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November 14, 2023 44 mins

When Nicole Avant moved to the Caribbean to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Bahamas, she left behind her husband, her friends, and a life and job in which she was comfortable. But it was because of these new challenges that Avant turned to the guiding force that has, in her mind, entirely shaped the person she’s become: her family. Avant writes lovingly of her recently deceased parents in her new memoir, Think You’ll Be Happy—its title echoing the last words Avant's mother ever spoke to her. On this week's episode of Table for Two, the political activist and producer joins host Bruce Bozzi to further discuss the values imparted by her relatives, and the importance of always living in the present. 

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on Table for Two. Today.
We're back at the Tower Bar. So happy to see you.

Speaker 2 (00:14):
I'm so excited to be having lunch with an incredible
producer activists. Born and raised in Beverly Hills, served as
the US Ambassador to the Bahamas under President Barack Obama,
and her father, Clarence just happened to be chairman of
Motown Records.

Speaker 1 (00:32):
What would you like?

Speaker 3 (00:33):
I would just like eating.

Speaker 1 (00:35):
Oh you know we're eating. Yeah, we get menus.

Speaker 2 (00:37):
We Her just released memoir called Think You'll Be Happy,
moving through grief with grit, grace and gratitude about her
life and the loss of her mother. An incredible moving book.
And we're going deep so too.

Speaker 1 (00:55):
Chop with avocado perfect, that's.

Speaker 2 (01:04):
So Pull up a chair, poor, glass of rose, because
today we're having lunch with Nicole Avon. I'm Bruce Bossi
and this is my podcast Table for two. If you've
pulled up a chair today, I am sitting with the

(01:25):
beautiful Nicole Avant. Nicole has just written a memoir which
is so incredible.

Speaker 3 (01:31):
Thank you.

Speaker 1 (01:32):
The memoir is Think You'll Be Happy.

Speaker 2 (01:34):
It's a story of family, love, loss, celebration.

Speaker 3 (01:40):
It's so rich, Oh, I love that you got all
those points.

Speaker 2 (01:44):
Thank you with so much that will address So congratulations,
thank you, thank you.

Speaker 3 (01:49):
I appreciate you.

Speaker 4 (01:51):
You know, because grief is in the title, it's like, no,
it's a book about it.

Speaker 3 (01:55):
I think you'll be happy.

Speaker 4 (01:56):
It's about inspiration and I hope that people inspired.

Speaker 3 (02:00):
And encouraged, restored.

Speaker 4 (02:03):
Yes, and also a new renown so renowned passion for
American excellence and American progress and America. You know, just
love of country and service is what we do better
than anyone in the world. Now. Of course we're not perfect,
and everyone's like, oh, we have all these problems.

Speaker 3 (02:21):
Please tell me one country that does.

Speaker 2 (02:22):
Not write your book and your life and your journey,
in the journey of your parents and your family. This
book shares all that. Yeah, everything you just said it was.
You know, I'm writing things down not about grief. They're
about raising children. They're about community, like really good stuff. Nicole,
you grew up in Beverly Hills, and your references the

(02:43):
seventies the eighties, we are were the same, the.

Speaker 1 (02:46):
Best, you know.

Speaker 2 (02:47):
Could you talk to us just a little bit about
those years and you know what it was like to
grow up here in a world where because of the
nature of your mom and your dad, you were meeting
a lot of very successful people. Your dad was responsible
for a lot of people's success, and your mother and
father kept you and your.

Speaker 3 (03:07):
Brother very grounded.

Speaker 1 (03:09):
So talk to us about like your life, what was
it like?

Speaker 4 (03:12):
You know, it was so great because I every time
I still drive through Beverly Hills now, I just have
a huge smile on my face because the best memories,
the best people. It was a great city at the time,
still is, but at the time, in the seventies, at the.

Speaker 3 (03:26):
Time, it was magic, magic and it was community.

