|Blue Box Cafe...Tiffany's, New York|
|Ron and me at the Cromwell College At Home....1963|
One Saturday afternoon in 1954, along with my friend, whose name, coincidentally, was “Rhonda Friend”, I sat in Gympie’s Olympia Picture Theatre. My eyes were glued to the screen, engrossed, oblivious to everything and everyone around me – Rhonda and Jaffas included.
On that very afternoon I fell under the mesmerising spell of Audrey Hepburn. To this day the status quo remains.
Alongside Gregory Peck as her handsome leading man, Audrey played the runaway princess in “Roman Holiday”.
From the moment she appeared on the silver screen her star shone brightly.
Audrey Hepburn passed away on 20th January, 1993. In my opinion, her star hasn’t dimmed.
Vividly I remember the exact moment, and what I was doing, when I learned of her death. I feel no embarrassment in admitting I shed tears. Many a tear has to fall, but it’s all in the game we know as....Life. My reservoir of tears will never run dry, and no desalination plant is necessary.
When filming commenced on “Roman Holiday” Gregory Peck, who was already a major star in his own right, after only a short while in Audrey’s luminous presence, recognised the wondrous aura surrounding the special young woman before him. Peck, always the gentleman, told the producers Hepburn’s name should have top billing on the movie’s credits, not his. The producers followed Mr. Peck’s advice.
Audrey won an Oscar for her role as “Crown Princess Ann”.
I think Vespa scooters should have received an Oscar, too.
“Roman Holiday” alerted the world’s attention to the Italian motor scooter, the name of which means “wasp” in Italian. Everyone wanted a Vespa...just about everyone had one after they’d watched Audrey and Gregory buzz around the streets of Rome. Even though, at the time, I was too young, I pined for one. A couple of years later, I did, in fact, go for a ride on a Vespa, as a pillion passenger on the scooter owned by another friend’s older sister. It was fun pretending I was Audrey Hepburn aka Princess Ann, if only for a short while.
Nine years later, and nine years older, in 1963, with my undiminished love of Audrey intact I stood beside “Ms Golightly” at the windows of New York’s famous jewellery store in the unforgettable, wonderful “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.
Sitting beside me that Saturday evening in a Brisbane movie theatre was a young man named “Ron”. He was older than me by four years or so. He was an older brother of another friend of mine. Said friend was a school teacher in Gympie at the time - which is how her brother's and my paths crossed. He’d paid a visit to Gympie, and we met at a gathering his sister, Marj, my friend, had organised in his honour.
Ron was attending Queensland University at St. Lucia, a Brisbane suburb. He was a member of the Cromwell College Alumni. He was studying Electrical Engineering. Cromwell was named Cromwell College in honour of Oliver Cromwell, sometime Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Every other weekend for a couple of months or thereabouts, (which was the duration of Ron’s and my non-torrid “romance”) Marj and I headed off to Brisbane to stay with Ron and his housemate, who also attended Cromwell College. They were renting a house in Ashgrove.
Our romance was of a simple, pure and innocent nature. Music, philosophy, movies and reading were our majors.
Sadly, Ron passed away 15 years ago. He introduced me to the writings of C.P. Snow, CBE, the English novelist and physical chemist. The books I bought and read then, still have pride of place on my shelves.
I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. I have it stored in a set-top box; I have it on DVD, and on USB disc. I think somewhere I probably still have the video cassette version as well. Similar applies to “Roman Holiday”.
Also, among my million LPs is the soundtrack to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”....a fabulous album.
No matter how many times I’ve watched either movie, at the end of each, tears flow like a river in flood.
Coincidentally, I once had a beautiful ginger cat, named "Cat", same as Holly's in the movie. I'd named my lovely fellow "Cat" long before I'd seen the movie or read the novella.
Audrey Hepburn’s “Holly Golightly” was a captivating character. It was Hepburn’s decision to portray her slightly differently to the original “Holly” of Truman Capote’s novella, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.
