"HELLOOO, THIS IS BOCA RATON CAWLING," sang the Long-Island-accented voice on the other end of my phone. "DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS?!"
Yvette Manessis Corporon: Since I don't have a Florida-livin' Jewish grandma of my own, I knew instantly who that distinctive voice belonged to: my new friend (and surrogate bubbie) Gloria Kamen ... a.k.a. Jill Zarin's mom.
Anyone who watches "The Real Housewives ofNew York City" knows that Gloria isn't shy about dishing the dirt or doling out advice. I knew this was going to be one rockin' interview when I asked her, "What rocks about being a mom?" and she shrieked, "How the hell am I supposed to know?! A rocking chair rocks. They go back and forth. I don't rock."
Oh yes you do, Gloria. This mom rocks for her candor, charm and no-nonsense approach to parenting. When it comes to the secrets of parenting success, Gloria's more than happy to share. "Mothers remind me of a tree," she says. "They bend with the wind, and when the branches are off, they are able to take the snow in the terrible weather 'cause they don't have the leaves nature provides for cover. If you cannot bend and go with the flow, you will be rigid and not survive. If you don't bend and adapt, you will not flourish."
But perhaps the most insightful piece of advice was yet to come. "You know what?" she continues. "Sh*t happens -- you need to adapt!" Not only does Gloria rock -- she rules!
As for the drama between Gloria's daughter, Jill Zarin, and her former bff, Bethenny Frankel, the Boca bubbie is taking the high road on their highly publicized feud. "Listen," she says. "I'm not going there, 'cause that's a private thing." Even so, Gloria does wish Bethenny nothing but the best. "A healthy child, I wish for her -- get married and be happy," she says. "Other than that, I won't talk about them. Whatever it is between the two of them, it is between the two of them."
When it comes to the other "Housewives," Gloria wants you all to know that what you see on reality TV isn't always the real story. "Kelly -- she's not mean," says Gloria. "There's something very nice about her; I sense a niceness about her, and that to me is very, very important." As for the others ... well, not so much. "I don't find 'nice' in all the girls," says Gloria, "but I'm not gonna name names."
What she will do is be brutally honest ... like it or not. "I'm very direct," she says. "I am not a manipulator, and I don't lie. If you ask me, 'Do I look good?' and you don't, I will tell you. But if I tell you you look good -- you damn well look good!"
Gloria, you're looking GREAT to us!
Can't get enough of Gloria? Well, neither can we. You can read more of her musings about motherhood in her book, "Secrets of a Jewish Mother" -- cowritten with her daughters, Jill and Lisa.
|Yvette Manessis Corporon is an Emmy award-winning writer and producer. She is also the coauthor of "Peeing in Peace: Tales and Tips for Type A Moms." Yvette lives in New York with her husband and two children.|