Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breakfast at Bonbon's

Breakfast at Bonbon's. Photo: Deb Stein

I did a sneaky thing, and now it's in the New York Times.

I copied and pasted a couple of illuminating Facebook updates by my friend Deb, otherwise known as Bonbon Oiseau  - about what it is like to have three elderly Long Island relatives, her mom, aunt and uncle, refugees from Sandy, staying with her - and emailed them to Penelope Green (who wrote about our terrace), who was working on a story about dislocation for The Times. As a result Deb was interviewed earlier this week.

So now Deb and Jim are page four of the article about the new home life for refugees. It's a very nice read. And Deb hasn't killed me. Yet.

Losing Power but Finding a Way to Connect

Deb also sent me an email that was both heart wrenching and amusing:

"We drove donations today out to SI and Coney and then went out to my cousin's house, my father's parent's house where he lived when he got out of the service in 1945. The house was not quite decimated but almost. It looked like Dresden, they lost three cars and found a seal in their backyard. She's an RN so she was hanging tough, but Marie, it was heartbreaking. Then we went to find Jim's workmate who lives in East Rockaway because he couldn't reach him allweek. He's OK but lost all his stuff, no power, heat, boat on neighbor's lawn. The destruction is unimaginable and then you come into other neighborhoods and it's like nothing happened. So my elderly houseguests needed a bigger hug when we got home. It's been surreal. They're all troopers really."

(And yes, if you are wondering, that seal was alive.)

Sitting at Bonbon and Jim's table is one of the great pleasures in life. And if I was a refugee I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be. Fluffy bathrobes, nice cats; one is also beautifully fed, copiously watered (high proof fire water and flights of wines - well, perhaps not at breakfast, above, but what's in Jim's mug?) and thoroughly entertained, sometimes to breaking point.


  1. I read the NYT article this morning and squee'd when I recognized Bon Bon's story. Yes, I thought I recognized one FB comment word for word. How exciting and moving to read her interview.

  2. Thank you Marie. I am speechless. Teary. Thank you. Me too you.

  3. Yes, times like this are all about connecting and re-connecting.
    Over in NJ, my blog-friend and his wife have been recharging batteries and doing laundry and cooking hot meals...because their power was restored before others'.
    All I could do was via the Red Cross Appeal. Go! New Yorkers!

  4. Donatella - indeed. :-)

    Bonbon! Thank YOU!

    Thanks for your donation dinahmow. At the moment the Red Cross is not very popular in these parts. Time they were audited, I think.

  5. How could anyone not like a lady whose nickname is Bonbon? Delightful article. Hey Marie, if not Red Cross, what organization would you suggest to donate funds for hurricane relief?

    1. Martina - I don't know what to say. It is a good question. There is no doubt that the Red Cross does good, but it moves more slowly than a glacier in the times when glaciers moved slowly. And it does not seem to be where it is needed. For an organization of that size I find it inexplicably out of touch. Do bear in mind that viewpoint is a narrow one. There is perhaps a big picture I am not seeing.

      The organizations that seem most effective now are ad hoc. Occupy Sandy is dispatching people and goods to where they need to be, and is very mobile in terms of social media updates, and information-distribution. I vote for them or the smaller places they support.

  6. What a great story in the NYT. I loved "It's like FEMA for Jews." And BonBon's story was the best way to end it, on a note of gravity." I could see all these characters in a Neil Simon play...

  7. New to your Blog. Greetings from a small balcony on 57th and the Hudson River, where little grows but I keep trying....GH

  8. Oh thank you for the final note on the deal, my macabre mind was wondering. The whole thing is so hard to take in, from our inland viewpoint.


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