Perfect, Sarah, You Are A Genius!

This post is also available in: Spanish

Isabel in one of her debutante dresses, getting her high school degree.

Isabel in one of her debutante dresses, getting her high school degree.

I made the title of this blog “Perfect, Sarah, You Are A Genius!” because ordinarily when Isabel speaks to me, even in email, it goes more like: “Sarah, you look like a hippie! At least make an effort!”

Here is why I am a genius, at least according to Isabel. During a recent research mission, Isabel asked me to find out about debutantes in San Francisco, circa 1950. After Googling the subject and making a few phone calls. I dug up some vintage photos and a fine place to hold a ball—both in terms of history and style—and it made her happy. Not my appearance, mind you, but my work. That was a nice moment. Perhaps to reward me, Isabel included this debutante story:

I was a debutante once. I am not kidding. And I had the most gorgeous white satin gown. For my second ball I had an aquamarine gown with rubber lining for fake breasts because mine were too small. When dancing, the boy held me tight and the rubber things were pushed in and became concave. I looked at my chest in horror. I took a deep breath, trying to push them out. And out they came—with the most embarrassing POP!

Occasionally you need to pat yourself on the back. I learned this from hanging around my daughter’s third grade classroom. When the kids know the answer to a question, they pat themselves on the back to acknowledge their feat, all without interrupting the lesson. I know I am interrupting myself here, but oh well…At least you get a charming story from Isabel that otherwise would not have been told!

4 Responses to Perfect, Sarah, You Are A Genius!

  1. Roberto E. Icaza July 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    Great Sarah! It’s nice to know this anecdote from Isabel… Maybe she’s preparing a book about a debutante. Best regards,

    PD-Yes, You really are a real genius because you always tell us the best moments about Isabel’s life. :-)

  2. Selma July 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    I love Mrs. Allende’s work but I take a great offense in telling someone they ‘look like refugee’. I was a refugee, as a matter of fact I came to this country from a country that was ravaged by war and to this day part of me feels like refugee. To imply that someone is poorly dressed or in your case to say that simply throwing something together makes you look like a refugee is quite offensive and downright wrong. Millions of refugees around the world on a daily basis are facing struggles far more relevant to their survival than what it is that they are wearing. And, let’s not forget that most of them never get to go shopping but wear donated clothing. Perhaps, no harm was intended here but personally, I find it rather tasteless.

    • Sarah Kessler July 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      Dear Selma my deepest apologies for offending you. I was paraphrasing Isabel and picked an unfortunate analogy. I have changed the phrase to ‘look like a hippie’ since it is far more appropriate and something I often hear being the child of hippies. I am sorry we have offended you today and want to extend my apologies to you and your family.

  3. Enrique July 17, 2014 at 1:26 am #

    I think you are a bless genius cuz you have the amazing opportunity to know my super diva and eternal writer Isabel Allende I love that woman and I wish one day I will be having a book sign by her personal for me thanks for sharing

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