My sister, Amy, who lives in Paris, took our mom on a Mother’s Day trip to Mallorca, last week. They sent in a couple of drinks they enjoyed – Mallorcan Sangria and Coco Loco, which are at the bottom of this post.
Normally, I aim to do Personality Profiles on Fridays, usually beverage related. As Sunday is Mother’s Day (in the US) I decided to veer slightly off-topic, in honor of the holiday…
Sylvia was born in August 1941, just outside of London, to Ruby and Victor Wilson. World War II was ravaging Europe, and Victor was a captain in the RAF (Royal Air Force). Ruby was struggling to care for 5-year old Margot and her new baby, in the midst of dire circumstances.
In 1943, Ruby received the devastating news that her husband’s plane was shot down, over Holland. About a year later, she entered a sanitarium, to be treated for Tuberculosis, and Sylvia and Margot, 3 and 7, were put into an orphanage.
Ruby, in fragile health, was in and out of hospitals throughout the coming years, and her girls lived, part time, with an estranged half-uncle and his wife, in Kent, who were paid to take in ‘orphans of the war.’
At 16 years old, Sylvia and her older sister obtained a small house in London, where they cared for their mother themselves, and Sylvia began secretarial school. They decided to take in part-time lodgers to bring in extra money.
In 1964, when Sylvia was 21, a charming French student arrived on her doorstep. Pierre Bovis had been sent to learn English, by his parents, who expected him to return and run the family real estate business in Nice, France.
Unbeknownst to them, Pierre had an ulterior motive for learning English. Impassioned by Native American culture, he planned to embark on a new life in America. Less than half a year later, he fell in love with and married Sylvia, and convinced her to join him. After a simple ceremony in London (only 6 guests in attendance) the young couple boarded a ship for America.
They sailed into the New York harbor, past the Statue of Liberty, and then took a bus to northern California. After 5 years of saving every extra penny, they lived the American Dream and began a small business called Winona Trading Post.
In 1974, they moved their small family (daughters Natalie, aged 4, and Amy, 2) to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Winona Trading Post, featuring Native American art and supplies, was in business for 35 five years. They also had a primitive art gallery for several years.
In 1983, the marriage ended. And, in 1984, Sylvia remarried a strapping Texan, named Dewey, to whom she was married until his death, nine years later.
Surprisingly, the rocky start to Sylvia life didn’t embitter her. Through her struggles, she became more compassionate. By doing without, she learned the power of generosity. She cooked turkeys for homeless shelters, she took her Girl Scout troop to sing Christmas Carols at nursing homes and she, still, bestows kindness on every living creature around her.
(And, might I add, that she has a natural flare for food, drink and entertaining!)
Moms deserve a toast! Happy Mothers Day!
2 cups Red wine
¼ cup brandy
2 oz. Cointreau
Pour into a pitcher, and add oranges, peaches and lemons
2 oz. white rum
1 oz. Coconut flavored liquor
1 oz. Milk or cream
2 tsp. sugar
Shake over ice, pour into sugar-rimmed glass, add umbrella, fruit and sparkler!