I do Pity Freddie…

But am appreciative of the nuggets of wisdom that popped to my mind after I read the story of Freddie, Mrs. Bourne and Heidi.  Surprisingly enough, you can always find  reminders of life lessons in all walks of life.  They don’t have to be something that has affected you, per se, but something you heard on the news, or read on the internet…and this can even be something that you have found Hysterically Funny, yet Tragic, all at the same time.  If you are scratching your head as to what I’m actually blogging about…it’s this little email that was sent from Carolyn Bourne, future mother-in-law to bride-to-be , Heidi Withers, in response to what Mrs. Bourne felt were poor manners exhibited by Ms. Withers.  In short…Mrs. Bourne thought Heidi was rude, inconsiderate, planning a wedding above her means (or her parent’s means), and dare I say, “boasting” about her condition of diabetes.  Talk  about poor manners!  And I’m speaking of the mother-in-law.  

This is the email that Mrs. Bourne sent: (I’ve highlighted the parts that I find the Most entertaining)…I do not have to do much commentary, as this email speaks a thousand words (or insults, as the case may be).

It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you.

It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so.

Your behaviour on your visit to Devon during April was staggering in its uncouthness and lack of grace.

Unfortunately, this was not the first example of bad manners I have experienced from you.

If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste.

There are plenty of finishing schools around. You would be an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series.

Please, for your own good, for Freddie’s sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.

Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:

When you are a guest in another’s house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat – unless you are positively allergic to something.

You do not remark that you do not have enough food.

You do not start before everyone else.

You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.

When a guest in another’s house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early – you fall in line with house norms.

You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.

I have no idea whether you wrote to thank [your future sister-in-law] for the weekend but you should have hand-written a card to her.

You should have hand-written a card to me. You have never written to thank me when you have stayed at Houndspool.

[Your future sister-in-law] has quite the most exquisite manners of anyone I have ever come across. You would do well to follow her example.

You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.

It is tragic that you have diabetes. However, you aren’t the only young person in the world who is a diabetic.

I know quite a few young people who have this condition, one of whom is getting married in June. I have never heard her discuss her condition.

She quietly gets on with it. She doesn’t like being diabetic. Who would? You do not need to regale everyone with the details of your condition or use it as an excuse to draw attention to yourself. It is vulgar.

As a diabetic of long standing you must be acutely aware of the need to prepare yourself for extraordinary eventualities, the walk to Mothecombe beach being an example.

You are experienced enough to have prepared yourself appropriately.

No-one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.

I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters’ marriages.)

If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.

One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man. I pity Freddie.


Where does one begin to comment on this email?  Now the most obvious would be to say “I also pity Freddie”…but for other reasons.  I’m pretty sure that line will also become viral, so I’ll just assume that will be a given.  Plus, I’ve bought the copyrights to” I Pity Freddie” T-Shirts (kidding, but not a half bad idea).   I truly could have a field day commenting on every portion of this email, and I have to say, if Heidi did, indeed, do all the things she’s being accused of, Mrs. Bourne has a point.  But, to put it in an email, showed poor form…and in turn, it also was highly inappropriate for Heidi to send it to her friends, who helped make this go Viral.  Big time.  The castle comment, I have to admit, is Hilarious.  (And here I thought I was living high off the hog getting married in the penthouse ballroom of the hotel in which I worked).  The comment that the parent’s should have been saving all their lives for their daughter’s wedding is delusional…Yet…her comment about having a wedding within your means is Right on!  And the piece de resistance, I pity Freddie…is going to become the next, “nobody puts baby in the corner”.  Yeah, I think I’m gonna have to do those t-shirts!

Here is a picture of Heidi and Freddie…clearly in happier times:

And in happier times (or perhaps not), Mrs. Bourne:

All this being said, what I feel rings true in this story, is the fact that Anything you put in writing, be it a text, email, or letter…can be forwarded without your knowledge or consent.  I’m sure Mrs. Bourne would never have put this in writing, had she realized she was going to become the next Imelda Marcos of late-night humor and blogger fodder.  One of my All-Time favorite people and former boss, Dave (will not use his last name, so when he Googles his name, this little blog doesn’t appear), once told me, and it’s one the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received, “Don’t do or put in writing,  anything that you do Not want splashed over the front pages of a newspaper”.    And I believe Mrs. Bourne wishes she had received that advice from Dave, when I did in 1999.

Life is short.  Make good choices.




  1. Whoah, where’d you get this? Have I been under a rock (or in MN on vacation) and not heard this juicy tidbit? This sounds like something from 1875….not 2011? Great reminder to make careful choices Terry. Happy 5th of July!

  2. Hey there Terry! Love the blog! So fun –

    You know, it’s interesting – these two women are at profound odds w/ each other. This is the nuclear option, no doubt. I do love Mrs. Bourne’s use of the word “uncouth.” And the comment “you draw attention to yourself, ask yourself why” That’s brilliant. I did love the castle quote too. All the same – you’re right, in the parlance of Mrs. Bourne, executed in dangerous haste. Mrs. Bourne is not thinking of Freddie, her relationship w/ Freddie and what these words will do to Heidi and Freddie. Ugh!

  3. Finally had time to read this blog. Unbelievable!! Your critiques (and Mrs. Bourne’s castle comment) are right on. Someone should send an email to Mrs. Bourne on the proper way to totally end her relationship with her son. I am sure that Emily Post would suggest a hand written note to just tell Freddie that she never wanted to see him again, as that is what will probably happen here. Would love to get an update on this family a year from now!

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