It’s ironic that I wrote about preparing for the Apocalypse yesterday because when I got to work, I had a hissing tire that was flat by the time I finished calling the auto club. Had the “you know what” hit the fan yesterday morning, I would have been “hoofing it.” Luckily, yesterday was not Doomsday, since one of the remaining items on my list of life challenges is “learn how to change a tire.” As it turned out, the service technician arrived in less than 10 minutes, found the broken glass in my tire, and fixed the leak with something that looked like a Tootsie Roll candy. The gentleman who helped me was kind, courteous, and upbeat; and he reminded me of someone’s favorite candy.
Whenever I’m reminded of Tootsie Roll candies, I think about Elizabeth Tyminski, probably one of the greatest Tootsie Roll candy aficionados of my generation. Elizabeth was the President of the Junior League of Boston in 2005 – 2006, the same season I co-chaired the League’s 34th Decorator Show House with my friend Audra. Elizabeth loves Tootsie Roll candies and it was important to have these treats on hand for the long days and nights we three toiled away on the third floor of our house, the Richard Henry Dana Jr. House in Cambridge, MA. We were endlessly counting and recounting the daily receipts in order to make the nightly deposit at the bank in Harvard Square; I sometimes wondered if the neighbors didn’t ask themselves “what on earth are those Junior Leaguers doing up there on the third floor, burning the lights until all hours of the evening?”
Elizabeth loved the challenge of getting the spreadsheets to balance, so I was not surprised when I heard she would be chairing the Junior League’s 35th Show House. Elizabeth is thoroughly modern, but she personifies an old notion of the “clubwoman” if such a thing ever existed outside of old movies and novels. She belongs to lots of clubs and organizations in the city and she throws herself into their philanthropic activities; she’s also pretty good at making her NCAA college basketball bracket selections and thoughtfully remembering people on special days.
Today, Elizabeth has invited interested designers to visit The Potter House in Newton; this is an opportunity for talented individuals to see the bare bones of the house and bid on the room(s) they would like to recreate into masterpieces of good design. Once upon a time, before HGTV and reality television makeover shows, there was the Junior League of Boston’s Decorator Show House. In October, it will return to the Boston landscape.
Although I’m “retired” from active membership in the Junior League of Boston and I’m busy designing gardens, I’m still a big fan of decorator show houses. To show my support and to help Elizabeth prepare for the challenges ahead, I’m volunteering to be her Tootsie Roll candy supplier from now until the end of the project. Elizabeth, the sweets are in the mail…goodness knows, you’re going to need them.
Do you have a favorite decorator show house?