New Year Old (Lady) Me

I’m of a special breed…I’m an introverted chatterbox. Meaning, I can talk and talk and talk until you wish I had an off switch, but when it really comes down to it I’m a sufficiently shy individual. I’m able to unleash an outgoing side of me in front of people I know and am comfortable with, but when I’m around new people I tend to emulate the kid dancing awkwardly with only his upper body in the corner of the party. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those shy kids who accepts their isolationist tendencies and rocks it with a cluster of other introverts; I’m conscious of my shyness but I don’t own it. I really look up to, and perhaps even envy, people who are so naturally extroverted.

So in the tradition of cliche holiday sentiments I’ve created one big New Year’s resolution for myself: to become one of those ladies who is friends with their hair dresser or has existential conversations with the woman who does their nails. In other words, I want to become so overwhelmingly extroverted that you’re forced to be friends with me the second I walk into the room. I feel as if the majority of people aspire to reach this level of friendliness but in a melancholic trick of fate most people don’t really reach this state until old age. A twenty something year old is more likely to talk to a plant than a stranger at the mall while it’s almost a guarantee to see an eighty year old chatting it up with their grocery line neighbor . My theory behind this is originates from a kind of “f**k it attitude” that most people acquire once they descend into older age. There’s a clarity achieved about the validity of social norms and acceptable behaviors as you age. People let go of seemingly meaningless ideals and begin to say what they really mean or do what they want to do. So while most people will be wishing to rewind the clock of life on January 1st, 2017 I will be attempting to conjure the care free old lady I know I hold within me to become the type extroverted person I’ve so long admired.



Making Out in the Fire Place

Monday marked the 81st birthday of my Mom Mom and the first of her birthdays since her recent passing. It was of course a solemn day for my Pop Pop, who continues to work through the immense grief understandably caused by the loss of such an extraordinary woman and best friend. However, for me it was a day of inspiration more than anything else.

To understand the essence of the gap she left in all of our lives, I would first need to describe her to you, which evidently is an impossible task. Describing my Mom Mom to someone who never met her is like describing a color to a blind man; you just can’t find the right words to do so. I have no better explanation for her other than this: when she was a little girl playing house, all the other kids in her neighborhood would fight over who could be the mom and who could be the dad. My Mom Mom on the other hand, always chose to be the grandma simply because it allowed her to sit back and boss everyone around.

Now don’t get me wrong my Mom Mom was never one to hold back her opinions but what I really mean from this description is that she was one of those outstanding personalities that could inherently conquer a room. She screamed life and in many ways that is why her death was so devastating to my Pop Pop. My biggest regret is not asking more questions about her life. She had so many amazing experiences in life that even after 40+ years of being with my Pop Pop she still had some untold stories of her own. My favorite was one that unexpectedly came up at the Easter dinner table.

I had just come back from a big trip so of course the first half of the dinner was spent catching up on who was dating who, who had gained a few, who was switching majors faster than a puma, and then we got into the good stuff: the stories. We were all listening intently to another story from her glamorous past in the advertisement industry when she veered off a tad.

“…and so then we were making out in the fireplace when-” she said with enchanting nonchalance.

“Wait! What?” my Pop Pop interrupted

“Oh Tony hush..”

Now granted my Pop Pop is hard of hearing so the abruptness of his reaction may have been due to a late register of what she was saying, but I always took it as his surprise to hear a new story after so many years together. The conversation then divulged into what making out was vs. hooking up, and yes, it was as uncomfortable as you would expect a conversation of this caliber to be between grandparents and grandchildren but that’s besides the point.
I think about her often and can’t help but smile with admiration at the luck she had for being one of the few people who cracked the code on how to live life as thoroughly as possible. I feel her with me driving me to take risks, explore and live more intensely every day so that one day, if I am lucky, I will be as filled with stories as she was.


A Good, Bad Story

I am a paradox. Here I am, a girl who loves writing and storytelling but can’t tell a good story if her life depended on it. It’s become an inside joke between my friends and family who think my arsenal contains 3 mediocre stories-on a good day. In a real life situation, that’d set me up for about 15 minutes of first date conversation until I’m completely dry.

