She’s Not Called The Dowager Duchess For Nothing


I’m heading off to bed, but thought I’d share the wonderful news that The Dowager Duchess is quite well, thank you.

Here is the message received a short time ago from an old childhood friend named Bonnie:

“Good news. Mom is fine. Howie walked up the 16 flights (what a guy). He bought her some groceries. She wants to stay. I’m sitting here crying. I’m so grateful to Howie. I feel like we owe him our lives. He is a big guy. Now we can relax. I’ve done my Mitzvah for the day. Catch you later.”

Bonnie and I were schoolmates from the age of 10 to 17. They were very big schools and we were in different classes. We didn’t see each other often after fifth grade, but she was always one of those kind, sweet, and decent human beings. I haven’t seen her in more than 40 years. We reconnected on Facebook a few years ago. She is still a kind, sweet, and decent human being.

Bonnie lives with her family in Southern California. She saw my post on Facebook about my inability to reach my mother. She went into action. I don’t know Howie. He doesn’t (well, didn’t) know my mother. But Bonnie contacted him and he, as she described above, walked up 16 flights of stairs to make sure my mother was alright and to let her know we were thinking about her and what we thought her options were (go to the shelter, go to her sister, go to her friend).

In true form, The Dowager Duchess had another option. Stay put. I hope the power comes on soon. I hope cell phone service returns. I hope to see her smiling face on Facebook.

But, right now, I know Jerry and I will sleep much better tonight and I expect the Dowager Duchess will, too. I’m sure it’s comforting to know people care about her. I ‘m sure she was grateful for the message that we’ve been trying to reach her and I’m sure she was shocked by the efforts this complete stranger made on her behalf.

It’s certainly reassuring to me to know there are such kind people in this world.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

37 thoughts on “She’s Not Called The Dowager Duchess For Nothing”

  1. I am so glad that the DD is well. Howie and Bonnie – good for them. There are some wonderful people in the world, for sure.

    I have mixed feelings about Facebook, but through it I have been able to connect with long lost friends and family – it's good that way. I'm on it every day but I resent the time I spend on it!

    1. Judith:
      I also have mixed feelings about Facebook. But the one thing I'm grateful for is the reconnection with long-losts!

      Howie and Bonnie are examples of how people CAN be! What kindness. I will eternally grateful.

  2. Sweet relief! I think a lot of us have been concerned about your Mother… So nice to have such kind friends. No matter what we all do or don't believe in, I can only say… Thank You!

  3. This warms my heart. It is easy to feel cynical about people sometimes but then you hear about kindnesses like this and you feel good about the world again. Glad to hear DD is doing OK and has her feisty spirit!

    1. Jenners:
      Oddly, I was much more cynical when I was younger. I've seen a lot more cruelty since then, but have also experienced so many moments like these. OK, we'll call the DD "feisty" (although right now some other words have been coming to mind). Got to love her!

  4. Such kindness is a fine, fine thing. How wonderful to hear a great story of connection and goodness. Glad the Duchess is well, and that you can rest easy.

    1. Michelle:
      Well, I've never been one to rest easy. Give me something to stew about and I will stew! But what a huge relief. Bonnie and Howie (and the wonderful people I connect with here) make it impossible for me to hate the human race!

  5. Oh, I'm so glad to see this! I was watching the news tonight, and they did a story about a woman who has been traipsing up and down umpteen stories a day in high-rise apartment buildings, helping elderly women she normally helps every day anyway— lugging jugs of water up to them. They're stranded up there, too. The first thing I thought of was you and the D.D., and I wanted to rush to the blog and ask if you had any news lately… but, I thought you might not want us to seem obsessive :))) Glad you are, too! You must have been frantic. I know I definitely would be. I can't imagine her staying put up there with no electricity for two more weeks. It's too cold! Does she have running water and plumbing? Some of the systems are not working because of the power outages.
    Bonnie and Howie… what gems you are! Mitch, I'd help out, too, if I were out there! I feel frustrated that I can't help anyone out there.
    Tonight, there was a benefit telethon concert on during prime time, with Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera, Sting, and Bruce Springsteen. And, they've mercifully cancelled the NY marathon. Even though it brings in millions of $$, it would have taken up the time and resources of police, generators, and hotel rooms that are needed to try to help those who are still homeless, cold, without running water or food or electricity.

    1. Judeet:
      I couldn't remain up there for all that time without power and I'm hoping my mother realizes that quickly. She's not a loner, so beyond the utilities, I would think it could make one go a litle nuts. I've heard that she possibly DID get down to the lobby late yesterday and is safely with others and emergency services. I hope to hear more on that today.

    1. Owl Wood:
      For a gentle, delicate-seeming type, she is very tough. A real survivor. But I hope she, as I've heard she might, has gone downstairs to join her neighbors and emergency crews.

  6. Big relief all round! It is heartwarming to hear of the kindness of people like Bonnie and Howie. The DD is a strong and wonderful woman! x

    1. Elaine:
      My heart is filled with gratitude for Bonnie and Howie. And I'm overwhelmed with the kind offers I've received from others in the area whom I haven't seen for years. People CAN be wonderful! Thanks to you and everyone here for all the support!

  7. What a great story, and what a relief for you! There are still plenty of good people in the world. Hope everything gets back to normal for your mother soon.

  8. Isn't it truly amazing how the kindness of others even 40 years later can be so paramount in your world. Life is connections, all sorts of connections… Happy for you and your MOM!

  9. What wonderful news! Facebook certainly was a big help in this instance creating an international solution to a problem.

    However, I am locked out of Facebook due to a message that someone near Philadelphia PA tried to access my page via Verizon. The prompt says I should change my password, but it seems likely that the hacker is the source of that request in which case I'm giving them my password and free access to my page. What to do…

  10. In times like this when an area is devastated by a storm it is heart-warming to see and hear stories like this, Mitch. It is so reminiscent of when Hurricane Juan devastated our area and the whole community pulled together here.

    So very happy for you,Jerry and your mom.

    1. Jim:
      Thanks, Jim. My mother and I are speaking daily right now and emailing often. She's doing great. She has electricity most of the time. Hot water now in kitchen and one bathroom. Things are slowly improving.

  11. What a great and generous at of total kindness! My younger daughter and son in law were, as of yesterday, virtually out of food and there was no produce to be had anywhere with in even unreasonable walking distance in Manhattan. The whole situation is nightmarish, particularly for the aged or infirm stuck on high floors with no working elevators.

    The DD is a very lucky lady!

    1. Will:
      Sure hope your daughter and her husband are seeing their situation improve. My mother is definitely very lucky. She was well-stocked with food, water, and meds. She had wonderful volunteers, emergency workers, and neighbors watching out for her. She was able to stay in her own home. Some of the stories are just heartbreaking. I'll keep a good thought for your family!

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