Springtime in Mendon was the setting for “Springtime in Paris” last week. Please allow us to explain. We were honored to be guests at a charity fundraising event which was a collaborative effort of two of our good friends who we consider to be the Matriarchs of Mendon. These two women are Mary Therese Friel, former Miss USA and owner of the Mary Therese Friel Modeling Agency and Hilary Stott, owner of Mendon 64 and the Cottage Hotel.

Here’s how we got involved. About a week before the event, we were contacted by Mary Therese and informed that a couple of tickets had become available to her sold out “Springtime in Paris” event and she felt if any couple could most add to the gaiety, it would certainly be us. We were honored by the invite to “enjoy this most magical evening of fantasy, fashion and flavor sensations!”
The whole experience was intriguing because it was unlike anything we had ever done before. Mendon 64 was accented with a springtime Parisienne theme with Chef Debbie Santillo adopting the persona of a French mistress of ceremonies. Debbie entertained the crowd with stories and jokes, as well as an interactive crepe-making lesson, while sharing mouth-watering details of the delicious four course French cuisine to which the guests were being treated.

The fashion show component consisted of 30 models from the Friel Agency, ranging in age from 6 – 60, modeling fashions available from the wonderful clothiers Chandeliers Boutique, Chico’s Pittsford and Second Bloom. The modeling was divided into four flights of 15 models each, one flight taking place in-between each of the meal’s four courses. We probably don’t have to do the math for you on this one, but each model got to make two appearances in the fashion show.

Here’s the best news about this event for Smitty. The next time he is at one of his macho, testosterone-driven U of R soccer or fraternity reunions and a former teammate or frat brother pontificates some boastful accomplishment from the past year like, “I climbed Mt. Everest for the first time,” Smitty will be armed, dangerous, and ready with a rapid retort of, “I went to my first fashion show.” Touché.

Most of the models and most of the guests were not local but we do have one small town Mendon story we’d like to share with you. The only friend we ran into that we didn’t already know was going to be there was Roz Clanton, the gal who drives the Mendon U.S. Mail truck. Actually we have become quite close with Roz because we operate an online memorabilia business necessitating package exchanges with her on an almost daily basis.

Why was Roz there? It turns out her beautiful 14-year-old daughter Paris, who is a freshman at Gates-Chili, was modeling in the event. We got to meet her after the show and tell her how great we think her Mom is. And of course an irony in Roz’s daughter’s name allows for more fun wordplay on the title of the event. In her daughter’s case, it was “Paris in Paris”.

It all made for a wonderful evening. The best part was that in addition to the magical evening of fantasy, fashion and flavor sensations, a thousand dollars was raised to benefit a local food cupboard. God bless those Matriarchs of Mendon!


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