The overthinker that I am has spent many car rides and mid math class dazes pondering about what it is that makes my stories so terrible. Through simple trial and error I’ve calculated that my three biggest flaws in story telling are: unimportant details, over explained endings and an immediate admit of defeat after I finish. I always start off strong with the attention still twinkling in the eyes of my audience but as soon as I see them darting off as I explain the color of socks I was wearing or type of smoothie I had on the morning of that particular day, I give up and ruin my story with a unfulfilling ending. My go to end-of-story tag line is, “Wow I told that story awfully, I’m so sorry.”

I like to think that I inherited this quality from my great aunt Maisy who was as bad at telling stories as she was at telling jokes like: “I’ve been with the same man for 40 years…I hope my husband doesn’t find out about him.” However, I’m no Aunt Maisy. I can’t pull off the look of the charmingly gullible and ditzy old lady, any more than I can pull off the outrageous costume jewelry she used to adorn herself with. I’m just not cute enough. Seeing that I can’t miraculously convert into a charming old lady or a podcast superstar, I guess my only choice is to keep writing and telling stories, however unbearably boring they are, until I get the hang of this thing. Hopefully in a short time my tag line will be “Wow I told that story only slightly awfully, you’re welcome.”

– Charlotte

You’re invited

I do my best work when there’s too much work to do. Routines are as necessary to me as pizza and being down to earth are to Jennifer Lawrence. So it makes sense that going into this year I put a huge emphasis on finding a writing routine that was acute and time conscious: my Pop Pop newspaper assignment.

I feel like I have been fulfilling this task as I promised, but I find it challenging to write for every single conversation I have with my Pop Pop. This isn’t saying that that we have boring, unworthy conversations, its quite the opposite. Sometimes I just feel content with these conversations as they are and feel no need to ponder on them further. Simply put, some of these conversations are meant to stay between me and my Pop Pop only…sorry internet strangers.

With this in mind, I’ve tasked my self with a pre-new years, New Years resolution to write/post more about whatever story, essay or idea originates from my little brain. This is my bland attempt to embody the intimidatingly thoughtful Patti Smith who used to spend hours deciphering random poems, essays or stories she scribbled on whatever material was in her possession at the moment of inspiration. Maybe I won’t be having as profound thoughts as whether our lost socks or coats mourn us after we’ve misplaced them, but regardless, I’ll be writing and that’s all that matters.

So I guess this is my invitation to you, for an adventure into the land of non sensical writing.
RSVP by December 20th, black tie only

-Charlotte Isidore

To Fall in Love With Love

“Wow! This is honestly the best story I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Just wow! How can this be real life.” I raved holding up the newspaper like the holy grail, barely able to catch my breath.

“Hahaha, that’s the funny thing about love you know…” my Pop Pop replied endeared by my enthusiasm.

“What, what’s the funny thing about love?”

“That when you’ve never experienced love…that type of heart stopping love, it seems so unreal to you and you’re caught in a state of awe. I don’t think you fell in love with the story part of the story…I think you fell in love with love.”

I’m going to recommend that you all read the same article that left me as spellbound as it did. Maybe you’ll be reminded of a heart stopping love in your life or perhaps you’ll fall in love with love just like me. Either way I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

Hey Mista!

I‘m speechless. I honestly can’t bring myself to talk about how as of last Tuesday the President of the United States is Donald Trump. So I’m not going to. Instead I’m going to tell you a happy story, and hopefully in doing so, do my part in making your world seem a little sunnier on these gloomy, gloomy days.

As our country was slowly plotting its demise last Tuesday, my Pop Pop and I decided to start a column in the NYT’s to let off some steam. He chose one called “The Metropolitan Diaries” which are essentially little screenshots of the lives of New Yorkers. They’re not Pulitzer Prize winning materials but they’re the kind of stuff that make you happy to be a New Yorker/American again-and let’s face it that’s something we all need right now. They were all very charming and after reading them my Pop Pop’s was reminded of his very own metropolitan diary that goes something like this:

Many years ago when my Pop Pop graduated from college he moved to New York from his home in small, provincial East Rochester, NY to try to make it as a writer. My Nana also lived there and because they were both struggling young people they often entertained themselves cheaply by doing things like riding the Staten Island Ferry and taking long walks.

