And The Horse You Rode In On / Y El Caballo En El Que Montaste

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

FROM THE TIME I learned to read and write I began to doodle words into pictures. I’d think of a word and then draw the letters into positions to form an image. As I grew up, the letters would form into the words themselves. It got to the point where I would see the letters dancing in my head. That’s how ToldemArt started. As I mentioned in an earlier post (click here), during an editorial meeting I doodled the words “FUCK YOU” into what looked like tribal art and the art itself impressed one of our designers. That led me to wonder if I actually had something to build on. The original design remains one of my favorites. I went on from there to create “FUCK ‘EM,” which could also be read as “FUCK ME.”

My Mother The Dowager Duchess was a huge moral supporter of the business. She proudly wore all my jewelry and bragged to friends and acquaintances that I had designed them and what they meant. One of her favorites was the pendant and earrings that said “FUCK ’EM.” However, the Dowager Duchess never used such language. I asked her what she told her friends when they asked about it and she said, “Oh, I just say, ‘Mitchell designed this, too.’

“But I don’t tell them it means anything.”

The image at top was a bumper sticker I created, which reads “FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON.”

I JUST REALIZED I LIED earlier when I said The Dowager Duchess never used such language. I remember back when I was in high school, I was sitting outside on the balcony while The Duchess and my sister had an enormous argument, which wasn’t uncommon. The Duchess stormed onto the balcony (not noticing I was there), walked up to the railing, and muttered, “Well, fuck you!” THEN she noticed me. She turned beet red. “Well, it felt good!” she snapped.

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DESDE EL MOMENTO en que aprendí a leer y escribir, comencé a dibujar palabras en imágenes. Pensaría en una palabra y luego dibujaría las letras en posiciones para formar una imagen. A medida que crecía, las letras se formarían en las palabras mismas. Llegó al punto en que vería las letras bailando en mi cabeza. Así es como comenzó ToldemArt. Como mencioné en una emtrada anterior (haz clic aquí), durante una reunión editorial escribí las palabras “FUCK YOU” en lo que parecía ser arte tribal y el arte mismo impresionó a uno de nuestros diseñadores. Eso me llevó a preguntarme si realmente tenía algo sobre lo que construir. El diseño original sigue siendo uno de mis favoritos. Continué desde allí para crear “FUCK ‘EM” (como JÓDALOS), que también podría leerse como “FUCK ME” (JÓDAME o FOLLAME).

Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda era un gran partidario moral del negocio. Ella llevaba con orgullo todas mis joyas y presumía a sus amigos y conocidos que yo las había diseñado y lo que significaban. Uno de sus favoritos era el colgante y los pendientes que decían “FUCK ’EM”. Sin embargo, La Duquesa Viuda nunca usó tal lenguaje. Le pregunté qué les dijo a sus amigos cuando se lo preguntaron y ella dijo: “Oh, solo digo, ‘Mitchell también diseñó esto’.

“Pero no les digo que significa nada”.

La imagen en la parte superior era una pegatina de parachoques que creé, que dice “FUCK YOU AND-THE HORSE YOU-RODE IN-ON” (“TE JODAN Y EL CABALLO EN EL QUE MONTASTE”). Es una expresión estadounidense peculiar.

ME ACABO DE DAR CUENTA de que mentí antes cuando dije La Duquesa Viuda nunca usé tal lenguaje. Recuerdo que cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria, estaba sentado afuera en el balcón mientras La Duquesa y mi hermana tenían una pelea enorme, que no era infrecuente. La Duquesa irrumpió en el balcón (sin darse cuenta de que yo estaba allí), se acercó a la barandilla y murmuró: “¡Bueno, jódate!” Entonces, ella me vio. Ella se volvió roja de remolacha. “Bueno, ¡se sintió bien!”, ella espetó.

I say, “Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.’
Yo digo: “Jódalos si no pueden tomar una broma”.

Lotsa Luck! / ¡Mucha Suerte!

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

MY ENTRY INTO the business of ToldemArt (click here) was via a large trade show in Las Vegas while I was still gainfully and miserably employed in early 2008. Moments before the trade show opened, I received a call that My Mother the Dowager Duchess was hit by a car (hit and run) the day before after visiting her sister Sylvie, appeared to be seriously injured and, in typical Dowager Duchess fashion, took the bus home instead of going to the hospital. We spoke. My cousin then drove her to the hospital, although she should have gone in an ambulance. I arrived days later followed by San Geraldo. The Duchess had a punctured lung, two broken ribs, and the most hideous bruising I’ve ever seen. But after only a week and a half she was home and seemingly fine. For a day or two. She had a staph infection that had us rushing in an ambulance back to the hospital where she spent another three weeks near death until the infection was stopped. Her final recovery was phenomenal, especially considering she was already 80 years old. And, yes, months later she admitted to me that she “might have been” crossing against the light.

But, as usual, I digress. My dreams for ToldemArt were slowed, but I managed to get things going when The Dowager Duchess was home and independent again two months later. A trendy retailer in Hollywood (who catered to the likes of Lindsey Lohan) wanted to carry my jewelry, but first she wanted to get one of the items in a wedding swag bag. I thought the jewelry needed to be 14K gold with real gem stones, but she didn’t agree (she was wrong). It happened but didn’t go as planned (nor did the marriage). Next came The Good Luck Collection, which I mentioned before was carried in the gift shops at Bellagio and MGM Grand hotels. And then came the economic crisis. So much for good luck!

