My mother’s desk.

I love this desk. I sit at it now under the arched window in my office. The smoothness of the tan colored leather writing surface now shows its age from years of sunbathing in front of various exposures and the burgundy colored trim has faded to a quiet mauve, but the fine lines and cracks that now accent the textures, add to the character and wisdom of it’s history.

This, was my mother’s desk and my first memory of it was as a little girl, playing in her bedroom of our house in Beverly Hills. I loved spending time in that bedroom. The rich fabric walls in cream and burgundy colors were made more intense by the warmth of my mother’s scent. I would lie in her bed and take in the sights, the cool satin sheets draped over me. Her bedroom was open, yet cozy with a balcony on one side of the room overlooking the pool, poolhouse and garden. In the summer, the smell of night blooming jasmine would linger in the rays of the sunbeams. In the corner, stood the top of an iron spiral staircase I would avoid, it’s coldness always scared me and it led down to her dungeon-like office, which, even my mother rarely used.

Instead, she did most of her paperwork and writing at this desk, that gracefully sat center stage, next to her bed, in front of a sunlit, bougainvillaea covered window that faced the front courtyard. Folding doors opened from her bedroom to the bathroom, which continued to another set of doors leading to a two room dressing area. Soft white plush carpet carried you from one room to another and I felt like I was floating on clouds as I ran, playing through those rooms. Stairs from the dressing area led to a large narrow open space that housed floor to ceiling closets on one side and equally grand windows above dresser drawers on the other. The maze of doors continued back around to the same balcony, completing the circular connectedness of the entire bedroom suite.

This was a magical world to me, filled with costumes, high heeled shoes and false eyelashes. I would wrap myself in a long fur coat, close the folding doors and announce my arrival to an imaginary audience. My internal crowd would roar as I revealed myself opening the doors to the beat of the music in my head. My mother would turn from the work at her desk and give me her undivided attention as I broke out into song, my favorite being ‘Hey Big Spender’ from Sweet Charity. I had seen that show in Las Vegas at least twenty times, when my mother was performing at Caesars Palace. She would always roll with laughter at my rendition, finding my selection of that song charming. As my performance ended, I would take my bows and race back to the closet in search of a new character to portray.

No matter how many times I retook my stage, my mother was always happy to be distracted from her work, eager to see what unique creation I would come up with next, her delight and parental pride with my artsy imagination always at the ready.

My mother wrote three autobiographies and one book on fitness and health at this desk. All in longhand. If it could speak, this desk could write a book of its own.

The desk’s companion chair is covered in needlepoint done by my mother, the fabric still able to hold the rich colors the desk once possessed. My mother’s hands and spirit are ingrained in this furniture I now have chosen to use to discover my own voice. As I hold my pen, the imagination of my childhood now puts me in a movie scene where a young girl sits at this desk and is possessed by her mother’s spirit, writing effortlessly, words freely flowing as if she had been born to set them free.

I guess it is now my turn to honor that young girl that was me and give her my undivided attention.


Remember ~ Treasure ~ Love…   Kitt


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18 Response Comments

  • Pamela wyant  February 24, 2015 at 11:30 AM

    thank you for this insite

  • Maggie Ivins  February 24, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    What a wonderfully written piece! I could definitely picture the young girl performing for her mother. I was moved by this excerpt. I would like to write about my mother in a similar way as you have done. She wasn’t famous, but she had a way with words and never fully explored her writing gift. My mother died of pancreatic cancer in 1999 and I applaud your service to increase awareness of colorectal cancer. I feel that the gastrointestinal cancers do not receive enough of the funding and awareness they should. Thanks again for an inspiring piece. I look forward to reading more.

  • Stuart Moulton  February 24, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    Kitt…your mother must be beaming down with pride. What a beautiful picture you have painted–I always loved how eloquent Eartha was, and my heart is warmed beyond belief that the proverbial apple fell right at the base of the tree. xoxo

  • Wanda-Lee  February 24, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    Kitt, you are blowing me fucking away! I am crying as I read and write this. You may not remember, but I too know those rooms and the stairway winding down to the room not even I wanted to stay in for long. The teen me was once given the task to maybe sort through and organize pix! “This can be a good and interesting job for you.” Ha! Well as you can imagine it wasn’t and I didn’t. It only took a few tries before Eartha and I realized that task was overwhelming and I did not want to be down there by myself. I am so glad you are writing…allowing for a beautiful and essential continuity, your mother’s, your own and……
    I want to read more. Thanks for sharing.

  • Elise  February 24, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    Just lovely memories Kit, thanks for sharing.I adored your mum and also miss her. xe

  • Peter Robertson  February 24, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    Dear Kitt — What a beautifully written piece. You must submit it to “Ladies Home Journal” and “Readers’ Digest.” I’m serious!