As my Pop Pop tells the story, one day he and Nana were taking a walk down Bleecker Street, and not the Michael Kors, hybrid croissant dessert Bleecker Street we know today. We’re talking about the real Bleecker Street, the one with three different Italian butcher shops and a nonna with a stark opinion about your hair cut on every corner.

On this particular walk a little boy came up to my Pop Pop and said, “Hey Mista! You know where 272 Bleeka is?”

Logically my Pop Pop wanted to help him and said, “Well let’s see, come with me and we’ll look. There it is… 272 Bleecker St.”

The kid then replied, “I know! I live there! I just wanted to see if you knew.”

From that point on little Vincent Vella, the “wise guy,” became a character in my Pop Pop’s life. If they encountered each other on the streets they’d talk, if my Pop Pop was going to church near by Vincent would say “I’ll walk ya.”  They even went to meet Vincent’s  family at one point. And when my Pop Pop was drafted into the army, Vincent was there the morning before my Pop Pop shipped out.

“When do you leave?” he asked my Pop Pop.

“I have a flight around 7,” my Pop Pop said.

“You gonna be flying ova the city?”

“Yeah, sure. I’ll be flying over the city.” My Pop Pop replied although he knew it to be a lie.

“Alright, I’ll tell ya what. I’ll be standin on this roof and when you fly ova, I’ll be wavin this big ol’ blanket and all you gotta look down and wave me goodbye.”

The  craziest thing isn’t that they went on to become friends. It’s that little wise cracking Vincent Vella went on to become an actor. Unsurprisingly, being featured in a few gangster movies most notably one with Robert De Niro.

It’s these types of random human connections that remind us that we’re not all that different, whether we’re happy this week or not. So the next time you’re walkin down the street or are stuck on the subway, don’t do the easy thing and become an introvert. Talk to people, exchange a smile, maybe even a laugh. It’s all we can do to mend the split that has obviously infected our nation. And hey who knows, maybe your version of a Vincent Vella will end up being a Beyoncé or Leonardo DiCaprio some day.


A Four Letter Word Called Love

It seems an impossible task to rescue love from the rubble of hate and negativity that currently liters our world at the fault of media, television or even presidential candidates.
While I wouldn’t necessarily see myself as having a shortage of emotions around me-being a teenage girl and all-I uncovered as of recent my distraction by the bad of the world and my loss of touch of the most human essence we all possess; love.

A favorite column my Mom Mom and Pop Pop used to read in the New York Times, is titled “Modern Love” covering stories of love, whether romantic, familial or whatever definition you please. This week’s addition highlighted the story of a woman through a rather abrupt breakup. Unlike the sappy love stories I’m accustomed to this piece ended without a resolution or rather, with a sad tone. I instantly regretted reading this because I knew how triggering it would be for my Pop Pop after the loss of my Mom Mom, his soul mate of 40 years. However, nothing could have prepared me for the simple words he said after I finished. “That made me sad…” he told me after a long pause, and for some reason those words, although plagued with undeniable grief and sadness for the love he lost, helped me remember that the world is a place of immense love.

It reminded me of how physically overcoming my love is when I discover something I’m passionate about. How when, at the height of my Arabic studies, I felt a love for unknown knowledge that was so conquering I was unable to put into words. It reminded me how the endless love and appreciation that radiates from my closest friendships has been transformative to my self-esteem. It reminded me of how intense my parents love for one another is and that when my dad defends my mom when she and I are fighting it’s because he wants to protect “his girl”-as he endearingly calls her-from all things ugly because he loves her too much to see her upset. It reminded me that there’s no emotion more deeply felt or more intensely yearned for than love and that it’s the sentiment most essential to carry within you in every endeavour.

My dad often tells me that I feel things more deeply than most and while he’s usually referring to my feelings of anger or angst, I take it to mean love. For just a moment I got caught up in all the hate and anger in the world and lost my greatest power as a human; my power to feel every little thing, whether that’s sadness or frustration or enthusiasm or even love, so deeply that it overcomes me. It’s almost poetic how words heavy with such immense grief as “That made me sad…” can help me remember that there is still indeed love in this world.

-Charlotte 10-24-16