Monday, May 9, 2011

I'll Always Love My Mama...

Even as a very small child I always realized how lucky I was.
My mom, Helen Rousseau, exhibited style & grace reserved for royalty! For those of you that don't know the story, she graduated from VOGUE! Dedicated her life to teaching her children interior design/antiques/art & music. There was a nude mural of her painted by a student from the art institute on the wall in the lobby of "The Oriental" theatre in downtown Chicago!  

When she walked into a room people stopped speaking mid sentence to see what she was wearing, who she was with, and how many people they'd have to break through to get close enough to vibe with her. You can't see it in the photo, but her summer signature hair color was a fiery auburn. She wore it close--very Dorothy Dandridge.   

One night I sat in her dressing room, at her art deco vanity, as she prepared to go out for the evening with my dad. Father dabbled in politics, so they  always had a weekly event to attend. That night my mom chose the Coco Chanel, olive-green mohair, 2 piece box-cut suit. Her matching crocodile shoes and bag stamped "Made in Cuba" sits in my dressing room today! For some reason, that moment, all in slow motion, is etched in my memory forever. Her standing behind me looking in that huge circular mirror, adjusting her pearls, buttoning her suit jacket, and applying her finishing beauty touches.  

I remember sitting there in a cloud of Chanel No. 5 cologne. She would spray it in the air and stand there and allow it to cover her like a veil, while I played with the "Tigress" cologne bottle with the tiger skin top. I'd marvel at all the tubes of matt lipstick lined up like little soldiers, the powders that smelled of lavender with big fluffy puffs, rhinestones & huge varieties of perfume bottles.

There was always some Dinah Washington or Ella Fitzgerald wafting upstairs as a prelude to the evenings activities. We'd all stand in the foyer for our good-night kisses as we said good-bye to her as my dad escorted my mom down the walk way to the butter yellow, 4 door, now vintage, Caddie. Then off they'd drive into the night for a political event at the 
Condessa Del Mar, Drake Hotel, or Conrad Hilton.   

After her, there were no more...
I miss you Mama...

Helen Rousseau

An Orange Moon
2436 W 59th St. Chicago, IL 60629
Friday 11a-3p Saturday & Sunday 11a-5p

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