South of Tonight

Sporadic murmurs and other pomegranates from a one-way street

Grandmother and Phyllis Diller

Last week the great comedienne Phyllis Diller passed away. Along with millions of others, I laughed at her stories of her husband Fang, her questionable cooking ability and wondered who helped her with her wardrobe. I never met the lady but did have a brief “correspondence” with her approximately two and a half years ago. At the time we were planning the one hundredth birthday party for Dorothy, our daughter’s-in-law grandmother. I was trying to come up with an exciting gift for a one hundred year old woman. The solution sort of dropped into my lap. I remembered that during Christmas Eve dinners Dorothy entertained us with her stories of one of her Alameda neighbors named Phyllis Diller. One tale involved the very colorful dishes used for the holiday meal we always enjoyed. As the story goes, Phyllis had noticed Dorothy’s pretty dishes and wondered if she could borrow them for a birthday party she was giving for Don Sherman, a famous San Francisco DJ. Of course grandmother lent Phyllis the dishes.

Flash forward about fifty years and several weeks before the birthday party.  My birthday surprise idea was sending Mrs. Diller a note card and asking if she would kindly write her old friend a short note and send it to me so we could present it at the party. I found the comedienne’s address, sent her the card and waited. A few days later I received a large envelope. Inside I found the sealed personal note plus an unexpected item, an autographed photo for Dorothy. Wow! What a nice gesture.

The big day arrived. Around 30 friends and family paraded into the hall rented for the big occasion. Anxious to surprise Grandmother we presented the note and photo to her before dinner. During the rest of the evening she went from guest to guest showing off the photo, the kind card and telling her Phyllis Diller stories. She was a very happy lady that night. It was made possible by the kind generosity of the dear Phyllis Diller.

(Hearing of the many stories of what a kind and wonderful person Phyllis Diller was I wanted to add our little story. By the way, Dorothy is now 102+ and still going strong.)


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2 thoughts on “Grandmother and Phyllis Diller

  1. That’s nice when people take the time to do something like that. And you obviously picked a great gift, not one that could be bought for lots of money, but one chosen with care, and given with care by PD too.

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