Speaker 4 (03:30):
And I remember seeing Jimmy start walking to church and
he was always dapper, always sometimes had a little hat on.
You know Ella Fitzgerald when you know, when she was
walking around the neighborhood. I mean, I just I told Ted,
I said, no she off of Sunset. You make it
right on Whittyer at her house was right there. It's
it's and our friends live in that house now, which
I love. And then just but at the time, like

(03:52):
I was saying, it was a community and it was
put this way.

Speaker 3 (03:55):
No children, none of us.

Speaker 4 (03:55):
Were on rodeo or drive with our parents. It was
a different time. Verdea was for the adult. There was
a different thing. But the schools were great and the
kids were great, and everyone at that time was focused
on community and service and you know, sports and this
and that.

Speaker 3 (04:11):
But we were walking everywhere.

Speaker 4 (04:12):
I mean now, I mean I remember my mom dropping
me off at the corner of Whittier and Wilsher to
take the bus to go to the beach, and then
she'd pick me up at the.

Speaker 3 (04:22):
Bus stop because she said, listen, yes, can I drive
you everywhere ashore? But you need to know how life works.

Speaker 4 (04:28):
So I'm not going to coddle you so much where
you're going to freak out when you're eighteen twenty twenty
three and not know how the world works. You're going
to be a little scared for a minute. And it's fine,
you know. And it was great if we all went
in packs and she'd drop us off in Westwood and
I have friends and I we talked about going to the.

Speaker 3 (04:46):
Avco or going to all the theaters in Westwood.

Speaker 4 (04:48):
They drop us off with the Arcade who leave us
for eight hours.

Speaker 1 (04:52):
It's funny. And I was thinking about that, you know,
and just.

Speaker 4 (04:56):
Carol O'Connor and all these people again at that time,
the they were at the top of their game, like
you said, really great friends with my parents.

Speaker 3 (05:04):
Caroline Nancy O'Connor were at my.

Speaker 4 (05:05):
House all the time, but they were there to talk
about neighbors of Watts.

Speaker 3 (05:10):
They were there serving with my mom in wants.

Speaker 4 (05:13):
And I think that the beauty of the way I
was able to grow up and what I had was
they were actually great people who happened to be famous,
versus famous people who are empty inside.

Speaker 3 (05:27):
I didn't get that.

Speaker 1 (05:28):
Right, you know.

Speaker 2 (05:30):
And I just want to really point out because I
don't know if everyone understands by your mom dropping you
off at the bus stop, which is a very in
Los Angeles, it was a big deal to teach you
that lesson because people don't take public transportation here if
you have cars and if your parents can, and so

(05:50):
she hurt like.

Speaker 1 (05:51):
That to me.

Speaker 3 (05:51):
She was a very on purpose woman. Yes, she really.

Speaker 4 (05:55):
In New York, she would have her driver and I'd say,
I'll be right there. She said, I'm not go take
the subway and then you'll meet me where we're going.
And I said, Mom, you have a driver. She said, yes,
but you need to know how to function. I need
you to learn how to function in life, and it's okay.

Speaker 1 (06:09):
So when you do fly, yes, and wow did you fly?
And what a career in life you've created for yourself.

Speaker 4 (06:15):
You know, I'm grateful that you know. Now I look back,
she used to this is what I love. I was
just a tomboy from the beginning. And I would skateboard
and i'd skateboard with all the guys. And she'd dropped
me off in Venice and then she leave me, and
then she'd come back and pick me up. And then
one day, right when I was going to go into
a skateboarding tournament, she said, you can't skate here anymore.

Speaker 3 (06:36):
And I said, why wait, I'm going to win this.

Speaker 4 (06:38):
She said, Nicole, it's getting dangerous and I'm actually not
being a responsible person by letting you come down here.
It's just not okay, even with some of the adults
looking out. It's changing.

Speaker 3 (06:48):
And it did.