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MI ENTRADA EN el negocio de ToldemArt (haz clic aquí) se realizó a través de una gran feria comercial en Las Vegas, mientras que a principios de 2008 empecé a trabajar de manera justa y miserable. Momentos antes de que abriera la feria, recibí una llamada que Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda golpeado por un auto (golpeó y corrió) el día antes después de visitar a su hermana Sylvie, parecía estar seriamente herida y, en el estilo típico de La Duquesa Viuda, montó el autobús a casa en lugar de ir al hospital en la ambulancia. Nosotros hablamos. Mi prima la llevó al hospital, aunque debería haber ido en una ambulancia. Llegué días después seguido por San Geraldo. La Duquesa tenía un pulmón perforado, dos costillas rotas, y el hematoma más horrible que jamás haya visto. Pero después de solo una semana y media estaba en casa y aparentemente bien. Por unos días. Tenía una infección por estafilococos y nos llevó a una ambulancia al hospital, donde pasó otras tres semanas cerca de la muerte hasta que se detuvo la infección. Su recuperación final fue fenomenal, especialmente teniendo en cuenta que ya tenía 80 años. Y, sí, meses después, ella me admitió que “podría haber estado” cruzando contra la luz.

Pero, como de costumbre, me divago. Mis sueños para ToldemArt se hicieron más lentos, pero logré poner en marcha las cosas cuando La Duquesa Viuda estaba en casa e independiente nuevamente dos meses después. Una tienda de moda en Hollywood (que atendía a personas como Lindsey Lohan… uf!) quería llevar mis joyas, pero primero quería poner uno de los artículos en una bolsa de boda. Pensé que las joyas debían ser de oro sólido con piedras preciosas, pero ella no estaba de acuerdo (ella estaba equivocada). Sucedió pero no salió como estaba previsto (ni tampoco el matrimonio). Luego vino The Good Luck Collection (La Colección de Buena Suerte), que mencioné anteriormente, que se vendió en las tiendas de regalos de los hoteles Bellagio y MGM Grand.Y luego vino la crisis económica. ¡Tanto para buena suerte!

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Supplier for Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Funerals

While cleaning out My Mother The Dowager Duchess’s apartment in August, we had some surprises. She and my father purchased their massive bedroom furniture in 1950. I found the original receipt. I have no idea how they afforded it considering the fact that my mother always claimed they were poor. They paid $846 in 1950. In today’s money, that’s equivalent to $8,472.39.

We would have loved to have shipped it here, but it would have cost a fortune. Besides, our largest bedroom couldn’t fit it all. The two dressers together were about 7 feet long.

I found a bunch of doily-like items in black and white. They’re provided free for women to cover their heads at Jewish rites such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals. Black for funerals, obviously, and white for the happier occasions. Typical of my mother (“I might be able to use it for a project”) she kept every single one. One drawer of the side cabinet in a dresser was filled with them. I laughed when I tossed them all on the bed. But then I discovered that two more drawers were also filled. There were hundreds of them. I can’t imagine that my mother actually went to hundreds of events. I think she stole a lot of them. But, she would argue indignantly, “I didn’t steal them. They put them out for free. I only took some extras… just in case.”

(Click the images for the bigger picture.)

THE TWO DRESSERS THAT WERE STUFFED FULL.
TWO LARGE MIRRORS WERE MOUNTED ON THE SAME MAHOGANY.
THE HEADBOARD. THE ONLY PIECE OF FURNITURE THAT WAS EMPTY.
(EXCEPT FOR AN OLD, DEAD, LANDLINE TELEPHONE AND A BOX OF TISSUES).
A SAMPLING.
MY NEW BUSINESS: BULK ORDERS ONLY.
HIGHER RATES FOR THOSE WITH ADORNMENTS.

The Original Sweater Girl

If you’ve been with me since August, you might remember the huge collection of knitwear, all made by My Mother The Dowager Duchess. In addition to the sweaters pictured in a post from August 25 (click here), I set aside photos of some special ones to share with you when I had the time. Well, I have the time.

Of the items pictured below, I only remember the first, which my mother made some time in the early 1960s. The others were all new to my eyes, so, while sorting through her photos, I was really pleased to find a shot from 1984 of the Duchess wearing the last one.

(Click the images to inspect the workwomanship.)

WITH INDIVIDUAL CRYSTAL BEADS. THIS WAS PAIRED WITH A FLOOR-LENGTH
TAPERED BLACK SKIRT (ALSO MADE BY THE DUCHESS). CLASSY.

1984. THE DIFFICULT YEARS SHOW IN HER EYES.
(BUT NO DOUBT THAT WAS CLUB SODA IN THE CUP.)

A Dowager Duchess Don’t

In 1987 when we were living in Southern Connecticut, San Geraldo had a business trip to San Francisco. I was going with him. It was three months after my father’s death and My Mother The Dowager Duchess was about to turn 60. So we invited her along.

My mother and I sat next to each other on the plane. San Geraldo was one row back. As boarding continued, a very attractive woman came through the door and walked down the aisle toward us. She had red hair and was dressed in teal blue from head to toe.

As the woman approached, The Duchess commented in a stage whisper, “How beautiful.”

We hadn’t noticed that behind her was a little boy. He also had red hair and was dressed entirely in teal blue.

The Duchess stage-whispered, “Cute.”

A moment later, an extremely large man came lumbering down the aisle. He had red hair and also wore teal blue, top to bottom. A matched set.

The Duchess harrumphed, “Well that’s just a bit too much!”

CLICK THE IMAGE AND DECIDE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.
AND DON’T WORRY WHAT THE DUCHESS MIGHT HAVE  SAID.
SHE HAD A TEAL BLUE “JOGGING SUIT.” SHE DIDN’T JOG.

Because I’m tacky…