Author: Heather Graham

Grief and Gratitude: Knowing Nannie Was Worth the Pain of Losing Her

In early 2007, we sat around my Aunt Mary’s dining room table talking about ways we could celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. Nannie was turning 80, and though she referred to her contemporaries around town as “the old folks,” she in no way considered herself one of them. She’d still have been driving (like a bat outta hell) if her last hip surgery for a degenerative condition hadn’t significantly weakened her pedal-pushing leg. Las Vegas came up. We sipped coffee—my aunt, my mom, my cousin Erica, Nannie and I—as we imagined a glitzy adventure littered with Elvis impersonators, convertible Caddies, big winnings, free booze and overflowing buffets. We envisioned ourselves road-tripping cross-country to party in Vegas. The things we’d do, the people we’d meet. It was even suggested that Wilhelmina might come out of retirement—Wilhelmina being my grandmother’s vagina. Come November, just 45 days before anyone could assess the fire hazard of shoving 80 candles on a cake, my grandmother left this life. That night, I laid down in her bed and slept for close to 24 …

tuenight prince caroline edgar

Prince Gave Me a Condition of the Heart

In the mid-‘80s, when I’d get home from school, my parents were still at work. Sometimes I’d eat cereal and watch TV or get on the phone with friends. But very often I’d pull out Prince’s 1999 and play “D.M.S.R.” on the family turntable and dance across the dark brown wall-to-wall carpet in my living room, using the staircase landing as a stage. I gave Purple Rain its due, too. I mean, it was the ‘80s; who didn’t? But “D.M.S.R.” was my jam, and I played it over and over and one more time after that. I only danced in my living room when I was alone, not because I was shy — I love dancing, and I’m good at it — but because it was like a meditation that I didn’t know I was doing. It was me creating a space where I could be my authentic self and let it all out, long before I could put words to what I was doing. My parents were music lovers who bought records all the time, …

Women Who Inspire: Hoda Kotb

                  NAME: Hoda Kotb AGE: 49 OCCUPATION: NBC’s TODAY show co-host WHO SHE IS: Hoda Kotb is a funny and charming co-host, one who sings to her favorite songs and talks about the pitfalls of dating in New York City. She’s also been a globetrotting journalist, as well as a Dateline correspondent since 1998. Kotb has reported from war zones, covered the year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans and, led by rebel fighters, snuck into Burma to get the full story on 12-year-old twin warriors said to have magical powers. She is a four-time Emmy nominee, has won an Edward R. Murrow Award, a Peabody, a Gracie Award (among others), and is a New York Times bestselling author. WHY SHE INSPIRES IN ME: It’s not just her accomplishments, it’s how Kotb started out in the business. The Virginia Tech graduate went on an interview at a local TV station in Richmond, was turned down, but given a lead in another market where the same thing happened. Kotb found herself …