Speaker 4 (06:49):
Venice used to be the best beating. Venice Beach was great,
the boardwalk was great. And so I'm just so grateful
that I didn't understand it when I was growing up,
and I didn't necessary really appreciated either. It's not of
as do mindsight as everything, and she I love the
fact that she was so on purpose about life and

(07:10):
about understanding people and different people and different situations and
the importance of making sure that I saw everyone in
everything so that it would change me as I was
a voter. Later, Yeah, of course, you have to be
around people that you're voting for other people.

Speaker 3 (07:29):
That's what she'd say. Most of the time, you're going
to be fine, but most of these people aren't.

Speaker 4 (07:33):
So when you vote, it can't just be about you
and your attacks, and it has to be about everybody.
Sometimes it might be a conservative vote, sometimes it might
be a progressive vote.

Speaker 3 (07:41):
You don't know which one.

Speaker 4 (07:42):
But I have to put you out in different situations
and hopefully you'll.

Speaker 3 (07:48):
Take the lesson.

Speaker 1 (07:59):
The book your story.

Speaker 2 (08:01):
Of course, you know, you lost your mom in a
horrific way, and she was a hero, even in that
moment in which I didn't realize until you wrote, you know,
like she could have said and screamed out for your father,
mister Yvonne, who I got to see because he would
come into the restaurant that I worked in for lunch.

Speaker 1 (08:19):
And it was always a big deal of it, and
you know, and pay respect.

Speaker 2 (08:23):
He was, you know, just always a little hard to
read because you know when he smiled at you, you
just knew it just warmed you. You talk about your mom,
you know, and I love this, you know, being genuine, feminine,
being a multitasker, an intuitive, a problem solve, an EmPATH,
a person who impresses, who inspires was one of my

(08:46):
mother's superpowers.

Speaker 1 (08:48):
Yeah, and she truly loved being alive.

Speaker 2 (08:51):
And I think that is just an incredible to be
raised by a woman that those are her superpowers.

Speaker 1 (08:59):
And what's It's really.

Speaker 2 (09:00):
Funny that you share or the time she had to
remind you so like tell us about like, which I
love like. And I even talked to Eva, my fifteen
year old, after I read this thing. When you didn't
get up after you making the T shirts in the eighties,
say goodbye, tell the lesson.

Speaker 3 (09:18):
She just it was so funny because I thought I
was having a great time and I was like, bye bye,
Anne a a good day.

Speaker 4 (09:25):
And I'm just sitting there making T shirts and putting
those little beads that we've done in bed As Beach,
and we'd cut the T shirts and make all these
we all wanted to be Cher and pat Atuitar and whatever.
So we're making the T shirts and her mom comes
together and she leaves, and it I didn't go to
the door.

Speaker 3 (09:43):
My mom always taught me to go to the door.
I figured, Okay, well I already say goodbye. My mom's
at the door. It's no big deal.

Speaker 4 (09:49):
Oh no, my mother is like pulled my ear and
I said, what is what? She said, You don't have
a friend who's leaving and her mother's at the door.
Get up and say goodbye. Someone is leaving your home.

Speaker 3 (10:02):
Yes, And I thought, oh god, you and your rules
and you're so proper. You said this.

Speaker 4 (10:06):
And now I look at her and I'm thinking, of
course she did, because you know, she'd always say to me,
everybody wants a great society, but everyone thinks that you
don't get a good society with bad manners.

Speaker 1 (10:17):
Exactly.

Speaker 3 (10:18):
You just don't. You think you do, you don't.

Speaker 2 (10:20):
And so when I said that to Ava in the
car yesterday, she was like, well, I mean times have
sort of changed.

Speaker 1 (10:26):
I go, No, that nothing's changed about that, you know.

Speaker 2 (10:31):
So when your friends leave, I go, I would appreciate,
you know, let me know that they're leaving, so I
could say goodbye to them, you know, And then you.

Speaker 1 (10:40):
Know, and this is another great.

