She's the lady you saw making bicycle-powered smoothies at a recent Grove gathering...or maybe the one who helped you park your Schwinn as the art festival's bike valet. Or, You might have bumped into her on a dance floor. That's Lucienne.
After forty-four years of marriage, her husband Hank can not praise her enough. He is throwing a series of birthday parties to celebrate the 90th year of his adorable wife.
Hank and Lucienne had the first one with friends in Berkeley last month. We attended the third one in the Biltmore hotel's penthouse suite last night.
Ever imagine what it might be like to stay in the top-floor room in this magnificent edifice, the one Al Capone use to call his second home? The one with 360-degree views of Miami? The place where presidents crash?
We were partying in the Presidential Suite last night and it was amazing. Lucienne was her usual adorable self, beaming in an elegant gray evening dress.
After we sang her song she cut the cake and handed out slices.
Hank invited us to stay the night ("We have an extra bedroom") and we seriously considered it. "Oh, it'd be like taking friends on a honeymoon, tempting but not quite right", said Francesca. The place rents for the price of a Subaru so we can always go back.
Hank tells us the birthday celebrations will continue. The next one is at their summer home in Paris and the last? They've booked passage with Carnival for a September cruise to Cuba.
Who knew hitting the Big 9-0 could be this much fun?
Note: Since I published this a couple of days ago, two female friends have written to me to say they
spent some of their teenage years partying in the Presidential Suite. "It was empty, a ghost hotel back then. It was easy to break in and climb the stairs. Once we even fueled a party with champagne we found in the closed restaurant". The other told me she and a friend, once they got to the top floor, tried to climb up on the roof from a balcony. Happily, both survived and are doing well today. Sadly, the Grove Guy was behaving himself, more or less, during those ghost hotel years.