So, I always liked Jamie Lee Curtis, if for nothing else, for how honest she is about her body and all that love yourself stuff. And “A Fish Called Wanda” is still one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. She comes in to my husband’s restaurant with her husband, Christopher Guest (NOT looking like one of his hilarious characters) from time to time.
When she first saw Vivien as a very small baby, she rushed over from her lunch saying, “I have to smell that baby.” What a sensualist, what a mom. Loved it. Of course, it’s always heartening when anyone gushes over your baby, but if she’s a big famous lady, all the cooler.
So about two weeks ago, Vivien and I were eating dinner at Campanile and Jamie Lee, her husband, and their attractive young lady daughter came by to say hi. She said she was going to send Vivien the children’s books she had written. I had remembered a book she’d written about being five or something like that; I thought maybe there were two books. I wasn’t counting on getting any books, since in LA, moments like that can often be what my friend, reporter/writer Mary Ellen Geist, calls “room love”: they love you for that moment, but then it’s over.
Yesterday morning Mark called from his office. “There is a big stack of books from Jamie Lee Curtis for Vivien. And a book about alcohol for me.” (He is working on opening a bar and restaurant, so that is also thoughtful.) I was so impressed that she had followed through on her word and that she was such a prolific children’s story writer. That afternoon, Vivien and I came to pick them up and Mark presented them tied up in a big gold ribbon. Another nice touch, Ms. Curtis. There was a little card that said, “As promised,” signed by the actress herself. And she wrote a thoughtful note in each book to Vivien. Well, now I REALLY love her.
All of the books have great illustrations, and not too many words. ‘Cause if you have watched my vlog about children’s books, you know I can be picky about my reads. One book I can hardly read the title of without choking up is Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born. This would be sweet for any child to read, but this book is about an adopted child being told about being born and her parents coming to get her. Just writing about it makes me want to cry. I had read that she and her husband had adopted their children, so this is obviously a heartfelt story, but like all of her books, it has a lot of whimsy.
I read it aloud to Mark and Vivien and he and I both got choked up because of the dearness of parents taking their adopted children into their hearts and souls just as biological parents do, and it made us reflect on the “night” (really, 8 am) when Vivien was born. I am getting this book for my friend who has adopted and one who is on the verge.
When anyone goes out their way with a generous, gracious note, I shouldn’t be but am always taken aback. Like my new neighbors bringing cookies, or the other neighbors who brought a welcome basket. I’m probably just not generous enough myself, so I appreciate it from other people! And being raised in LA, there is an “LA vicious” attitude. Even in San Francisco (where I lived for 9 years), it’s not a warm and cuddly town.
But it does make for a fun story that this gift was from a big fancy, schmancy, movie star.