Speaker 2 (10:43):
Quote, and she says and then she was like, okay,
like you know, and I said, because it's important to
acknowledge that, to say hello, to say goodbye. And I said, look,
I grew up saying mister or missus to all my parents'
friends and my friend's friends.

Speaker 1 (10:57):
Wasn't like, hey, no, I'm like no, So nico are
you're right? Which you know?

Speaker 2 (11:03):
So Nicole and I have this word douchebag that we love,
and we've once gone to a conversation years ago about
the douchebags that surround us, some of them you know,
and but you you talk about badass And I think
this is so great.

Speaker 1 (11:20):
So I'm going to read this again. I'm not sure
why we now.

Speaker 2 (11:23):
Often consider raising kids are running a household or supporting
our partner things. My mother excelled at and extolled the
virtues of negatives, which I agree that's the toughest job.
It's the toughest job some awful women being bad asses,
but there's a balance to be achieved. You're a badass
and you have a kid who's bullying other kids at school,
what does that say about you? Doesn't sound very badass.

(11:45):
To me, it's actually pretty pathetic. Do you want to
be the bad badass or do you want to raise
your kid to not be an asshole?

Speaker 1 (11:51):
That the badass should be icing, not the cake. I
love that MO was.

Speaker 4 (11:57):
In that love it because you know my my parents
this way.

Speaker 3 (12:04):
So there's a couple of things on that. One is
I do remember that day at the palm, that night
when we just.

Speaker 4 (12:09):
Because we were trying to figure out, we figured out.
We kept calling people all these saf why would they
do that? Why would they do this? Because we're all
so stuck on the why people do things? And I
think you and I really connected on this level of
some people just mean. Some people are mean.

Speaker 3 (12:25):
They are there's mean spirited people, period, end of story.
That just let's own that.

Speaker 4 (12:30):
You know, my mom used to say to me, good
people do good things, kind people do kind things. Thieves steel,
mean people are mean, you know, bullies, bully that. You
have words for these people and there's a decision that
they make.

Speaker 3 (12:43):
I think we're so focused on. I wonder what kind
of childhood they had.

Speaker 4 (12:47):
I wonder what I know so many people, as do you,
that have had the worst childhoods, that have every reason
to be mean, to be cold, to be distant, and
to harm, and they don't because they chose not to,
because they made a decision. And I wish, I hope
that we can all kind of shift the focus of

(13:09):
who is doing the right thing? Who are the people
who are working three jobs a day and nothing is
fair to them, and they're trying to put their kids
into good school and they're trying to do the right thing,
and society doesn't show up for them, government doesn't show
up for them, nothing, and they're still choosing to be good.
And I think that's why I loved how you just landed.
You're the one who said maybe some people were just

(13:30):
douche backs. I thought it was I knew I loved
you in that moment. I said, Oh, he's my friend forever.
And my mom, going back to that bullying part, she
would always say to me, the one time I knew
I was in trouble, perus no matter what. And I
never did it, but she said, if I ever find
out that you were hurting somebody on purpose, that's it. Yeah,

(13:52):
And I would say, what does that's it mean? What
does that mean?

Speaker 3 (13:55):
She said, Oh, you'll see, that's it because those are
not our values.

Speaker 4 (13:58):
You don't have to like everybody, you don't have to
be friends with everybody, but you do not have the
right to disrespect someone else's soul because you feel like it.

Speaker 3 (14:07):
You don't get to do that. I'm not raising you
that way.

Speaker 4 (14:10):
And she always wanted to be able to look in
the mirror and say, regardless of how Nicole and Alex
decide to behave in the world, I have to be
able to look at myself in the mirror and know
that I was committed to raising them the right way.

Speaker 3 (14:26):
Whether they choose to listen to me or not is
up to them.

Speaker 4 (14:29):
But she really was focused on I have to be
able to look at myself in the mirror and know
that I did my job, and my job is to
raise decent people who can go into society and be
civil and be good and serve others and do whatever
they want.

Speaker 3 (14:47):
But you can't be an asshole.

Speaker 1 (14:49):
No.

