Saturday, August 14, 2010

Remembering Leila Ferioli

I would see Leila Ferioli all the time in my travels around the neighborhood. She was one of the first people to whom I gave a gold star, whose eyes lit up at the idea of it, who wore it proudly.

We would most often stop to chat, about boxing, about getting projects started, about life. She would always say something nice. "Look at you..." she'd say, eying a dress or shoes I was wearing. We talked often about fashion. She was, she told me, starting a t-shirt company.

One day, not too long ago, I came out of the house all dressed up, nowhere in particular to go except to get a cup of coffee, to visit my friends at Naidre's, to ponder my many projects before picking up the kids. I ran into Leila and she admired the outfit. I can hear her voice now, impressed. "Look at you!" she said. "Where are you going?"

I laughed. "Um, nowhere," I said. "But sometimes you've got to look good to feel good..."

She nodded knowingly. "You gotta fake it to make it..." she said.

"Too true," I said. We laughed.

I thought of this the other day and began to smile, then remembered with sadness that Leila is gone. She passed away recently, a great heartache to her friends and to the Park Slope community in which she was an active part, moving through with a smile and a kind word for everyone.

I've been talking to Leila's friend Bill at Parco, who has taken her dogs and is tirelessly helping with the sad work of putting together a funeral, of celebrating a life well lived, well appreciated by so many. The service, in Brooklyn Heights today, will doubtless reflect the many zealously-lived moments of Leila's time here on earth. May she rest in peace.

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