Friday, August 21, 2009

Isabel Keating

This story relates to Victoria, but in an unexpected way. When Marilyn Miller remarked that she loved the Colette audio tape best (see last Thursday's blog), it brought this story to mind.

I saw Isabel Keating on the stage in New York portraying Judy Garland. She was incomparable and won awards for the performance. I wanted to share with her the kind remarks that Leslie Caron, who performed Colette for us and recorded Gigi as well, had told me about Judy Garland. I'd never done such a thing before, but I wrote Isabel a letter, relaying Madam Caron's remark and sending her the Victoria tapes featuring Leslie Caron. It simply went off to The Imperial Theater.

The response I received from Isabel was delightful. (My niece wisely reminded me that actresses are people, too.) That correspondence opened up a lovely exchange for us of notes and Christmas cards. And I made it a practice to see Ms. Keating on stage anytime I could--once even traveling to New Jersey's Papermill Playhouse.

When Isabel's good friend Mark Berman presented his original musical composition The Genesis Project, she invited me to attend the premier performance. We hugged each other like old friends. Isabel is diminutive, like Judy Garland was, but effervescent and very engaging. My husband couldn't get over how darling she was in every way. What I would have missed if I hadn't written that letter and shared Leslie Caron. My dream is to get these two friends together sometime. And it just might happen when Leslie Caron comes to the U.S. to promote her new book Thank Heaven. (More about that later...)

You can meet Isabel on her website and on her blog. And you can hear her incomparable voice and experience her talent in her recordings of many books. Check the offerings on Amazon by searching on her name. I adore Blue Christmas. Maybe it reminds me of how much I enjoy her Christmas notes, often on cards she's created herself. (These days they are signed Isabel and Mark.)

Oh, how all the threads of our lives embroider our days. It never ceases to amaze me. I'd love to hear a story of when you did something that brought you rewards you never expected.


  1. What a delightful story, Nancy! I guess my surprise ending was asking you a few questions via email, which resulted in our having a marvelous lunch, and ultimately, having the story of my best childhood friend and I winding up in your forthcoming book! I never would have imagined that possible, when I think of the years I admired your team's work through the magical pages of Victoria. Talk about unexpected rewards? As my mom always said, "It never hurts to ask..."

    Love, Karen Marline

  2. I write lots of "love letters" giving credit where credit is due. When I feel a letter coming on, I try to act upon it. After reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance in 1995, I wrote to Sarah to tell her how much I loved the book. I told her she was "New age wisdom meets Victoria magazine". A few days later, she called to personally to thank me. A few more days, she called to ask me to appear with her on Oprah to discuss the book! I accepted and sat right next to Oprah discussing Simple Abundance and grinning like I had written the book myself!


  3. I agree, a most delightful story. I am so glad I mentioned Colette, as we received this wonderful story in return.

  4. For me, the unexpected rewards came after giving two gifts... and bliss followed. A few years back I was trying to come up with something creative and special to give as Christmas gifts to both my newly remarried mother and my mother-in-law. Because of my mother's newlywed status, she and her hubby were living in a new home purchased together. My mother- and father-in-law had recently retired, and since he had been a minister for many years they had lived in church parsonages all their married life. Upon retirement, they bought their first home, furnished it beautifully, and spent many hours in the yard planting roses and landscaping.

    So for each of them, I decided to do a drawing of their new homes. They were gifts from the heart, and they were received both with tears and squeals of delight. When their friends came to their homes and saw the drawings I had done, they began calling me to commission drawings of their homes. And so my artwork business took wing. And thanks to the internet, I have now had the opportunity to do artwork for clients across the country. It is my joy and my passion. And even though the present economy is not favorable for artists, somehow I am still managing to find commissioned work. What a blessing!