If you have been wondering why Lindaraxa has been blogging sporadically for the last three months and posting recipes on canning and coffee cakes lately, this is why. This post has been on my draft file for a couple of months. Nothing much has changed. Les appartements prives de Madame Mere are still unfinished. She has been on the main floor now going on three months. The contractor is on The Most Wanted List...In that time much has happened, but we are still talking and hugging each other.
Yes, you read it right the first time. Madame Mere, Lindaraxa's mother, has arrived to stay...as in living with her...and her daughter, two female dogs and Coco the cat, in the same house,
For those of you new to this blog, the name Madame Mere was given to my mother by one of Lindaraxa's dearest and oldest friends whose family has known hers for three generations. There's no way Lindaraxa can pull the wool over this friend's eyes, or vice versa. Each knows exactly where the other is coming from and where all the skeletons are buried in their respective families. They know each other very well.
The term Madame Mere is one of affection and endearment, nothing else; but said friend knows Lindaraxa's frustrations with her mother and the different characters and personalities involved. He loves to tease. He often telephones Madame Mere, all the way from Paris, particularly when he knows she needs a good laugh. Lindaraxa knows that, more often than not, they talk about her, something that gives Madame Mere great joy and tons of fuel for the battles ahead. What MM doesn't know is that these phone calls go both ways.
|Letizia Bonaparte, Madame Mere|
In case you don't know, Madame Mere was the official name given to Letizia Bonaparte, Napoleon's mother. Immediately after his imperial accession Napoleon granted titles to his family, including that of 'Prince of the Empire' for Joseph and Louis. However, Letizia was so chagrined at hers - 'Madame Mère de Sa Majesté l'Empereur' (or 'Madame Mère', 'Madam Mother') - that she boycotted the coronation. The title may well have been a deliberate slight from son to mother over family arguments and the Emperor tried to make amends a year later, in 1805, by giving Letizia a country home with over 200 courtiers, high-ranking servants and vast sums of money.
Madame Mere died in Rome in 1836.
|Laetitia Bonaparte portrait by Ramolino in 1835, age 85|
There is much more to this lady that can be found here. Suffice it to say that the similarities between my Madame Mere and the original are
Letizia Bonaparte accompanied Napoleon into exile, something Madame Mere would have done as well. Come to think of it, in a way, that is exactly what she has done, although I am a far cry from the emperor. Yes, it is strange that both she and I have come to live together again, with my daughter, in a strange place. Elba..., now why didn't I think of that before?! Never in our lives did either of us think that we would move, lock, stock and barrel, to a small town in the north of Georgia. It is not a place I would have chosen, although I have been relatively content. It is peaceful here and I get to spend time with my grandchildren, but I miss the sea and my friends and the hustle and bustle of New York City.
|Madame Mere, June 2014, age 89...no surgeries on that face, just good genes|
She arrived on June 23rd and life, as we both know it, will radically change. I feel sad for MM having to make this change at this stage of her life but we will do everything we can to make her life as happy and peaceful as possible. We are building an apartment for her in the lower level of the house where she will have independence and a view of the garden. Work hasn't started yet and, while we wait, she will be staying in the guest room on the main floor. There are no courtiers or high ranking servants here, although sometimes I think she thinks there are.
Shortly after she arrived, she got to meet her third grandchild, little Harper Glen, now two months old.
Stay tuned...the fireworks are about to start!
Photos 1-3 Google
Photo 4 Lindaraxa