    I’ve seen photos of that desk. I’ve visited that house on La Colina Drive in Beverly Hills. And, I knew your dear Mother. She would be pleased for you and proud of you, I’m certain.

    Please. Keep writing.

    Peace. Friendship. Love. PR.

  • Stavroula Chekas  February 24, 2015 at 11:55 PM

    so beautiful. i have my mom’s greek recipes in her handwriting and my dad’s notes left to me. short notes. i have all the letters my sisters and i wrote to my dad when he was away at purdue university one summer and all the letters he wrote back to us and mom.
    it si so beautiful that you share your mother’s wisdom with us.

  • Leise Chadwick  February 25, 2015 at 1:36 AM

    Wonderful memories of time spent with your Mother… thank you for sharing. Do you recall having owned a miniature poodle in the mid ’60s? The story was, and it was on the pedigree papers of my poodle, that Eartha Kitt owned a relative in my dogs lineage. I still have the papers tucked away somewhere. I was a child when my parents ‘adopted’ Suzette, my first pet.

  • Kathy Austin  February 25, 2015 at 2:13 AM

    Beautiful! What a great insight into your lives. I felt I was there.

    Semi-normal brain (you know whose sister)

  • Vivian  February 25, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    so glad to know she lived like that. One never knows. She was a dear lady.

  • Vin  February 25, 2015 at 4:50 PM

    I met your mom in 1990ish. A friend that owned a jazz club in Boston gave my partner and I tickets knowing what a huge fan I was/am of your moms. As we walked in so happy to be front row center, you know where this is going, your mom gave us the thrill of our life as she played us and “teased” us throughout the show. Thrilling! We had a nice talk after and I still keep the picture of us front and center in my living room. Since you shared so elequantly, I thought I would give you a little piece of whT she meant to me. When the club owner shared that she was almost shy off stage and loved her needlepoint dearly, I loved her more. Thank you. I love your story and can picture it so vividly. You were so lucky to have each other. As I sit, in a wheelchair daily due to motor neuron disease, my head dances with these sweet memories, yours and mine.

  • Samara Stevens  February 25, 2015 at 8:30 PM

    I am 38 years old and I have always wished that I could have had the opportunity to meet your mother. I have copies of two out of three of her books and re-read her wonderful self care book often. I am always struck by her wisdom and her uncommon sense. I am a black single mother to a bi-racial child and when I look see pictures of your mother and you I always smile because it reminds me of my daughter and I. Eartha Kitt was sensational and I am really thrilled to see you have created this business around your mother’s spirit. Best wishes.

  • Regina  February 25, 2015 at 9:17 PM

    This is beautiful. I was transported to your mom’s bedroom suite when I read this. I look forward to seeing what more pours from your pen and onto the waiting page. Your audience indeed awaits. 🙂

  • Karen Harris  February 25, 2015 at 9:53 PM

    Hi Kit. This was such a beautiful post. Continue to use your writing skills, and put more out there for us to read. This was very enjoyable. God bless you.

  • Sharon Thornburgh Coleman  February 25, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    Dear Kitt- This is a beautiful, engrossing piece! As I read it – it was like seeing a movie- so vivid! You must write more. I think it’s your forte. I have many wonderful memories of your Mom. And my mother and I often speak of her. We miss her too.
    I have all the letters she wrote to my mother through the years and many times I pull them out to read. My way of staying connected and keeping her spirit alive. She was so insightful, philosophical. Ahead of her time in many ways. Many are her personal thoughts or about things that were going on at the time- Some are feelings I am sure she only shared with Mom- for she and Mom had a deep trust and bond of friendship. I cherish these letters and maybe someday our paths will cross and we can “one day sit on the porch in rocking. chairs and reminisce “( your words) from the last time we saw each other in NY. I hope this finds you well. Keep up all the good work you are doing- She is smiling with pride at all your efforts. Best Regards Sharon

  • Mario  February 26, 2015 at 12:13 AM

    You are a terrific writer, Kitt. Thank you for putting us in that room with you and sharing your lovely mom with us. It is so wonderful of you to continue sharing her with us strangers who will also treasure her forever.

  • Joseph  February 26, 2015 at 6:39 PM

    Thank you Kitt for sharing such intimacy between yourself and your mother. You Do have a gift. Never forget that. I met your mother many years ago in Hong Kong. She made me feel like I was the only one in the room. Her strength and spirit have touched so many personally without her or you even knowing it. What a rare jewel she was and always will be. You Do have a gift Kitt. Never forget that.

  • Victor Kral  February 27, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    I have so many memories of Eartha. From Peter and Eartha working in the yard pulling weeds ( Mae ). and an hour later lying on the dining room floor, trying out a new song, ( Kitt ) “Stop the Clock,” given to her from the songwriter of Hawaii 5-0, to see if she wanted to do it. this is where Peter introduced her to our salsa and chip recipe, which was then later sent to her all over the country. Such an education and such fun!


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