Search This Blog

Monday, April 28, 2014

Looking for Love in Too Many Faces

Punchy loves Clare and Patrick's sweet baby girl--and her two older brothers.
I may have mentioned that until I started at Douglass College/Rutgers, I had not been away from home much.

No sleepaway camp, except Girl Scout camping weekends, when I often cried or threw up repeatedly. [I guess I had a nervous stomach. Dad said I stood in our pink and black tiled bathroom on the first day of first grade, worried I was going to throw up. On one Scout trip, I held a black garbage bag in the front seat of Mrs. Burke's car and kept throwing up into it on the car ride home. Thank you, Mrs. Burke, wherever you are. Another time, I threw up 13 times in one night at home--stomach virus.]

Anyway, I sobbed when my parents said goodbye to me at the New Gibbons Dorm. I watched my mother walk away in her flowy peasant skirt, leaving me to sleep with two strangers in a triple, on the top bunk, with a bathroom the whole floor shared.

Soon after, waiting for a class outside Hickman Hall on a sunny day, I spotted a student who looked like Moey [the real Moey, of course, was a freshman at the University of Delaware]. On closer inspection, they did not look alike at all. Moey was prettier, but they both had the same color hair and blue eyes. I think it was the back of her head that fooled me. I guess I wanted my dear friend to be there so I wouldn't have to face those scary college classes alone. And the truth is, seeing her double even for a moment did lift my spirits.

When I go to Saint Cassian Church, I've done some funny comfort-hunting, too--for faces from Good Housekeeping Magazine [GH], where I worked for 10 years.

For years now, one of the Eucharistic Ministers who hands out the bread and wine has reminded me of Toni Gerber Hope, a long-time editor at GH. Toni lives in New York and is not Catholic. I've known this for years, but I still think of her every time that woman gives me the Host. Toni's curly hair, eyeglasses, face.

Then there's a Dr. Joyce Brothers lookalike. Dr. Brothers wrote a monthly column for GH for decades. She is no longer living. But I swear this lady looks just like her, with the blonde hair and the facial expressions. She channels the good doctor.

Most recently, enter a double for my hip boss, Donna B., now at InStyle. The woman in the pew has the same glossy dark hair and her face reminds me of Donna's, but she is not nearly as pretty, or as slim. Still, I can't help but see Donna every time I spot this lady walking up to Communion. She sometimes even wears a poncho, and at one point, I think Donna liked ponchos, too.

I don't know how or why this happens, but it does. Does it happen to you? It happened to me with my mother, too, and that was haunting--I wrote and published a short story about an older woman I used to see at Mass. I'm sure the lady found it odd that I dawdled on the church steps to try to be near her, and carefully studied her face, looking into her eyes, bravely trying to smile.

Good night.

  1. Boot camp in the park. Lots of steps and weights.
  2. Walked Sug around the block.
  3. Short nap.
  4. Fruit smoothie.
  5. Fresh air, hanging out with nice new neighbor Clare, her three cute kids and Punchy.


  1. Yes I see a woman around Stuy Town who reminds me of my wonderful college roommate who lives in Miami. It always makes me smile to see her.

  2. Hi Al. Yes, I see similarities in faces all the time -especially regular people looking like famous people. It's kind of fun. The last sighting that I can remember was a woman that looked like Marisa Tomei at Bonefish Grill.

  3. Lin, ha, that is a good one......i do like that celeb hunting, alice