Coffee at the Kitchen Table: A Mad Men Inspiration by Patricia Ann McNair

From a morning’s journal while in Paris recently. Not about what you might think. Thank you, Chicago Literati, for publishing.

Chicago Literati

Two weeks in Paris, Philip and I. Him, teaching. Me…well, nothing really. Keeping house. Grocery shopping. Dinner. Playing Betty to Philip’s Don Draper. Our own little episode of Mad Men, only Mad Men in Paris. Up in my robe and slippers making coffee, toast and juice (but no eggs, let’s not get crazy; I don’t cook.) Kiss him at the door and push it closed and then turn back to the empty flat.

I sit at the kitchen table and stare at nothing. If I were Betty, I’d be smoking. Like Betty, I am drinking coffee. When I was a kid in the 60s, the 70s, a lot of moms I knew were Bettys. Sitting, drinking coffee, smoking, staring.

At a friend’s house (Alice Dyer, name changed, obviously) on a summer afternoon and there is Mrs. Dyer at the table. Did she smoke? I can’t recall. I think not…

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7 Replies to “Coffee at the Kitchen Table: A Mad Men Inspiration by Patricia Ann McNair”

  1. Very interesting piece of memoir and reflection… and a whole other world from my own… though I do recall living in Yemen for two years as a small child and we would give all our dirty clothes to a man whose skin was black and whose teeth were a bright and dazzling white and he wore a watch with a shiny bracelet strap. He was fond of us, as we were of him. He brought the clothes back all clean and pressed flat and neat. And one day he offered my dad ten camels for my mum. And dad always after said that he might have traded if Ali had offered eleven camels… but we never believed dad when he said that.

    Thanks for sharing this, Patty. Nice piece.

    1. Thanks, Lindsay. Yes, I would say quite a different beginning for us. So much so, that when I read your line about the camels, I first thought you meant the cigarette! Thanks for reading and responding, friend.

      1. Actually, if it had been ten Camel cigarettes, Ali might have had a swift trade; but it was the humped and hairy and spitting teeth kind of camels… a bit more difficult to smuggle through customs back to Britain at the end of our tour there.

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