Speaker 4 (14:51):
She had no tolerance for anybody who was. I remember
one time I got punished in Washington, DC. We went
on a family trip and I didn't hold the door
open for the person behind me. I was just yak
yak yaking with my friends and my father looked at
me like as I had committed the worst crime, and
I said, what did you see?

Speaker 3 (15:11):
That person behind you?

Speaker 4 (15:12):
Go? Oh, Dad, I'm sorry. Okay, not a big deal.
And I said, mistakenly, dude, not a big deal. That
was a big mistake. Did you actually say dude?

Speaker 1 (15:21):
I said dude because.

Speaker 4 (15:21):
It was such a skateboarder and I would pick up
all this slang from the surfers and the skateboarders. And
my father said, what'd you call it? I said, Dad, whatever,
I'm sorry, and he said I said, I didn't do
it on purpose. He said, no, but you you have to.
You can't slip like that a lot. You can't, you,
you know. And I'm happy he gave me that habit
because I've of course done that as an adult where

(15:42):
I oh my god, I'm on the phone.

Speaker 3 (15:44):
And I did it a couple of years ago and
I ran after the woman. I go, she had a stroller,
a baby and a stroller.

Speaker 4 (15:49):
And I slammed the door on her and I said,
I am so sorry, and good for her because she'd
still give me stink eye, which she showed have It's fine,
but I had to apologize for myself.

Speaker 3 (15:59):
I said, I just want you to know I am
sorry for that.

Speaker 4 (16:02):
And after, you know, she realized she gave me stink guy,
and then she smiled later because I think I scared
her because.

Speaker 3 (16:06):
She had a baby.

Speaker 5 (16:08):
Did I get it right?

Speaker 1 (16:31):
Welcome back to Table for two.

Speaker 2 (16:33):
Nicole was appointed Ambassador to the Bahamas in two thousand
and nine. Like many of us, it wasn't always easy
to balance life and work. In her book, Nicole writes
honestly about one challenging event during this time. You paint
many beautiful pictures in your memoir, and you're welcome and

(16:53):
thank you, because I will say it really made me
think a lot about my life, my life and service.
Being a parent one of the things you talk about,
and you're very vulnerable. It's a real thing when you
you know. So, Nicole was appointed to be the US
Ambassador to the Bahamas under President Obama. You tell a

(17:14):
story of when Ted Ted is Nicole's husband, Ted Sorrando's
if you don't.

Speaker 1 (17:19):
Know, and your reaction to when his mother passed.

Speaker 2 (17:26):
And that was a really interesting story for me to
read because I understood it and then I understood too,
which it led to the choice of I have to
go home because this is now going to have to
make a choice between my family and my career. And
even though that is unfair at times, but you know,

(17:48):
if it was a career that was here, you know,
down the block, you want to can you kind of
talk about that and share because I think it's as
a very vulnerable, real moment.

Speaker 4 (17:56):
That's why I wanted to put it in the book
because I think I want to use myself as an example.
So I didn't feel like, you know, I'm sitting on
some soapbox telling people how to live and don't do this.
And I was like, let me put in my own
mistakes right, so that hopefully people don't feel so alone
in their mistakes.

Speaker 3 (18:15):
Or you know what have you And a reminder we're
all human.

Speaker 4 (18:17):
We're all going to slip, even with people with the
best hearts and the best intentions. We all have smudge
and we all slip right smudge and we're human, all
of us. And so yeah, so I was serving as
a US ambassador to the Bahamas, and everything was new
for me. It was a new marriage. I mean ten
and I date courted nine months and then we got married.

Speaker 3 (18:39):
I had two, you.

