I know we’ve only just met her, but I felt an instant connection with Don’s new secretary, Miss Blankenship. You see, between her poufy hair, cats-eye glasses and Brooklyn accent, she is the reincarnation of my late, lovely, wonderful neighbor, Florence. “Flo” was a Brooklyn girl, saucy and strong, and a great friend to my mother, Anna, for nearly fifty years before her all too soon passing in 2008. When my Mom and Dad moved into their upstate neighborhood in 1958, Anna became friends with her new next-door neighbors almost instantly, and especially Flo, as they were both nice Italian girls whose grandparents had emigrated here from the big boot. Flo and Anna were both raising big catholic families, and I always thought of them as the Betty and Wilma of our neighborhood. As their beloved husbands toiled at their jobs all day, Flo and Anna kept their kids in line, often watching out for each other’s kids. She never forgot her beloved NYC, and was heartbroken on 9/11 as she watched the events unfold on the news. And despite living in upstate NY for over ½ a century and being married to a sweet New Englander, Flo never lost her strong Brooklyn accent, and I always enjoyed hearing it.
This brings me to the divine Miss Blankenship. From the second she called “RAA-JUH! He’s here!” It was Flo reincarnated (albeit grey instead of black hair and Flo was much prettier!) I could hear Flo her calling her sons into dinner; “Jaaaahn! Baaahb! Pinkee! Brooksie!!!” Speaking of dinner, Flo made the meanest pot of pasta fajouli this side of Rome, I can still smell it! I cannot wait to see more of Miss Blankenship in coming episodes, and see how she messes up Don’s life, but more importantly, I look forward just having that little sense of Flo’s spirit whenever she calls Don’s name! I’m sure Flo would love her! And I do too.