Tom and Katy work their charm on you from the very first moment you meet them, only you don’t realize it until you are completely absorbed in the good vibe they fill the room with. They are young at heart, they look you in the eyes and tell stories about love, life, children and dating Jacuzzi’s son with the utmost relaxation and charm. Their life and work experience comes out as friendly pieces of advice, shared with a good heart and with sincerity. You can see they’re rich, but don’t throw it in your face.
From the lights and craziness of Los Angeles, to the dark and peace of Jackson Hole
When I asked them what they liked about Jackson, Katy mentioned the dark, the fact that you can see the stars and everything is within reach, not like in LA, were the city is always lit and there’s a never ending noise. Tom said: “Well, you also like the fact that you don’t have to drive around”, which she agreed with. They didn’t count in the fact that even a vase is amazingly expensive, their eyes just lit at the peace offered by the town and they lit even more when they showed us the beautiful view from their window.
Picture Tom and Katy as parents of four and grandparents of seven. They live in a “contel”, a pretty small apartment turned into a cozy, warm home. They keep family pictures in the living room, in the kitchen, they have a mug with the face of their grandaughter on it. Katy cooks in the small kitchen, but the dinner is served just like in the fanciest restaurant, with nice silverware and cloth napkins. One little detail is different: the warmth of their home, the mellow light that makes you feel at home, even though you’re visiting.
Sharing stories is as natural as breathing in their dining room, they don’t brag, they are storytellers. Words like Pasadena, private school, 3000 ft square house just pop up without making them seem snobs, because they are not. They don’t tell you about how rich they are, they share with you moments of their life that they place in space and time.
Love and marriage mix up with commitment for a higher common purpose and Katy openly admits she’s the happiest she has ever been. “It’s because of me”, Tom says. “Yes, it’s partly because of you, but also because I have passed the whole craziness and I am in this beautiful place – Jackson and I can just enjoy things.”
Dumping Jacuzzi’s son and being reminded of that for years
Having dinner with Tom and Katy is a journey: you start in Jackson, go to Eastern Europe, to Los Angeles and Hollywood, back to Jackson, visit Romania, go to China and annoy a fortune teller, only to come back to a nice dining room, were food is delicious, wine is loosening your tongue and chocolate cake satisfies your taste buds.
In all these imaginary trips, you find yourself in front of a school, were a 16-year-old rebelious girl has put up her hair, rolled up her skirt and painted her lips with white lipstick – all to annoy the nuns that ran the school. There she is, waiting for a ride and guess who shows up: a 21-year-old Jacuzzi, in one of his many cars, all bought with the money his father made when he invented the…, well, jacuzzi. Not only is the picture fun, it depicts a generation of creative young people, rebelious and joyous teenagers. “I dumped Jacuzzi because he wanted to do things I wasn’t ready for, and my mom sent me newspaper articles about him, his family and the million they made all her life”. The laugh that comes with this confession is purely contagious and you look at this lady and you can see her determination to do things right.
All this time, Tom watches his wife telling stories and you can see the maturity of the relationship, the harmony they enjoy together, you can feel how they blend in each other’s personalities. “I’m helpless”, he confesses when we turned the conversation to food and cooking. He sticks with his white wine and we, girls, drink red wine. Red, the color of passion.
Katy has a lot of passion in her being, age hasn’t tamed her or made her mellow or settled. She looks great, but the way she talks and how her eyes fill up with tears when she talks about her children reveal a passionate women, one that has overcome many obstacles and is now “putting back all that work”, focusing on grandchildren and family.
Love and marriage
When they talk about their relationship, Tom and Katy have the ability to take you back to when they met, when she played hard-to-get, when they teased each other like any other couple. It brings tears to your eyes to hear how she “got Tom and a 12-year-old son”, to make four sons, just like the Chinese fortune teller with the tired bird had told her. Oh, about that… He also told her she had no imagination, but I seriously doubt that after hearing their stories and seeing them reenacting their first dates and how she talked about her life. She told us that, for a marriage to work, both people involved had to have a higher comitmment than the one for each other and both had to work for that. Looking at them, I believe her.
Sitting across the table from me and Andreea, they asked about our lives, our goals, our country, our education, our family. I must say I could feel the connection between them and them and us. Two Romanian girls, one blonde, one brunette, both eager to tell and listen, sat across this couple eager to first listen and then tell – each with their stories, with their countries, journeys, dreams and families.