Speaker 4 (18:40):
Know, beautiful step children, and but I moved to a
new country with a new job and a new home,
no friends, no nobody, big deal. It was a big deal,
and I didn't realize until I got there in the
first week, got like thinking, oh, wow, right, I don't
I don't know anybody here. And Ted was flying back
and forth and he and the kids did not move

(19:02):
there permanently with me, which is usually because I was young.
You know, you have most ambassadors, I mean I was
forty years old, and you know, most ambassadors start, you know,
do that job later in life, and I understand why.
But the opportunity showed up, so I took it. And
but once I got my sea legs because I loved
the job so much, and I saw the differences that

(19:23):
the whole embassy team was making, and they.

Speaker 3 (19:25):
All worked so hard before I got there.

Speaker 4 (19:27):
After I left him, it was a great team, and
we were so excited about this one delegation. And then
I completely slipped into ego mode and Ted loses his
mom suddenly. I mean, she wasn't in the best health,
but we did not expect for her to pass away
like that.

Speaker 3 (19:44):
He was called to Arizona to check on her, and
she died. When Ted was there.

Speaker 4 (19:49):
I mean it was he went downstairs, I think to
get something to Eatie.

Speaker 3 (19:52):
Came up and she's gone.

Speaker 4 (19:54):
And what he needed and obviously any of us in
a partner was empathy and gentleness and kindness. And I
you know, I was in the car with the driver
and the security guard and they could hear me speaking
to Ted, and I love them for being letting me
know suddenly like you're off, lady, like what do.

Speaker 3 (20:16):
You what are you doing?

Speaker 4 (20:18):
And you know, Rubin never said anything. It was the
greatest and always calm and cool. And I could just
see the stinky coming back to me in.

Speaker 3 (20:25):
The rear of the mirror, like what is wrong with everybody?
But I had said to Ted.

Speaker 4 (20:29):
He called to tell me that Sue had died, and
I said, I'm so sorry this and that, and then
my ego just took over and I said, well, wait
a minute, when do you think the.

Speaker 3 (20:38):
Service is going to be?

Speaker 4 (20:40):
And of course Ted is shaking and thinking, not even
thinking of that, He said, well, I don't know anything.
I mean, she just asked away, and I said, well,
I mean, I hope it's not next week.

Speaker 3 (20:51):
I hope it's not during this time. I mean, we
have a delegation, Teddy, we have people coming.

Speaker 4 (20:56):
From Washington and it's very important, and you know, we're
talking about traffic, and I'm going on and on about myself,
about my job, everything excepted everything, accept his grief, everything
except what he needed.

Speaker 3 (21:10):
And it was the.

Speaker 4 (21:10):
Height of selfishness. And I didn't even recognize it. And again,
thank god, the team around me did.

Speaker 3 (21:16):
And I walked.

Speaker 4 (21:17):
Upstairs, like I say in the book, and I'm looking
in the Mirror'm like, what is wrong with everybody?

Speaker 3 (21:20):
I'm looking at the dog, going what is everyone of
an attitude for?

Speaker 4 (21:23):
And then I look at myself in the mirror, and
I swear to you, I did not recognize myself.

Speaker 3 (21:29):
And I thought, oh my god, I've become that character.

Speaker 4 (21:33):
I've become that person we see in movies we read
about where nothing else matters, accept the job, nothing else matters,
accept whatever they want. And it was a turning point
for me, and I of course immediately called ted and
I apologized, and I but I really had to look
at myself and say, wait a minute, Okay, this is

(21:54):
a this is two things that these are both true.
And I had almost been on the job for two years,
so I had one more year, because you know, I
went in at the end of twenty ten, and in
that moment, it helped me.

Speaker 3 (22:07):
Transition to.

Speaker 4 (22:10):
Where I was going to move forward and how I
was going to move forward to what you said of
making a decision in that moment, as hard as it was,
and sacrifice, by the way, is different for everybody. You know,
I'm not you know, I'm not going to war. I mean,
that's the biggest sacrifice and fighting. But I was fighting
for my family, yes, And I had to say to myself,

(22:30):
and I knew where I was going because I wanted
to stay the extra year and I knew we would
even get better, and I knew the embassy was going
to get stronger.

