The Mystery Lady

January 12, 2017

Julia’s mother, Lillian, had the most remarkable memory for faces but she couldn’t put them together with the facts. Julia had the most remarkable memory for facts but she couldn’t put them together with faces.

They would go somewhere and Lillian would see a face she recognized and she would tell Julia where they met the person. Julia would then tell her everything about the person that they had ever talked about or that she knew about. They did this for years.

One day, they were coming out of a store and Lillian recognized someone’s face but they didn’t have time to share the details. Lillian was such a charming person that she could call everyone dear, and they would feel flattered. It was her way of telling Julia she wanted her to fill in the details because she could only recognize the face but nothing else. Julia was never a charming person and Lillian needed her to tell her where they had seen this woman because Julia could never get away with calling anyone dear.

One day, their secret code backfired on them. Lillian and this woman talked like they had known each other for years and so, when this woman suggested they all stop off somewhere for lunch, they said yes.

It was a lovely lunch. In those days, Liberace wasn’t too well known and he played to lunch and dinner crowds in his most flamboyant outfits on a white piano that was elevated on a circular stage. He was great and they were having a wonderful time listening to him and dining in this exclusive restaurant.

After their meal ended, they said goodbye to this woman and said that they were so glad they had run into her because it turned out to be such a wonderful day. As they were driving away, Julia turned to her mother and asked her who this woman was. Lillian looked at her daughter and said, “I have no idea; I thought you knew her.”

Julia said, “Mom, you know I never remember faces” and Lillian said, “But, darling, you were talking to her as if you knew her.” Julia asked her if she had, even once, mentioned the woman’s name, their secret code for Julia to supply the details, and, of course, Lillian couldn’t remember calling her by anything at all. All she could remember was that they were talking about Liberace and how spectacular he was and how glad she was that they had found this marvelous place for lunch.

A lot of years have come and gone since that day, but every time Julia and Lillian reminisced about it, they would have to smile because they had always wondered if that woman was driving herself as crazy as they were, wondering who they were.

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