Eliot and I just spent two days in Denver visiting Mary Cutrell West, her husband Chris, and their almost seven-year-old son Christopher. This visit was long overdue since we haven’t seen Mary in eight years. She was a nanny for Whitney from the age of nine to sometime before her Bat Mitzvah. Mary was more like a big sister to Whitney. Mary replaced Theresa Ferreira who was with Whitney from seven days old till nine. Then Theresa worked at our PR agency.
Eliot and I only knew Mary as a single gal who worked for us during the day, and then transformed herself into a dancer at Webster Hall at night. We never went to see her dance because we were told we were too old for the club. Mary stood 5-feet 9-inches tall, was all legs with the skinniest waist, and wore a very flirtatious expression framed in flaming red hair.
Luckily, Mary used to live just around the corner from us, so we all spent a lot of time together. We met through an agency, the same one I used to find Theresa. Mary called herself Miss Mary, or Mary Moonbeam because she was a non-conformist. She set her own agenda in life, and wanted her single days to be extraordinary.
They were — except when she was working for us. She was always on time, loyal, caring, dedicated, helpful, and went out of her way to please. She volunteered to cook for us, was a fun yet serious companion to Whitney, and took our two Maltese for long walks, something we rarely did. She received marriage proposals from several male neighbors and two doormen.
Then, one day long after she stopped taking care of Whitney, Mary announced she was moving to Denver because she wanted to be closer to her family in Casper, Wyoming. She was in her late 30s and wanted to settle down. In less than a year in Denver, Mary met her husband Chris and was pregnant with Christopher.
Then she disappeared. I don’t remember how long it was, but we didn’t hear from her. We couldn’t find her. The phone number we had for her parents had been disconnected. One day, Whitney, who was a computer whiz by then, decided she was going to make it her project to find Mary. This was way before Google. I think it was 24 hours later that Whitney announced to us that she had found Mary. They talked for a long time. She was married, had a baby, and was living in the Denver suburbs. As usual, Whitney wasted no time. She bought an airplane ticket a few days later to visit her. Whitney has visited Mary a few times since then.
Whitney has begged us to visit Mary, but we have never had the time. We did speak to her on the phone, texted, emailed, and religiously called each other on birthdays. Many months ago, our cousins from Los Angeles, Larry and Darren, invited us to join them in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week for a snow mobile trip. Eliot announced it would be a great idea to combine the trip with a visit to Mary. So we spent the first part of this week in Denver with Mary. We arrived on her 45th birthday.
The minute she saw us she burst into tears. Then she introduced us to her very handsome husband and her stunning son. They all have red hair. So do Whitney, Eliot (his mustache before it turned gray), and yours truly. We were inseparable for 24 hours.
Our trip cemented a relationship in a way that cannot be duplicated over the Internet. The hugs we got from Christopher were gifts that even Steve Jobs couldn’t deliver. It did wonders for the heart.