Starbucks memories and Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

I love walking into Starbucks. I love the smell, the feel, the music, the promise of coffee.  And, no matter where the Starbucks is located, I love how it transports me back to the simplest time in my married life.

At the time, we were newlyweds living in beautiful Denver. We were strapped for cash, sharing one car and then adding on a second, hand-me-down car that was traded in for our first adult purchase, a brand new Toyota Corolla that I still remember with love.  We lived in a nice one bedroom apartment surrounded by others in similar situations (some singles, some couples, all pre-children).  The apartment complex had, at one point, a bookkeeper that was embezzling money and we, somehow, got a free month of rent. We felt rich for that month (and yes, we should have saved, but at that time we never saved).

Looking back, that was the free-est time of our married life. There were some harsh realities, the harshest being 9/11 (Starbucks, college, and that apartment will always remind me of Ted calling, telling me to turn on the television. Me, telling him I was in a hurry to get to school, but turning on the tv and watching in horror as the second plane collided with the Towers. We frantically attempted to call his family and our friends on the east coast — he’s from New Jersey– and found out slowly that all were safe). But mostly I remember those days as easy-going, finding our footing as a married couple, figuring out what I would do after I was done with school (Ted was working as a chef, a profession for which he went to school).

I couldn’t wait to be done working at Starbucks, couldn’t wait for ‘real’ work. Of course, now I look back and think about how wondrous it was (forgetting the early mornings, the sore feet, the wrist pain from lifting the gallons of milk and making espresso before the fancy, press-a-button machines, the pain-in-the-butt customers and the even-worse co-baristas, the way I smelled when I got home).

I left there when I got a teaching job, thinking I might start back up on weekends once I got settled into teaching. But I got pregnant right after I started teaching, and thoughts of going back were pushed aside by thoughts of my new baby girl. We moved to a larger apartment on the other side of town, had another baby 15 months after the first, moved into an even bigger place, bought a mini-van, and finally moved to Ohio, where we bought our current home. We fell into routine, and I became the PTO mom running like crazy, cruising into Starbucks (or through the drive thru) for a pick-me-up. And every time I have time to actually go inside, I’m transported to the newlywed years, and what I now know was the breeziest time of life.


I cannot express how much I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette. What wonderfully thought out, quirky characters —  and still within the realm of being believable.

Bernadette Fox is a slightly off mother of a brilliant, thoughtful, caring daughter, Bee. Bernadette is also somewhat of a recluse in need of a creative outlet, but, having her creativity destroyed by meanspirited-ness in the past, she has eskewed her passion (and gone slightly crazy). Follow that with and escape from L.A. to Seattle and a series of miscarriages and the birth of a child with a serious heart defect–let’s just say that Bernadette is not quite balanced.

But she’s making it work, and she’s making Bee’s life interesting and fun while avoiding the PTA ‘gnats’ and everything else in Seattle that sets her off (and that’s just about everything). And then her brilliant husband, a genius working on one of Microsoft’s projects that is actually innovative, and his administrative assistant (a PTA gnat) get involved. And all hell breaks loose in Bernadette’s (and Bee’s) life.

This is a funny, sad, heartwarming look at a family holding on for life, and finding their way back to sanity in the most indirect way possible. Read Where’d You Go, Bernadette — you won’t regret it!!!


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