Bragging Rights

Hundreds turned out at the Katonah Museum (KMA) last weekend to salute three of the museum’s stalwarts, among them Betty Himmel of Purchase, an ArtsWestchester board member who was instrumental in guiding and expanding the Katonah Museum of Art, first volunteering in 1968 and later becoming Board President in 1976, and again in 1991. She and the other honorees, Inge Brouard Brown of Katonah and Amanda Alfieri of Waccabuc, nurtured the museum that has flowered into one of our county’s cultural jewels.

Listening to the praise heaped on the three women, I remembered meeting Betty’s mother some fifteen years ago.  Betty and I had decided our aging mothers should meet, so we planned an intimate lunch in Betty’s (at the time) Chappaqua kitchen. The idea was to introduce two learned ladies – both in their nineties, both leaders in their day, both well versed in art, music, literature and world affairs – and give them the opportunity to share their life perspectives with each other.

So what did they talk about? You guessed it…they talked about their daughters. Our mothers digressed into a friendly “can you top this?” rivalry as to whose daughter was most accomplished. Over the years, Betty and I have chuckled over this moment. Last Saturday night, listening to the praise and adulation, the sincere and overwhelming appreciation from every corner of Westchester, I concluded that Betty’s mother was right. Betty was the most accomplished one. The beauty in that memory for the both of us, however, was understanding how important it is for young girls growing up to have mothers who believe strongly in their abilities. So, please brag about your daughters…as much as your sons.

Photo: KMA honorees Betty Himmel of Purchase, Inge Brouard Brown of Katonah, and Amanda Alfieri of Waccabuc. (photo by Leslye Smith)

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