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If You Want to Know Anything About Me

©Brenda Coffee.  All rights reserved.

If you want to know anything about me, check the address book on my computer.  It is a chronicle of where I’ve been and how I’ve used, or misused, my time.  There are listings for my special friends like Lee, Mignon, Mary Jane and Gayle.  Not a week goes by I don’t talk with one of them; they send me a card, or we get together for lunch.  

I have phone numbers for the curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art; Ron, a guy on Rodeo Drive, who fixes locks on Porsche briefcases and my friend, Nick, an expert on Lalique for Antiques Roadshow.  Then there’s “Patricia,” someone I try and avoid.  Her physician husband is a sex addict who claims the only reason he takes exotic dancers to motel rooms is to talk.  Patricia, who is equally unhealthy, believes him and begs him to let her sit in the corner and watch.  She thinks she can learn to duplicate the characteristics he finds appealing about these women.

I have phone numbers for animal shelters in San Antonio, Converse and Seguin and a page devoted to CAMPS—my term for dog kennels.  When I’m out of town, I prefer to think Sam and Goldie are at camp, learning to fetch, play Frisbee and getting along with the other campers.  There’s Cecil, who used to drive funny cars, but now is lucky if he can maneuver his walker; and my friend, Peyton, who has a yacht with “his” and “hers” helicopters.  

There are instructions for how to “zap my pram,” the name of the surgeon who allegedly did liposuction on Suzanne Sommers’ thighs ; the general information number for the Library of Congress and a recipe for Shirley’s chocolate pie.  I have the phone number of a Harlem Globetrotter, a mass transit expert in Washington, D.C. and a drag queen named Amber.  The last time I saw “her,” she was wearing only feathers in strategic locations and looking forward to the final phase of her sex change operation.

Then there’s the woman who is compelled to spell her words, as in “I am H-A-P-P-Y,” and her husband, who can’t resist dressing like Captain Stubbing on the Love Boat: white shirt, white shorts, white knee socks and white shoes.  I once lost my hearing during a weekend at their home.  I seem to remember we drank way too much Champaign in-between moonlight dips in their pink-tiled swimming pool.  

I have the phone number of someone who answers questions “free of charge” for a living.  I wonder if he knows what James would like for dinner?  I have phone numbers and personal details about people I don’t remember like Angus, who raced motocross bikes and married Karen; a cameraman named John, dash, dash, the hunk–he couldn’t have been too hunky since I can’t remember what he looked like; someone named Anna Banana, and Sandra and her dog, Gertie.

If you’re going to San Francisco, I can put you in touch with Shirley, who will enlighten your spiritual side, feed you a seven-course Chinese meal and give you a tour of Chinatown.  Or, if you’re in Beverly Hills and want to spend an entertaining afternoon, I can give you the number of a plastic surgeon, whose outer office is worth the price of a consultation, and is lined with young women with gold fish lips and old women in wheelchairs, wearing their granddaughter’s face and short shorts.  If you need a bodyguard, there’s Monty, or Richard, the sniper on the SWAT squad, or the Sheriff who loaned me his shotgun when the boyfriend from Hell went crazy.

I have phone numbers for old friends, like Jack, who designed Skylab and taught me how to watercolor, or Rich, who designed the electronic tracking devices for Bill Gate’s house; Paul, who brought us dinner after my chemotherapies, and David, who builds secret black boxes for the government and has seven different phone numbers that frequently change.  I think he’s been working on being covert for way too long.  I have the paint colors for every wall I’ve ever painted, a hotel I’d like to stay at in Tuscany and the plastic surgeon who did Ivana Trump’s 1989 facelift.

There’s a list of the best flea markets in France and Italy and the amount of property taxes I’ve paid since 1989.  I have a number for a sleep disorder clinic in Manhattan; a woman who designs and makes Rhinestone outfits for country western stars, and Don, who gave me my first professional job on a Gulf Oil commercial.  Then there’s Dr Dan, a ski instructor in Snowmass; a vet in Austin who specializes in hip replacement surgery for dogs; and Gloria Steinem’s address—no phone number.  

I have a phone number for an English teacher in Saudia Arabia and my former yardman, whose late wife set herself on fire and whose new wife is special assistant to a local plastic surgeon.  Most of these numbers I haven’t called in decades, but with my seemingly obsessive compulsion for plastic surgeons, I’m hoping one of them is good at boob jobs.