Suza Belle


The other day, I mentioned my friend Suza Belle. She’s the one who taught me that you chose your family among your friends. As an extension of that philosophy, she also believes that we all only have as much ‘real’ family as we can handle. I guess in my case I can’t handle very much…

As her name would suggest, she’s a true Southern Belle. Exudes love, class and style in abundance. And in the serendipitous circle of life, she was introduced to me by one of my best friends, Jason; and in turn introduced me to her niece Stacey, who has become a great friend and a very important part of my life. I love how that works.

Suza Belle is seventy, with the biggest heart I know and the spirit of somebody half her age.  At least. As a matter of fact, she frequently complains that her body is far too old for her adventurous mind. I can see why. No body can contain that much spirit.

Last time we met, she just started internet dating. She was excited and giggling like a teenager. Her only complaint was that barstools were too difficult to get on. And that the men were ‘all so old’. I bombed at internet dating in my thirties. I wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell in my seventies.

Suza Belle’s a great cook and entertainer. A fabulous raconteur. She tells the love story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson (the 7th US President) like she was there, with plenty of creative licence, of course. She travels any chance she gets, cane and vintage Louis Vuitton handbag in tow. She came to Germany to celebrate Christmas with my brother and grandmother. We had the best Christmas ever. She came to my thirtieth birthday party in London and to my wedding in France.

She’s taught me a great deal about making the best of life. About enjoying it to the full, despite what may ail and bug you. If you listen to her story, you’d think she’d have every reason to be bitter and resentful. But she isn’t. It just wouldn’t do.

For her seventieth birthday, her guests were asked to write down their favourite Suza Belle story. It was difficult just chose just one. I could write book full of Suza Belle stories.

Maybe one day I will. In the meantime, I can’t wait for Lilly to meet her.

Suza Belle, Stacey and me

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