Will wonders never cease

You never know what life is going to hand you next. I’ve had a life full of surprises, most relatively minor, some extremely bad and some extremely good.  This one came from so far out in left field that I think it needs its own category.

Here’s what arrived in my mailbox a few days ago:

Invitation Cover

Invitation(Names have been removed to protect the innocent)

See what I mean?!?!?

Okay, it may make more sense if I give you a little background.  Jean Harlow, born Harlean Carpenter, was one of the biggest female Hollywood stars of the early/mid 30’s, and was the blond bombshell for whom the term “platinum blonde” was invented.  She died tragically in 1937 of a then-untreatable kidney condition, at the age of 26.

Bear RugThis photograph is probably the most famous of the thousands that were taken of her.

She also happened to be my grandfather’s cousin.  So, by an accident of birth, this charming, kind, tragically lost young woman is part of our extended family.  A few years ago, we started connecting up with some people who were interested in her.  We ‘found’ a distant relative (who is now also a cherished friend), and other Harlow fans and historians.

And now, this.  It was preceded by an email introduction and invitation which shocked and delighted me.  I thought it was a very nice gesture, but that sort of thing is laughably out of my league.  But when my oldest daughter made me think about it from a different perspective (“Why not??”), it suddenly became an actual possibility.

The result is that both of my daughters and I have accepted the gracious invitation.  It will be a brief trip and, I expect, a totally unforgettable experience.  We are anxious to meet in person a few people we have corresponded with, and many more whose names we have only heard.

If you’d like to read a bit more about the fascinating person who is responsible for this little series of events, here are a few websites to get you started:

Now pardon me while I go try to decide what to wear…

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