Found: One Dowager Duchess

At last, the Dowager Duchess has been found. Of course, the lady would tell you she was never lost, having herself known where she was all the time.

Electricity, via an emergency generator, was restored to the building at 10:30 Sunday night. Still no hot water. But it will come. I had been posting requests for information on different websites and was gratified by the responses I received. One person who apparently lives nearby knew who The Duchess was and emailed me during the night. He said he was heading over to the building and would ask the volunteers making the rounds to get a message to her for me. It turns out the information I had been given about The Duchess being downstairs was not correct. A message appears to have been mis-relayed. An easy thing to happen. She has been in her apartment this entire time. Anyway, about 20 minutes later I received an email telling me someone had just been to visit the Duchess and her computer was back online. So, I Skyped and she answered!


Fortunately, the Duchess’s next-door neighbors — a mother and adult son — had also not evacuated the building. My mother said she couldn’t possibly have stayed the week if it hadn’t been for him. In addition to the kind volunteers and emergency workers who have been climbing the stairs throughout the week knocking on doors, delivering food and water, and checking on residents, my mother’s neighbor regularly checked in on her and went above and beyond the call of duty.

Someone a couple of floors above had apparently opened the taps when there was no water flowing and then didn’t close them again before abandoning their apartment for the duration. When the water came back on, it came back on with a vengeance. My mother heard rain against her windows and thought it was pouring outside. But she then noticed it wasn’t pouring outside every window. She walked into one of the bedrooms and found it had become a lake. The Fire Department broke into the apartment above, turned off the taps, and cleaned up the standing water. The very kind neighbor then mopped up my mother’s floors! I’m glad he was there. I don’t do floors!

Oh, I didn’t have my external camera connected, not realizing I would be Skyping today. The Duchess uses the built-in camera on her laptop. So I could see her but she couldn’t see me. When I told her my camera was turned off but I was thrilled to see her beautiful face, she immediately started patting her hair into place. She said, “Oh, if I’d known, I would have put on lipstick!”

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..

39 thoughts on “Found: One Dowager Duchess”

  1. This is just fantastic news. I know you must have been really anxious for an actual conversation with your mother (and seeing her, too) rather than just messages about her from others, kind though they were. If my mother had lived to the era of Skype, I know she would have put on her make up and "appropriate" clothes before using it! The thought brings a smile to my face.

  2. Even I am breathing a big sigh of relief. I think there are a lot more "good Samaritans" out there than we sometimes think, and your Mother met a few of them in the past week. Such good news!

  3. Well, your mom seems to have taken everything in stride. Good for her! I'm so grateful that you can now relax and get back to normal.
    Isn't Skype (and Hangout) just wonderful?

  4. Obviously your mother is as beloved by her neighbors as she is by you and your brother. I'm glad everything is turning out okay and that her life will soon be back to normal.

    1. Stephen:
      There's that "normal" word. I suppose it's more recognizable to the Dowager Duchess than it is to me. They've got a long way to go in her neighborhood, but this is huge progress.

  5. Oh, what a wonderful post to read! (And great photo:)) I think that many people enjoy the opportunity to rise to the occasion and help others. I love the D.D.'s neighbors, and your friend Bonnie and new-bud Howie–they've reminded us how good folks can be 🙂 (Heh heh about the lipstick!)


  6. I am so glad that you were able to finally make contact with her! I'm sure that is a huge relief. And she sounds none the worse for wear!

  7. Your Mother is fabulous. But what a shame she experienced a little flood, on top of having to do without power and water for so long!! I hope things will all be back to normal very soon.

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