For about 8 years, Phyllis Diller had hosted an annual “Dustbiter luncheon” at her home. It began with a party that Sandy Beach (really), the secretary who replaced me, gave to celebrate Phyllis’s birthday back in 2003 or 04 — I can’t remember exactly. Phyllis had so much fun with the 6 of us that she decided to have a reunion at her house every year after that.
It started out as a birthday party, but Phyllis didn’t like the idea of everyone bringing her presents, so she changed it to the third Sunday in August and that’s when the handful of us gathered at her mansion every year until this last reunion in 2011.
In this picture, Phyllis is 94 years old and dang if she doesn’t look better than I do! (Let’s hear it for plastic surgery.) Part of it, I’m sure, was Phyllis’s constant drive to be better, do more and to stay active. They say attitude determines much of how you live and she had a winner’s attitude for sure.
And that necklace I’m wearing — it’s an antique that my friend Suzy found for me. It’s a goldstone cat with a red gem of some sort for an eye. Phyllis loved it and would have loved to have it for her own. She had an eye for beautiful and unusual things. Much like my friend, Suzy. The difference is, Phyllis could actually afford them!
So this is the last picture of Phyllis and me. I saw her three months later in Chicago when she was on the Rosie O’Donnell show and the producers flew four of her “Dustbiters” in to surprise her. It was a great time and a wonderful memory.
Phyllis lived her life right up to the very end. Way to go, Phyllis!