Do you remember the best summer of your life?
For Marjorie Hart, that summer included romance, New York City, the end of World War II and a summer job at Tiffany. The store was known for its fine jewelry, its robin's egg blue boxes...and its policy of only hiring men.
Despite the odds against them, Marjorie and her best friend Marty, both college students from Iowa, charged into the store with a notable recommendation and emerged as Tiffany employees. The summer that followed remained with Marjorie for more than 60 years until she told the story.
I assumed that I would enjoy the book because, well, it has my name in the title. I'm also rather fond of the three Tiffany pieces I own (hey, it's a start). However, I didn't expect to be quite so impressed with this charming memoir. It's a story you might hear from your grandmother...if she's a good story-teller.
Hart really does have a talent for describing details and situations, many of which are humorous. It's fun reading the letters she sent home to her family (and reading the way the events actually took place), getting a glimpse of the celebrities who came into the store and spending a vicarious summer in New York. But it's also incredibly poignant to get her perspective on this period in history--1945--just at the end of World War II, a war that, truthfully, affected many more people on a daily basis than any war since.
That summer, Marjorie seriously dated a man who was in the service. She also had seven cousins who were part of the fighting, one of whom died. Not to mention the sacrifices average Americans made. She describes the scene in Times Square of waiting for the news of Japan's surrender...
No one was a stranger in that crowd. We had all heard FDR's "Fireside Chats" and Edward R. Murrow's "This is London"...planted victory gardens...sent care packages, gathered phonograph records for the USO, given up nylons for parachutes, saved bacon grease for explosives, and turned in tinfoil, saved from gum wrappers, for ammunition. Most of all, we'd prayed that our loved ones would be safe.
By the end, I cared about Marjorie and what life would hold next for her. There were even a few surprises in her future, as there are for all of us, but I was glad to know she always remembered her summer at Tiffany.