Memories at Neiman Marcus
By: CeCe Cole
If you take one look at my grandmother, mother, and myself, you can’t deny that we all have an undying love for fashion. As an employee in the couture section of Chicago’s Neiman Marcus for over 30 years, [Grand]Ma introduced me to fashion at a young age. I always knew I gave my Ma nachas as I marched around her house in what I referred to as her “diamond shoes” and bright pink lipstick as a silly child.
All of my friends laugh at the amount of time I spend in Neiman’s, but what they don’t understand is that this fashion mecca brought me closer not only to my trendy grandma but also my beloved Papa.
My loving grandma still can’t help but smile when I—at 19-years-old—show up to our meeting spot in Boca Town Center’s Neiman Marcus. As we stroll together through the department store, we are constantly greeted by Kass, our makeup girl at YSL, April, our handbag aficionado, Martin, our shoe man, and of course, Lauren of the contemporary section, who is your classic Long Island Jewish mother. After we say hello to all our “little friends” as Ma likes to call them, we make our way up to Mariposa, and have a typical Neiman Marcus lunch. We dine on popovers, chicken broth, cheese biscuits, and a scoop of tuna salad (Ma obviously orders a Diet Coke).
This past December, I lost my dearest Papa. For the past three years, I watched him suffer as he battled two different types of cancers: breast and multiple myeloma. When the cancerous cells started to spread, Papa’s mobility began to dwindle and therefore he was no longer up for an adventure to Neiman’s. Papa would love hearing about our recent purchases but the fact that he couldn’t wait outside the dressing room made it less exciting. He loved seeing his girls (Ma, my mother, and myself) all dressed up even if we had nowhere to go but the grocery store.
In the past, Papa and I would sneak off for cinnamon twists at the coffee shop next to Neiman’s. He would talk to me about anything and everything and was nice enough to always laugh at my jokes (I loved him for that since I am usually the only one who laughs at my jokes).
It’s hard for Ma to have to adjust her life without her best friend of over 50 years. I know Ma will be okay though because she still looks fabulous for my Papa every day.
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