On Thursday evening, October 15th, Eileen Fisher hosted a reading, book signing and champagne celebration of BALLROOM at their Pasadena, California store.

It all began several years ago when I was shopping at a certain legendary department store, and absolutely no one would help me—not in the shoe department—not in the women’s clothing department. I was what we women of a certain age and size call “invisible.” Between my mother before me and my own account we probably had more than 100 years as charge customers. Not one to be silent, I wrote to the corporate offices, and received a “we will look into it” letter.


A few weeks later, passing Eileen Fisher’s store in Pasadena, I asked if I could bring Gypsy, my wire-haired fox terrier into the store. We were welcomed, and treated royally by the staff.  A delightful sales-person suggested items that would suit my figure and along with other sales staff,  honestly critiqued each, helping me to select several flattering items.

Once again, not one to be silent, I wrote to the Eileen Fisher corporate office to tell them of the wonderful experience I’d had, and mentioned the names of the staff who had been so gracious. Apparently, they passed along my letter back to the staff in Pasadena. Whenever I pass by Eileen Fisher, I pop my head in the door to say “Hi”; they always remember my name.

                EileenFisherParty copy    IMG_20151015_191522 copy    IMG_20151015_191541

Alice at EF   Nancy   Alice &Dennis copy

Eileen Fisher knew about the upcoming publication of the paperback edition of BALLROOM, and said that to celebrate they would like to throw a MEET THE AUTHOR party. And did they ever!

Eileen Fisher outfitted me with a stunning new outfit from their new winter collection to be sure I looked my best.  There was champagne, hors d’oeuvres, orchids, friends and neighbors, and a tango band.

Accompanied by the Argentinean band Tinto Tango playing the mournful song, Oblivion by Piazzolla, I read a brief and melancholy chapter about Harry and Maria:

“It seems like only moments ago that he waited and watched at the same window. Just like this. Waited and watched for her to come home with Angel from the Copacabana on her sixteenth birthday. It was the best night of my entire life, Harry.” Maria was breathless as she spoke that Friday night, after she came upstairs to his apartment, still wearing what she called her “good” coat. A red ribbon held her dark hair back from her face.

“We won first place, me and Angel—at the Copacabana—and the spotlights were on us, all bright and starry, and such a big dance floor, and oh, Harry, after we won, we got to dance all by ourselves, just me and Angel . . . and everyone applauded for so long . . . and I wished you could have been there to see us win, and see us dancing in the spotlight. God, it was so great. Angel and me? We couldn’t believe Papi let us go! He’s still out, so I wanted to just quickly tell you about tonight. I’m wearing my new outfit so you can see how I look . . . and I can’t believe we won. Angel and me. You’d have been so proud . . . and it was so beautiful! I think it was the very  best night of my whole life!”

Her face was flushed, her mahogany eyes dancing with fire. With Angel. Harry felt broken. Like a jigsaw puzzle after you’ve finished it and pulled all the pieces apart. Sitting at his kitchen table, not saying a word, he just stared down at his cracked dance shoes…”

When Harper (Harper Collins) purchased BALLROOM in 2014, I rewarded myself with private tango lessons with Dennis Cante, who came to the party, and surprised me by inviting me to dance a tango. Dennis brought two of his gorgeous professional partners to the party and for everyone’s pleasure danced a tango with Anna Radzikowska Folkerth, followed by a salsa/rumba with Judith Castelan.

Dennis & Anna

Special thanks to EILEEN FISHER and their marvelous Pasadena staff.

They know how to throw a great party!


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