Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mrs. Schott - Part II

Lying in the dark in the hotel room I waited for Nancy to finish her conversation on the phone with Mrs. Schott, the woman whose voice sounded mature and strong when I answered. As they talked I imagined her – a stately, “older” woman who sees Europe from the upper floors of five star hotel rooms.
At last Nancy hung up and told me what Mrs. Schott told her had transpired since she had delivered Nancy’s abandoned passport to the hotel concierge. (See last post.)
“After doing what I thought to be a good deed yesterday for you, what happened today was a surprise. I was heading to a charity luncheon – a charity for children. So on the way, I had my driver stop at the chocolatier to pick up candies for the children. He had to wait in the car at the curb while I walked up the alley to the shop’s door. Suddenly a thief grabbed me, tore the ring off my finger, took my purse, and threw me to the sidewalk!”
The hard fall onto the concrete had broken Mrs. Schott’s shoulder, and she had spent the day at the hospital. A cast not being possible, she had to wear her arm in a sling.
“But I would like to meet you and your sister tomorrow if you have time.”
So Nancy had arranged for us to visit her in the morning in the lobby of the InterContinental on our way out for the day.
Next morning en route the few blocks between our modest little hotel and the luxe InterContinental we remembered a florist near Place Vendome, so we headed straight there to pick up a nice (expensive) arrangement for Nancy’s injured benefactor. She picked the bouquet bottom, center.

At the InterContinental the concierge escorted us to Mrs. Schott sitting in a cool, dark corner of the lobby where it seemed every staff person was attending to her. Tuxedoed men floated to her with trays and greeted her with obvious concern about her injury.
You can’t imagine Nancy’s and my surprise when we saw her. There she was standing up to greet us, a willowy six-foot tall elegant young-ish woman reminding us of Princess Diana (who died two months later just a few blocks from that spot). We spent a short hour with Mrs. Schott and her sweet pooch Redford. We bonded, and she even said she would send her driver around for us later in the week to go out for the day. She also wanted us to come visit her in Switzerland where she and her husband oversaw their European-wide hotel chain.
You can barely see the empty left sleeve of her white sweater gracefully pinned up to accommodate her slinged arm against her chest.

Our hearts were a-flutter when we left, feeling as if we’d met and befriended royalty. If we’d known she would not follow through on her promise and collect us in a couple of days, we would have asked more questions, like which hotel chain? But as we explored Paris day after day for the remainder of our two weeks and waited for a call from Mrs. Schott, it never came, and we wistfully put our visions of a grand European friendship to rest. I have tried in vain to locate a hotel chain connected with the name Schott.


Peter said...

A little bit of disappointment then, but it was at least a nice moment! (Who payed the drinks?)

Ruth said...

Peter, it was only a small disappointment. We were pleased to spend a little time with her, because she really was sweet and not a bit stuffy. She bought the drinks. :)

Virginia said...

What a great story! A brief encounter you will never forget, I would imagine!V

Susan said...

Ahhh, Ruthie, you did not disappoint! What a charming story! And at least there is a picture to show, in case of naysayers. Is this your favorite memory of your trip? Something to tell your grandchildren, yes?

Jeanie said...

A small disappointment but what a wonderful memory! Don't you think it's the people experiences that really hold? And this is a lovely one!

dutchbaby said...

I love popping over here to experience a little bit of Paris through your eyes.

What a beautiful vignette about your encounter with this enigmatic woman. It is experiences like these that I love about traveling abroad.
Sometimes our image of someone we meet is razor sharp while we are in the moment with them, but then our perception fades and we will use our imagination to round out our mental portrait of them.

One time I had a lovely encounter with a woman in a elegantly-embroidered cashmere wool veil at Harrod's in London. At one point she said to me: "Next time you're in Dubai, be sure to visit...". I don't remember what the rest of the sentence was any longer, but my best friend, with whom I was traveling, and I still talk about this woman and imagine what her life must be like.

Ocean Girl said...

A very special story. Sometimes a close chanced encounter can be the most memorable. I love your photos and I think I will love your blog. Thank you for visiting.

joanny said...


Reading this was most enjoyable and I see you follow a few of my favorite Paris blogs or blogs on Paris.


became a member of your blogs...

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Paris from the past,
Taken to heart.
A memory to last
With a lesson to impart!

A delightful prose piece.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Dave King said...

A fine telling of a good story.

Cynthia Pittmann said...

What could be better than a Parisian adventure? I enjoyed reading your story.

Gabriele Agustini said...

Love the story! And the photographs are wonderful too! Lovely.

Fickle Cattle said...

Very charming. :-)