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Inspiring Women February 2023

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Suzanne attending the March for our Lives<br />

protest in Paris. (left)<br />

Suzanne “eyeballing” her lunch. (above)<br />

Suzanne enjoying street-style breakfast with the Democrats Abroad “Walk and Talk.”<br />

In the early years of living in Paris, I was mugged<br />

and my purse was taken. I had taken the metro<br />

from Opera, and was walking home from my<br />

stop after midnight when I was pushed to the<br />

ground and my purse stolen. I was feeling<br />

sorry for myself, thinking that if I had been<br />

accompanied by my husband, I wouldn’t have<br />

been mugged. But then I suddenly thought, if I<br />

were still married, I wouldn’t be in Paris! And<br />

I just felt the happiness well up inside of me<br />

and overflow onto the pavement.That is my<br />

best gift; I can always see the advantages of<br />

my misfortunes. Although I must admit, I really<br />

know how to celebrate my good fortunes.<br />

Maturity (how I got involved with my life)<br />

My first year I did everything French. French<br />

champagne, French friends, French movies,<br />

French food , etc. etc. My second year I spent<br />

looking for a good Tex-Mex restaurant.<br />

I had an apartment in the fifth arrondissement<br />

and I learned everything I could about my<br />

neighborhood. I took a three-year course in<br />

Parisian history, art, architecture, and sociology.<br />

Mainly I was involved in learning all I could about<br />

Paris, then France, then Europe.<br />

Next, I went back to singing opera. I had given<br />

that up when I got married. I simply stopped<br />

singing and performing. When I was young it<br />

all came so naturally. I remembered it being so<br />

easy, but I hadn’t sung for thirty years and I had<br />

a head injury. Nothing that showed up at first<br />

sight but people close to me knew I struggled.<br />

I had to relearn how to read music, rebuild my<br />

vocal muscles, sing in different languages,<br />

remember dynamic symbols, put the emotion<br />

into the song and a million other things like<br />

rhythm, pitch, and breath control. I started<br />

rewiring my brain and by 2012, I felt recovered.<br />

In 2015, I started ballroom dancing. With<br />

lessons and practice, a busy social life, my<br />

voracious reading, and my very busy travel<br />

schedule, it was almost a relief when the<br />

COVID-19 lockdown brought everything to a<br />

sudden halt. Such peace and quiet… marred<br />

only by recurring nightmares of dying from<br />

COVID-19. There was also that slight hiccup<br />

when, after weeks of hearing about the poor<br />

elderly people, 60 and older, being more at<br />

risk, and worrying and feeling sorry for these<br />

people, I suddenly realized this included me! I<br />

became elderly in a split second.<br />

At this moment<br />

I have started back up with travel, dancing, and<br />

friends, but I haven’t tackled singing again. It’s a<br />

shame, because I was very close to giving a recital<br />

for my friends, most of whom have never heard<br />

me sing.<br />

Also I haven’t started back with my big parties.<br />

I gave a New Year’s Eve Ball and a Christmas Ball<br />

with little dance cards and midnight suppers. And<br />

I hosted the cast of “Singing In The Rain” since<br />

they had no time off to go home for Christmas. I<br />

did that twice and they were joyous occasions –<br />

all those young performers singing and dancing<br />

in my apartment, Christmas caroling and dancing<br />

in the courtyard for the neighbors. At least, I hope<br />

that was a joyous occasion for the neighbors… it<br />

was fairly late…<br />

Achieving happiness in this stage of my life<br />

Will I continue to try to entertain the rest of the<br />

world or should I move my life into different<br />

stages? The 20 years I’ve spent in Paris have<br />

been wonderful magical times. Could they have<br />

been any better? Could there have been more<br />

champagne and caviar? I don’t know, but I don’t<br />

want more than I have had. I am satisfied and<br />

happy. I love my apartment overlooking the<br />

Seine. Do you know how you play dolls and<br />

dress them up in different outfits? I lovingly<br />

dress my apartment up for the different seasons<br />

and holidays.<br />

I am surprised that I have found someone so<br />

wonderful to love because it is wonderful to<br />

be loved in return. And quite frankly, I am<br />

surprised that so many of my friends still put<br />

up with me.<br />

Do you embrace or resist maturity?<br />

Maybe the big, late events are over for me. I think<br />

more about the sands of time running out of my<br />

champagne glass. I’ve read that old age turns<br />

out to be the best age of all. Surprisingly enough,<br />

people have more fun because they have more<br />

time and hopefully enough money to do just what<br />

they enjoy doing. You have nothing to prove and<br />

no one to keep up with. There are the aches and<br />

pains, sometimes leading to tough decisions,<br />

and there are the losses. But as one tries to age<br />

gracefully, I think one starts to take better care of<br />

oneself and one’s friends. You learn how<br />

70 INSPIRING WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN 71

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