Mom always maintained that her own admission to Stanford some years later was on MJ’s coattails. I have serious doubts about that since Mom was far from the dumb blonde that she felt people often perceived her to be; they seemed to be deceived by her extraordinary beauty.
But the fact is that she was definitely no slouch in the brains department, possessing an insatiable intellectual curiosity that endured until the time of her death in her 90’s. She and MJ shared that passion for learning, a familial trait.
But MJ’s lifestyle could not have been more different from ours. Unlike Mom, she never married and never had children, so she showered love, attention, and life lessons upon me and my 8 siblings.
Among other things, she often treated us to fancy restaurants and plays on Broadway, and exposed us to a style of gracious and luxurious living that was the polar opposite of our own far simpler, much less sophisticated way of life.
She fostered further the seeds planted by Mom that encouraged in us an appreciation for music and the other arts, as well as for the richness other cultures and countries have to offer.
To that end, she funded international trips of exploration and discovery for each of us upon graduation from high school and during college. She was a major influence in my own decision to study languages and live overseas after high school and beyond.
Even the town MJ lived in, an artsy, affluent community within commuting distance of New York, was worlds apart from my small, middle class town. While our main street was lined with the comfortingly familiar Woolworth's, Grant’s store, pizzerias and sandwich shops, her main street was lined with boutiques, shops and restaurants that featured products and food from all over the world.
And among those was a small French restaurant run by a lady named Dolly (that's my recollection of her name anyway), who also ran a catering business. She was the precursor to Martha Stewart, who, some years later, would get her own start in this very same town.
It was there at Dolly's that I had quiche for the very first time. I have no recollection of what kind of I ate at that restaurant, but I loved it.
Besides being very tasty, quiche is actually a very easy dish to put together.