marched thought the revolving door, I went up to the 8th floor, I sat in the pristine white waiting room, and Ms Slavin came out.

“Are you ready”, she queried.
I looked straight at her, “yes.”
“Yes I am”, I said.
I sat down,
She handed me the copy and blessedly it was the same copy I’d had earlier.
I lifted my wrists, turned my head left to read and turning on the timer, she said, ” Begin”.
52 words.
4 mistakes
She smiled.
I smiled.
I was invited back for an interview.

To be continued.