May 2009

Dear Friend

Some people think April is the cruelest month. After a long harsh winter, we all get our hopes up and long for spring to burst. Spring always does come but on its own terms.

While we were trying to finish the outside of our house we had raw, cold rainy days and a few snowstorm showers. But finally, I’m able to open the windows of our sweet cottage to let in the fresh air with ocean breezes. For all of us who live with four seasons, I’m glad to announce Spring has arrived. One Sunday morning, some angel surprised us with an April basket with yellow miniature pansies. Whoever dropped off this bundle of joy has no idea what pleasure Peter and I are receiving from this thoughtful gesture. The pansies are on my writing table and I snip a fresh one every few days for the bathroom sink. I love to watch the blossom flutter in the wind, keeping me company.

April has been a quiet simple, month, as well as being enormously productive. Peter has been working on one book for 50 years. While he’s written many delightful and useful books, this one seems to be his favorite. He has asked me to be the guardian of his time in order for him to have the long stretches of uninterrupted time to finish Figure It Out: A Short Guide to Wisdom. After Peter completed 27 different categories – love, happiness, trust, life, education, spirituality, memories, friendship, history, writing, law, economics, well-being, heroes, and all the other topics we need to think about intelligently, he ends his book with a large section on wisdom.

I was happy he asked me to write the Foreword. When I came to the final paragraph, I became choked up, and wiped away a tear because I wrote that this book is the one book I’ll want next to my writing desk as long as I live. We took a train to New York City to deliver it to be typed up. While he feels relieved to finally have completed his book of wisdom, he thinks about it all the time and is looking forward to seeing the clean copy in a manuscript box to review and do one final draft before he gives it to his literary agent. I’ll let you know more details as they come to me. For now, Peter is pleased and I am proud of him for this enormous achievement.

To celebrate Peter completing his book, I treated him to a memorable, delicious, favorite restaurant, La Grenouille in New York City. The proprietor, our friend Charles Masson, was there for us to have a visit, and it could not have been more enjoyable. We like to make a point of celebrating all the special events in our lives at this splendid, beautiful place to go for restoration.

The New York School of Design inaugurated its sixth president since 1906. Peter and I enjoyed attending the elegant ceremony. I first went to study design in 1959, fully intending to move on to a liberal arts college after a year, but ended up going around the world with my aunt, who was an international social worker; I decided to stay and finish my courses. As a result, I became an international interior designer and owe a huge debt of appreciation to this fine school for the excellent training I received that prepared me for an exciting career.

Being back in the cottage is sublime. We walk around admiring the different spaces. Having our painting by Roger Mühl hung on the freshly painted white walls makes us smile in delight. However, we spend most of our waking hours in our adjoining writing rooms where there are no telephones, no radio, and no distractions now that the men are no longer on the roof replacing rotten clapboards.

However, we had a setback later in the month when I caught a “Spring cold” according to the doctor and Peter caught the flu. He felt miserable and because of a suborn fever he stayed in bed for a week, something he’s never done before because we know it makes you weak, but he had no choice. Within a few days, I recovered enough to be his nurse and chef, although he had no appetite. I tried not to take his lack of interest in my gourmet cooking too seriously! We were packed and ready to go to New York City to attend the annual Riot Relief luncheon. Peter has been on this Riot Relief (Police and Fireman Board of trustees and families) for 50 years, and president for 35, and is now Chairman. This was the first time he would go as a guest without running the event and we were both greatly disappointed, but flu canceled everything.

In order to properly care for Peter, I moved my writing materials into our upstairs bedroom where I sit at a small table in front of a window that looks out on the Stonington harbor. This scene brings back wonderful memories of my writing Gracious Living In A New World: Finding Joy in Changing Times at this exact spot. I have become completely immersed in Aristotle. I’m deeply absorbed in my book that covers a fifty-year period in my life. Every day brings fresh challenges and great pleasure. I’ve never stretched myself more, and I feel confident my efforts will bear fruit.

During this period, I took several days off from Aristotle to go on syndicated radio shows to talk about Things Good Mothers Know. This opportunity to go on air all over the country is extremely stimulating, and many of the hosts on the shows are people that I’m able to talk to with each new book. I enjoy this activity enormously and am grateful not to have to travel right now on book tour. My goal is to complete a draft of my book about Aristotle before we leave for our annual wedding anniversary trip to Paris the middle of May. This is ambitious, but I’m going to focus on this target, aim high, and plan to make this happen.

For all of you mothers, Happy Mother’s Day! For all mothers around the world, I celebrate you. In all my conversations about my book, I emphasize the importance of a mother’s happiness as the best example for her child. Wrapped up in a happy person is goodness, virtue, and great character. All of us striving to achieve happiness for ourselves and others. Because mothers are the most important relationship in all our lives, this seems an appropriate time to honor the women who dedicated themselves to be the teachers of our children. Our children are not ours, but all of ours, and each one of us who loves children will be richly blessed and rewarded.

Happy month of May.

Love & Live Happy

Have you taken photos at one of Alexandra's events that you'd like to share? If so, you can email them to AStoddardInc@aol.com. Please be sure to include the names of those in the photo and where and when it was taken! We will try to include them on the website in the future.

Stonington Village

Love is Timeless

Mother's Day is quickly approaching!

For all of the mothers that you'd like to give an autographed copy of my new book, please send your order (including inscription information) to:
Jane Hannon
Bank Square Books
53 West Main Street
Mystic, CT 06355
(860) 536-3795


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Grace Note

The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.