Speaker 3 (22:39):
And then I thought, and then I'm going to go
to d C.

Speaker 4 (22:41):
I mean, I could see myself pulling myself away from
my family, and I saw a new version of myself
that really had Oh well, they'll have to figure it out,
ted Antoni and Sarah. We'll have to figure it out.
And I thought, wait a minute, Oh no, no, no, no,
I have to this back and what is important to

(23:01):
me and who was important to me. And it was
the best decision I made. I came home for him
for us, it wasn't just for Ted, it was for me.
That's what I had to realize. It didn't come home
for Ted, I came.

Speaker 1 (23:15):
Home for me exactly.

Speaker 4 (23:16):
I always wanted a family more than anything in the world.
I wanted to be with my best friend. I wanted
to be married to a best friend, and I wanted
a family. You have to be aware when you did
step into right ship. You have to be aware of
when you miss the mark.

Speaker 3 (23:33):
You know.

Speaker 4 (23:34):
That's what sin means, actually just means miss the mark.
It means a mistake, and you have to be aware
enough to know, Oh my god, wait a minute, you know.
And and to your point, it's again going back to fragility.
We're all fragile. We don't know what anyone's going through.
And this has been a huge lesson for me of
just it's not about the benefit of the doubt, because that's.

Speaker 3 (23:56):
Got to me in trouble. But you know, I think
love when we say we have to love each other.

Speaker 4 (23:59):
For me and I try to teach Tony and Sarah
this respect is the highest form of love. And what
people really really want more than anything in the world
is respect.

Speaker 3 (24:11):
Yes, that's it.

Speaker 1 (24:12):
That's it.

Speaker 3 (24:12):
That's it.

Speaker 2 (24:23):
In your book, you quote scripture often, and you quote
incredible pieces of scripture.

Speaker 1 (24:29):
And I didn't realize.

Speaker 2 (24:31):
That scripture was such, you know, with such a big
piece of you, and it was so surprising in a
wonderful way. Can you talk to me a little bit
about you?

Speaker 4 (24:42):
You know. I love that you asked that, because so
many people have said that, and there are people who said,
I've never even seen the scripture before, and it's beautiful.
And you didn't shove religion down anybody.

Speaker 1 (24:53):
You just picked scripture, and scripture is poetry.

Speaker 4 (24:56):
Buddhas scripture is poetry, Christian scripture, the Torah, this is
all of it. It's it's all for character building, and
it's really there to help all of us reframe our.

Speaker 3 (25:07):
Minds and really think in a new way. It does,
I mean, that's what it's there for.

Speaker 4 (25:13):
And for me, I thought, if I'm going to write
all of this and it's a very personal book, but
this has to be a part of the book. And
so I just we made the decision of you know,
every lesson that I put in that I had to
learn or what I was taught, if it's in scripture,
let's put the scripture in and I think it.

Speaker 3 (25:35):
What I love is.

Speaker 4 (25:36):
That it goes back to my mom being a woman
of faith.

Speaker 3 (25:39):
She was not a religious woman. She loved all religion.

Speaker 4 (25:42):
She loved you know, she raised me with in Christianity, sure,
but she opened.

Speaker 3 (25:47):
Up every good book.

Speaker 1 (25:49):
You know.

Speaker 3 (25:49):
My mom was a lover of the world. She was
a lover of culture. I love that she gave me that.
I mean, she gave me a team, you know, the
prairie that that now I leat me down to sleep.

Speaker 4 (25:58):
I prayed to the Lord may sole to keep if
it should die before I wake, I prayed.

Speaker 3 (26:01):
To Lord my soul to take.

Speaker 4 (26:02):
That was the only main prayer she gave me. There
was no religion, there was nothing attached to it. So
I never had a fear of the universe. I never
had a fear of source.

Speaker 3 (26:13):
I never had. I never thought it was some man
with a cane who I never had.

