Once in a while, if you’re lucky, someone comes into your life at just the right time. Dee, my sister’s personal assistant, is such a someone.
Dee’s a beauty. “Thick blonde hair, pretty face, bubbly personality—the kind of gal you might not want hanging around your husband,” Anne says. But Anne’s got a pretty face and upbeat personality, too. Her husband, Bob Smith, needed an assistant. Dee needed a job. Plus she was capable. Game on.
Background. Dee’s from a large Italian family. Her dad was an important figure in labor unions. Dee had married a wealthy entrepreneur, borne 2 daughters, and lived a life of leisure in Santa Barbara, CA. After several years, Dee and Hubby #1 had divorced. Dee and her daughters moved to Thousand Oaks, CA.
A few years later, at a country western dance hall, Dee met Ron—handsome, kind and Christian. Deciding to marry, they attended a marriage class at their church, run by their favorite pastor, Larry DeWitt. Anne’s daughter, Jennifer, and her then fiancé, Nick, happened to (love that phrase) attend the same class.
Ron, Dee and her daughters moved back to Santa Barbara. One day Dee was on her way to apply for a sales job at Macy’s. She stopped for lunch at Pierre La Fond, a local restaurant.
I trust Godsigns afficionados already have antennae quivering…
Anne’s late husband, Bob, lived and had an office in Santa Barbara. Bob had known his personal assistant since elementary school in Michigan. Lately, problems had arisen between them. Bob was seeking a replacement. The day Dee dropped in to Pierre La Fond, Bob and Jennifer happened to (that phrase again) be there having lunch. Over burgers, Bob complained to Jen about tensions at the office.
Bob noticed a perky blonde ordering lunch at the counter. He said to Jen, “I’d love to find someone like that—someone who’d be fun to work with.” Jennifer took a closer look at the perky blonde. She recognized her. Jen introduced Dee to Bob. Hearing Dee was looking for a job, Bob marched her across the street to his office and offered her a position. Dee worked for Bob for 10 years. She handled complicated business matters with what Anne calls “humor, care and professionalism.”
When Bob died in 2003, Anne worried she might have to let Dee go. But Atropos, the Greek goddess of Fate, had a better idea. My widowed sister met and married widower Michael Towbes, a successful banker/developer/philanthropist. Michael’s household assistant had left to raise her family. Dee slid into her position. Along with her former duties, Anne says, “She had more than a full time job.”
Dee keeps Anne and Michael’s household and schedules organized, helps Anne’s children with business affairs, and is a favorite babysitter among Anne’s 3 granddaughters. “Dee runs my life better than I can,” Anne says.
If Dee had skipped lunch that day several years ago, or if Bob had been home with the flu, or if Jen hadn’t decided to marry Nick, the dynamic duo of Dee and my sister wouldn’t have developed. Parallel lives intersected at just the right moment.
Anne says she and Dee are bonded for life. “She knows where all the bones are buried.” Anne deems their relationship “a matter of mutual admiration, with a huge dose of synchronicity and luck thrown into the mix.”
I’m grateful to Dee for facilitating my sister’s wildly overcommitted life (running and attending dozens of charity events, babysitting for grandchildren, hosting parties, traveling the world more than 3 months a year, bridge and tennis and Yoga—for starters). And to Anne for sharing the story of her serendipitous connection with Dee.
(July 2nd was Dee’s birthday. This is my first Birthday Blog. Happy Birthday, dear Dee.)