The Face that Launched 1000 ships

By midweek we were so tired we headed for bed early. The boys were out, I had just brushed my teeth when suddenly the phone rang-it was the land line.

Uh-oh, I thought, No one has that number but my husband’s Parisian co-workers.  I better grab it just in case.

I whispered as one would do when two out of three of us are asleep in a five hundred square foot space, “hello?”

Hullllloooo!” an English accent blared through the phone, “Elizabeth? I think I’m standing in front of your apartment, but I don’t know for sure.”

I whispered to myself Seinfeldianly-Nanny!

I looked out the window to see Nanny himself (surprisingly pulled together).  He stood across the street and looked around aimlessly-rolling bag in hand. When he spotted me he shouted, “Hang up! Hang up! This is costing me a fortune!”

Ah yes. Nanny had come to stay for only his secretary knew how long. We’d never get the exact length of his visit out of him because even he didn’t know what it was. Did I mention the apartment was five hundred square feet and already occupied by three people? I did? No matter. The fun will be to see all six foot two of Nanny fit into the bathroom made for elves.

Let’s backtrack a little-my husband’s friend, who we call Nanny, is from England. They met in Africa on a horseback riding safari. My my. Nanny was in the bathroom of the Norfolk hotel stealing what the English jauntily refer to as loo rolls-also known as toilet paper. This is really all you need to know about him. You should also know-we refer to him as Nanny because he truly loves our son.  We’re convinced he flies across the Atlantic via open umbrella to visit.

old east africa postcards

When we first arrived in Paris, two weeks before Nanny showed up on our door step, my husband called him to give him our address and phone number. He said he would pop over from England that first weekend-we never heard from him again.

Wait-that’s not true. He left us a message to say he wasn’t sure he would be able to make it because of some crisis-he had to have lunch with the Prime Minister. Then he mumbled out,  “No, no, no.  I’m sorry.  Did I say I was having lunch with the Prime Minister??  Ha ha ha!!! Oh, heaven’s no.  I’m kidding, of course.  I didn’t mean that. I meant I’m having dinner with him. Bye!”

THEN we never heard from him again. I told my husband, he’d probably been kidnapped.

I was wrong.  At eleven PM on a Wednesday night-exasperated and bleary eyed-he was on the sofa in Paris, ready to regale us with stories-each one more riveting than the last. We had no choice but to stay up and listen to his adventures. In fact-they were so good I’ve been banned from retelling them in this blog for security reasons (!?!). So, ask us in person (after you’ve had a thorough background check).

In the morning the baby was nothing but thrilled to see him.


featured image: mary poppins, julie andrews, 1964,

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