I remember a funny incident several years back. When Katherine and Jay first moved to the West Coast, they were fresh out of college and full of adventure. They took advantage of the richness of the LA experience, the beauty of the Malibu coast, the fun of the celebrity carnival. They got a kick out of the whole thing without taking it (or themselves) too seriously. Jay has a photographic memory, so he quickly learned all the short cuts around town. He could skim through a People Magazine for 30 seconds at the grocery checkout, and then point out a minor B-list starlet at the drug store. Since neither he nor Katherine ever met a stranger, this engendered some intriguing experiences. (Case in point: the Oscar photo with Hilary Swank that was on the Caringbridge site for a while.)
When friends or relatives came out to visit, we were given the royal treatment. For instance, a young cousin got to meet both the Hilton sisters on the same trip. (Paris said, “That’s hot,” when Katherine mentioned they’d run into Nicki earlier.) We stayed at the old Roosevelt in Hollywood, shared the ladies’ room at Mr. Chow’s with Jessica Alba, shopped on Rodeo. It was a blast. But since both Katherine and Jay are exceedingly frugal, they devised methods to do it all on a dime.
“The Ivy” is one of the poshest lunchspots in LA. It is a charming, flower-dripping Country French cottage on Robertson decorated with vintage pieces. (It is also where Amie almost died on another occasion, but that’s a long story...maybe it will be on “Amie’s Mom’s Blog” one day.)The best seat in the house is a cozy enclave on the front porch consisting of an old wicker settee overflowing with fluffy English chintz pillows, a shabby chic table, and little bistro chairs. The first time she saw it, Katherine said, “Mom would love this.” So do all the celebs, which brings us to what is not charming about The Ivy: swarms of paparazzi crowding the narrow sidewalk in front, impeding your way in. The prices are another negative. So Katherine and Jay devised a strategy. They would take their guests during the lull time between late-lunch and early hors d’oeuvres, and order coffee and one food item to share: The Ivy’s signature banana split, which is served on a platter and is big enough to feed the Russian Army.
So, on to the incident in question. Too thrifty for Valet Parking, Jay dropped Amie and me off to secure a table, while he and Katherine circled for a parking spot. Disappointed to hear that there was no room at the inn, we started walking back down the sidewalk. We ran into Katherine and Jay on their way up to join us. They just laughed when we told them we’d been turned away. Katherine was fairly fixed up that day. (i.e.: actually had on some makeup and had washed her hair.) She immediately went into character and marched through the swarm of photographers and up the steps as if she owned the place. We, her entourage, were quickly ushered in...not to a side table near the bathroom, but to that glorious front and central spot. (Amie and I gave the maitre d’ a triumphant glance as we walked by.) Every eye in the place was on the striking 5’10”blonde, the paparazzi abuzz: Was she Somebody? Or about to be?
For some reason, I thought about that the other day on Casa Colina’s field trip.
We made a motley crew. The five female patients and four staff members (with one mom along for the ride) were taken in vans to a nail salon in a nearby town. It was no small feat to get all of those wheelchairs and walkers loaded up. We had several false starts, and then got a little lost. But Katherine gabbed the whole way there, excited to be in a vehicle other than an ambulance for the first time since April 20. Starting and stopping like a herd of turtles, we finally made our grand entrance into the salon.
It got quiet. Every eye in the place...
The Ivy was then.
The nail spa is now.