Oh what a night! And how I wish every one of you could have been there, all my sweet friends around the globe! Since distance was an issue, I thought I’d describe the event to you, so you’d feel like you were there with us. (And there is a video at the bottom so you can “be there”)
When the first guests arrived, our friends Amy Engelhart and Alex Stein, Monica’s husband Michael walked up and said, “ Amy Englehart?” to which she replied, “Michael? What are you doing here?!”
It turns out Michael and Amy knew each other from New Jersey and hadn’t seen each other in thirty years. And here she was standing in his living room because of a little dog named Stitch. Since the night started off with a miracle, I knew everything was going to be perfect.
Guests began to fill the house. The garden twinkled with sparkly lights and candles strung from the trees. Wine was poured, sushi and shrimp were served. The guests began to find seats around the garden as Troy and I played a set of soft and easy music. Our friend Mike Mennell played bass and sang, and our daughter Cristen backed us up on vocals.
Photo: Erin Doyle
Next, the audience was wowed as Hope Edelman got up and read a touching story she had written for the Modern Love column in the NY Times. Her story recounted how she, as a motherless daughter, was watching her own young daughter develop mothering instinct. It was gorgeous and tender and funny.
Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the evening was listening to Hope and Monica introduce each other. The graciousness, the love, the respect between these two accomplished writers and friends illustrated so beautifully what my sweet friend Amy Ferris always says “we are here to complete each other, not compete with each other”. So I was a complete sap, all teary-eyed, and so were they.
Next up was Monica’s reading – which was freekin’ hysterical. Only Monica can take her own tragedies, spin them into stories and have you doubled over in laughter. If I try to encapsulate this tale of her calling off her first marriage and then being chased by a psychotic, hormonal Wild Turkey for a week, I certainly wouldn’t do it justice, but she had the crowd in an uproar.
Photo: Erin Doyle
Coffee, cider and gourmet desserts were served as the sun set. A warm cozy fire glowed outside and the candles flickered. The weather was perfect as Troy and I started a second set of music with our daughter Cristen, and our son Taylor on drums. Musician friends Charles Frichtel and Amy Engelhart joined us for the last few songs, and a few free-spirited girls were inspired to get up and dance.
(Check out Hope and Monica….gettin’ their groove on!)
Other miracles of the evening: A friend of mine from the fourth grade showed up with her family. I had not seen her since the fourth grade, and here we were, meeting again because of Stitch. She took photos and videos of the evening (which I am sharing here).
And then there was the Silent Auction: On those tables were art pieces by my friends Erin Doyle, Lori Landau, Cindy Sleman, Dior products from my fabulous Dior Dani, books written by Monica, Amy Ferris, Kristine Van Raden and Molly Davis, toys from Wills, jewelry made by Dani Ray (a friend from junior high!), photography from my fourth grade friend Melinda and Alex Sears, award winning pilsner brewed by our buddy Adam with a custom label he designed, and legal services donated by Denise. It was so wonderful to see friends new and old walking out with treasures given by other friends. And it touched me that everyone had given something from their hearts – they gave their services, their art, their skill. What could be more valuable? In giving for Stitch, they too were being honored and recognized for their talents, and I was beaming proud of every one of them.
Photos: Erin Doyle
As the evening wound down, guests gathered their treasures, and I made the rounds hugging and passing out thank you gifts to everyone.
Finally, there were about eight of us left, and Monica and I collapsed in the living room, realizing we hadn’t eaten all day. We cozied up with some food and wine, and I gently coaxed Monica’s sister Melinda (Joanne in the books) to play the piano for us. A hush fell over the room as she transfixed us with her soulful playing and singing. I mean, truly, just stunning. Then Maxee and Howard burst into song and it was a party all over again.
Photos: Erin Doyle
Howard, Monica and Erin cozy up at the end of the night as Melinda serenades us…HEAVEN!
At the end of the night, we peeked in on the kids to find Evan asleep in the crook of Wills’ arm. It was the perfect end to a magical evening.
And the only thing missing, my friends…was YOU! So one day soon, we shall have to do this again. It would be my great pleasure to give back to all of you who have given so much to us.
Our attorney (who gave us a huge break) is now PAID IN FULL as we march toward our trial on May 2nd and none of this would be happening without all of you so again, we say THANK YOU from all of the Dexter fam, and STITCH!