Icons. You know them – the larger than life, the unforgettable…like Tom Petty and Snow White’s evil stepmother with the awesome outfit….Marilyn Monroe and Ben and Jerry of ice cream epicness…..but locally, we have icons. I have always said if I wrote a book it would be the 12 most interesting people in the ‘brook. There are more than 12 but you know what I mean.
So today, in the spirit of interesting, eccentricness (I made that word up) and icon-ness, I give to you, my interview with the outlandishly outstanding, brazen, bad ass Denise Corbett. I had the pleasure of sitting down with her and subjecting myself to her intense focus, poker face, yet raised eyebrows as she saucily muttered, “Really Dorn?” But first, a little history. Denise and I met 15 years ago, approximately, when we super volunteered on many committees together. From PTO’s, to little league to Bunco, we’ve been sidekicks for a looonnng time.. Pour yourself a cuppa coffee and read on…..
The Mermaid (me): “Recently your oldest went off to MMA and you and Harry decided to downsize since there were only three of you….so you bought a house pretty much triple the size of your old one. Why?”
D-Girl (my gang nickname for her): “Well, Hal sold our house on For Sale by Owner by himself without any real thought in mind as to where we were going. No contingency plan. Our old house sold in 5 days. We looked at everything from the Hamlet to Presidential, and then this house came on the market and we were in it for one second and said “We must buy this house.” “This is a friendly house so I thought, maybe this will make me a friendlier person….it’s a welcoming house.” And yes, if you were wondering…there is a Bunco reunion in the plans.
Me again: “Your mother, known city wide as The Nana, was a huge force in your life. She was also from England, I’m sure a fact that escaped many despite her accent – she was an influential woman in your life. What single lesson sticks out in your mind of what she may have taught or demonstrated to you?”
Denise: “Loyalty. My mom was loyal to a fault.” What does that mean? “She was almost the reverse of loyalty…she would bar her most favorite things, people, places if someone did something to someone she loved. That’s it, you were done, no matter how much she loved you.” “I think I am a pretty loyal friend, loyal to this town, to the schools, to my work. I think loyalty is important.”
Me: “You and Harry started dating when you were 12 or something like that. Obviously he is the love of your life because you have been with him most of it. Besides his fashion sense (Hollister velour red sweatsuit witnessed by me in 2009)…what is it about him that hasn’t made you drive over his teenage boy Nike’d foot?”
Denise: “We stayed together because I was afraid my mother would get mad at me,” she said with that beautiful smile of hers. “I’ve often wanted to kill him but didn’t want to upset the apple cart.” Best trait of Harry’s – “Patience. I am most likely the most difficult person in the world. I am super demanding and literally have no patience outside of my kids.” “He’s no peach, he is super nice, he is patient and he is not the easiest person to take care of. But he takes care of me. I would literally sit on the couch until May with the snow all around, but he shovels me out.” “I saw my mother struggle without a husband so sometimes I tend to be independent, but really I rely on him.”
Me: ” You have a really big presence. Your heart is huge, your aura encompasses whatever space you are in. You are authentically you. And you are outspoken. What is it today that you are most involved in? Most passionate about? And have you ever beaten anyone up or does it just feel like that sometimes when witnessing your wrath?”
D-Girl: “Yes to beat up and I have beaten someone up. I don’t recommend either.” “I am hyper focused on my kids right now because they are leaving. You want to pat yourself on the back and the other part of you is saying “don’t go- come back”. When asked about her incredible daughter Avery (aka Sister) and her success as a strong field hockey player this season she noted Avery could do anything and she would be proud…”Summer flew by. Andy graduated, we sold a house, moved and Avery went to many camps for field hockey. She is passionate about it. Andy went to MMA, we dropped him off and I was sobbing – he was fine.”
Me: “Finally, you have a close group of friends….from high school buddies, your drinking buddy before 11am on a weekday at Stockhouse….your workfriends, the Bunco chicks…and then there’s Karla, aka Bambi….she really took flight in a good way when Kaleb went to college – fly fishing, hiking, maybe she tried her first sip of wine, she grew her bangs a quarter of an inch longer…anyhow, you seem to have lasting, genuine relationships with women, including your daughter Sister. Friends are your family. What do you get from friendships that make them stick and what do you look for in friends – do you just recognize the kindred piece from the get go?”
Denise: “Yes I recognize kindred from the get go. I am the only child of a single mother…from another country. If I didn’t make my friends my family, I wouldn’t have family. And people return that to me.” “I referred to myself as an orphan because both of my parents passed away but then I found out I had a sister. She found me on facebook and I thought…”Oh hell this kills my orphan joke…” I asked Denise if she met her. “I did and I’ve visited her a few times. At first I was afraid of a sibling coming out of the woodwork….I thought maybe the most toxic infested human being who wanted child support, but no, she is really smart and nice.” “I do try to take good care of my friendships and those people take good care of me….like when Hal is at Rite Aid on my birthday….shopping for my gift.”
Random yes or no’s:
Do you watch the Gilmore Girls? Yes. Emily Gilmore is my favorite character.
Who is your favorite band because all we see is Harry at metal concerts with Post and Harnois…on facebook: Right now the Lumineers and Taylor Swift.
What do you love most about the ‘brook? So many memories, since 1985, good and bad.
Hate the most? How intolerant some people have become, it’s not unique to here, but it impacts me because it’s home.
Favorite place to eat? My house.
Favorite swear word: The F word. Always. For fuck’s sake.
Denise, as always, time with you is time well spent. Thank you for being so open and wonderful.