“Be the change you wish to see in the world”-Eleanor Roosevelt
There are life events that change us forever.
Using all of her inner resources, Margie Bijou was able to transform heart wrenching grief into a positive energy that has added to the joy and glamour of hundreds of weddings and Bar-Mitzvahs.
In her own words, this is Margie’s story:
Chapter One: Ezra Abraham:
“My Mom called me one day and told me that my 16 year old cousin Eddie was going in for a biopsy of a cyst on his knee. It wasn’t a big deal but she was just wanted to make me aware. (Ironically on ER that week, there was a girl who was a soccer star who came into the ER with a sprained knee and walked out with an amputation due to a tumor in her lower leg.) So I told my mom that she shouldn’t ever assume anything.I repeated the epsiode details and she shouted some line in arabic which meant “HOW DARE YOU EVEN BREATHE such negativity!!!!!!!
I still remember the email my dad had printed for us that told us Eddie had at the most 3 months to live. He was 16.
We weren’t the closest of cousins. My uncle had moved his family to New Jersey and as hard as it is to be close with my family that lives a block away, its is 4 billion times harder when they live in another state.
I only got to know Eddie because of his illness..
Chapter Two: Sherri
My cousin was having a Bar Mitzvah for her son and needed a hat to complete her outfit. Of course, none were to be found across the entire tri-state area, so I decided to search the net. I got hooked on Ebay and started buying every vintage hat that I could find. Federal Express showed up at my door every day for 2 months and the hat boxes started to stack up underneath the baby grand piano…..About 200 hats later I finally found something in the same vicinity of the green we needed. A veil arrived. I sewed it and made it to fit…..Ah finally the outfit was complete.
A week later I received a frantic phonecall from Sherri whose son’s bar-mitzvah was in three days. “Margie- my dog Othello jumped onto the dining room table and chewed my hat up into a thousand little pieces!!”
Two minutes later, Sherri showed up at my door with the chewed up remains of two months of searching hours online and a over a thousand dollars in useless old hats.
It was a catastrophe!!
The next day an idea popped into my head. I ran out and bought a green kippah and sewed it back together.I still remember sitting at the dining room table pushing the needle throught the suede and into my fingers…
After 4 hrs I had reconstructed it to what it looked like before (except for a few teeth marks).
Othello was sent to live with a very nice family in the country and Sherri looked like a supermodel!
About a year later I moved into a new house and the hats were packed into bins and stuffed into a closet way up on the 3rd floor.
Chapter Three: Fate
One week after mothers day in 2005 , my mothers only sister, my aunt Merle died of melanoma on her lung. She had been only just diagnosed 6 months before. That same October of that year, 2 days before Yom Kippur, my fathers mother, grandma Margie died.
Two days after that,my cousin Eddie succumbed to a 7 year battle with rhabdomyocarcessarcoma.
Not something you see every day. My uncle Irwin sat shiva for his mother and son in the same week.
What a crazy year.
These tragedies inspired me to want to make every day of my life meaningful and not to waste one moment of the precious time that we have.
When Eddie passed away, my Aunt Susan gave me his hats that he wore during his illness to add my collection. It was then that the idea to lend out the hats to raise money for his foundation came to me. He motivated me to want to give back to others.”
Chapter Four: Hats Off To Life
A room in my home has been converted into a “Hat Room” where many Jewish women of all ages try on gorgeous hats and have a great time till they find just the right one!
The majority of the women that come in, are ones I have never even met or seen before, yet we bond as we try on dozens of hats…of course they bring over their possible choices of outfits, shoes, and accessories, and together we assemble their beautiful look for their momentous day.
Through out the last few years I have accumulated many many stories some funny, some sad…and some just out of control! Some days I seriously feel like a bartender and and not only do I decorate ladie’s heads ,but I also listen to what’s in their hearts as well…
Our hats are part of a private collection that consists of mostly vintage dress hats.Many of the hats have also been donated by people that don’t have a need for them anymore.
People are sharing! Women are calling other women to borrow hats. Designers are calling me to donate their hats.
People are giving more than just money, they are giving of themselves.