The morning after

The site has launched! I'm so excited - and very happy you're here! For my first blog post I thought I’d welcome you all by giving you a glimpse into where I come from: one of my first and favorite party memories.
I lived in Paris, France between the ages of 3 and 6. While there, my mother lived with some friends in a chateau about 20 miles west of Paris. The Chateau du Barry was located in Louveciennes, France. It was named after Mme. du Barry, a famous mistress of Louis XV, who entertained her royal lover and many aristocratic friends at this chateau, which was a short coach-ride from the main Versailles court. And no, I’m not making this up.

In my old age, I’m sure I glamorize this experience a fair amount. To keep it real, there basically wasn’t any heat, so I remember being freezing most of the time and layering my mom’s massive sweatshirts over our clothes to keep warm (that's me, in the middle, between my two older sisters).
That being said, this place was pretty magical, especially for a little girl who spent her weekdays in the city. There were secret passageways. There was a pony and a german shepherd. The architecture, even to a 4 year old, was pretty impressive and often overwhelming. And then there were the parties.
The fellow residents, all friends of my mother’s, would throw parties often (how could you NOT if you lived in a freakin chateau?!). Since the 1980’s were not the age of digital photography, I have very few photos of that time, but I have included what I could find. This particular soiree was a spring celebration - everyone was asked to wear white, and my mother helped make the floral “couronnes” out of colored paper for everyone to wear. None of the other residents had children, so the parties themselves were super-glamorous, adult affairs to us little girls.
But. My favorite part was the morning after. The morning belonged to just us three kids and was our own mini-celebration. My sisters and I would wake up super early and tip-toe down the grand, winding marble staircase to the party aftermath. There, all alone (as I now understand, most of the adults were sleeping off their hangovers), we’d pick our way through the massive, ancient rooms and their overflowing ashtrays and hundreds of empty cups to dine on the party leftovers for an extra-special breakfast feast of our own. Bite of slightly stale but tasty chocolate cake from this room, taste of cheese and crackers in that room. And naughtiest of all, sips of flat champagne.
To me, this is always the greatest of party memories because it’s a reminder that there’s a story to tell in the leftovers. Every empty cup, cracker crumb, wine stain, and half-eaten cake was a mystery to me as a child, but an obvious clue that a great, excessive celebration had been had - and the fact that no cleaning up had been done, no evidence wiped away, meant that it had really been a party. Our imaginations would run wild as we nibbled our way through the unhealthiest - but greatest - of breakfasts.
So I encourage you (and provide a much-needed reminder to my type-A self) to go to bed without cleaning up. Wake up the next morning and enjoy the evidence... before you clean it all up and start planning your next bash.