Hepburn wasn’t a demanding diva, but she wished to soften the character in the movie version. Her wish was granted.
Whenever I think about “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” the hauntingly beautiful “Moon River” spins on the turntable in my mind. The image of “Holly”, sitting on her window sill, hair wrapped in a towel, gently strumming a guitar, meditatively singing - “We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waitin’ round the bend, my huckleberry friend, Moon River and me...” makes me long to be drifting with the dream maker.
Henry Mancini composed the Academy Award winning song. Johnny Mercer, who penned the unforgettable “Autumn Leaves”, “Days of Wine and Roses”, “That Old Black Magic”, “Alexander’s Rag Time Band” and myriad others, wrote the lyrics.
When Randall (who later became my second husband...and second ex) came back after working and living in New York for nine years, he gifted me with a sterling silver key chain and a sterling silver telephone dial, both from Tiffany's and both in Tiffany's light blue packaging. The key chain came in a box and the dialer in a felt drawstring bag. I still have them in my cherished possession.
A couple of weeks ago I read Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store on the corner of New York’s Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street has made breakfast at Tiffany’s a reality.
Out of mothballs come my long black dress (actually, I’m wearing a long, black dress this very moment...but it’s covered in cat fur...not really suitable for a visit to Tiffany’s), elbow-length gloves, my multi-strand pearl and diamond necklace, as well as my extended onyx and gold cigarette holder. My large-framed dark glasses are at hand, always.
This time I won’t be standing at the window looking in, dreaming...
The famed jeweller has opened “The Blue Box Cafe”, decorated in robin-egg blue, the store’s trademark colour of its packaging. Diners can order coffee and a croissant for $29. Also on the menu is a choice of avocado toast, truffled eggs, or a smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese.
Grab your tiara and pearls...let’s have breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s okay if you’re running late...we’re just two drifters...off to see the world....at our own pace....
Smoked Salmon-Avocado Croissants: Melt the butter in a skillet; crack in 2 or 4 eggs, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until eggs are cooked the way you like. Towards the very end, places slices of cheese of choice on top of eggs (Havarit is good, too) so it starts to melt. Place thinly sliced smoked salmon on one side of each of the toasted croissants. Place avocado slices on other side of croissants; squeeze juice of lime onto avocado slices. Place eggs on top of smoked salmon; sprinkle generously with finely chopped chives. Place halves together; serve.
Mushroom-Goat’s Cheese Omelette with Spinach and Avocado: Add 1-2tbs x-virgin olive oil to pan; over med-heat, add 85g sliced mushrooms; cook 5-6mins; transfer to bowl. Wipe pan clean; spray with oil; heat over med-heat. In bowl whisk together 3 eggs; season; pour into pan; cook until edges begin to set, 6-7mins. Run spatula around edges to release; slide egg onto plate. On half of omelette, layer the sautéed mushrooms, baby spinach, crumbled goat’s cheese and diced avocado; fold other half over.
Breakfast Veggie Egg Casserole: Preheat oven 175C. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Heat 1tbs olive oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Add 1 small, diced onion; sauté 4-5mins. Add 1 tbs olive oil, 1 diced large carrot, 450g diagonally-cut, bite-size asparagus, 125g sugar snap peas, 3-4c chopped broccoli florets and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Cook 8-10mins, stirring occasionally, until the veggies have softened, and are cooked through. Add 250g sliced mushrooms and 1 punnet halved cherry tomatoes; stir; cook 3-4mins.Transfer about half to baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly 55g crumbled. Repeat process; sprinkle further 55g feta over top. Whisk together 12 large eggs, 1/2c milk, salt and pepper; pour over the veggies. Bake for 30-40mins.
Crab-Avo Toasts: Brush rounds of sourdough or halved bagels with olive oil; toast in oven; spread with mashed avocado; top with fresh crab meat.