Speaker 4 (26:17):
That. She just made it very easy. And then you know,
first Philippians eleven. You know, may you always be doing
those good kind things that show you're a child of
God like simple where she was focused mostly on the
character of a person and reminded me of you think
this is around every continent, just because every place in

(26:37):
the world has some scripture to remind its people to
return to love, to return to mercy, to return to service. Yes,
and it's just a good reminder, so I wanted to
sprinkle it throughout the bulk.

Speaker 1 (26:53):
You sprinkle it. Great. What do you put into the
universe now?

Speaker 2 (27:06):
Now that you've experienced this sort of you've gone through
an archway, you've gone through a new door.

Speaker 1 (27:13):
What's the universe? What's the world to you? Now?

Speaker 3 (27:16):
It's that's a great question.

Speaker 4 (27:19):
It is a space now where I have walked through
this new portal, like you said, and this new door,
and I am more grateful than ever. It's especially when
both parents leave you realize, oh wow, okay, of course
you don't want paper, and you feel like, yes, they're
my parents that gave me in life. But then when
they're gone, you realize, oh right, I'm the energy that

(27:42):
carries on. I'm the energy that now shows up and
reminds everybody of them.

Speaker 3 (27:48):
So then I have to decide, well, then how am
I showing up?

Speaker 4 (27:52):
And my mom, like I say in the book, loved
being alive so much that I need to be alive.

Speaker 3 (27:59):
And can with the universe and it's various different ways.

Speaker 4 (28:03):
You know, I walk in the gardens more because my
dad and I created new habits for him.

Speaker 3 (28:07):
One of them was him walking in the garden. You know.

Speaker 4 (28:10):
Then he started doing all his exercises outside. He exercised
up until the day, you know, right before he got
sick and left, and he started counting airplanes and taking
just taking a beat of you know, how many airplanes
just flew over that I didn't even know. I've lived
there for seven years, never even heard an airplane, never
looked up in the sky. And I thought, all right,

(28:30):
these are new things that He's given me. And I
I look at life. I always have looked at life
as a gift.

Speaker 3 (28:39):
I really have. But I think all of us forget
to open it.

Speaker 4 (28:44):
You know, it is a gift. The present is a gift. Yes,
I know it sounds but it is. But half of
the time.

Speaker 3 (28:48):
I never even opened the gift, you know, I didn't
unwrap it.

Speaker 4 (28:52):
And I focus now on really my friends and the
people who deposit good things into my I want to
spend time with my friends, I want to spend time
with their families. I want to be helpful, but I
also know that and you'll feel this. There's a legacy
to continue because a baton is passed to you. It's

(29:12):
an energetic baton, but it's passed. And what I've learned
is the greatest way to honor people who have passed,
especially your family members, is to what I started to
do is I do everything. It's helped me with my
grief too. Everything that my mom loved I do. So
I listened to the music she loves. I listened to
I watched the TV shows she loved. I watch movies

(29:35):
that she loved. I now listen to dou g Ellington
and Frank Sinatra every day because my dad was obsessed.
And I love history, all history, all American history and
history around the world. And so I started to now
show up as someone more curious, someone more patient. Patience
was a big lesson for me in this lifetime. I'm

(29:57):
more patient and gentleness was ever something.

Speaker 3 (30:01):
And you know, my mom would give me the greatest sauce,
and I thought about it today.

Speaker 4 (30:05):
I'm a very loyal person and my mom was extremely devoted,
and at one of our last lunches, I said to her,
I hope I can move to the space where I'm
as devoted to you, because there is a difference between
devotion and loyalty. And she looked at me and she
said she was eighty one and she said, you know,

(30:26):
I don't regret being devoted, but if you choose devotion,
make sure boundaries come with it.

Speaker 3 (30:34):
And it floored me.

Speaker 4 (30:37):
I said what she said, If I can do it
all over again, I would still be a devoted woman,
but I would put up boundaries with my devotion because
people took advantage of my devotion and because when you're devoted,
you show up no matter what, and it's though, no
matter what, that's the you know, loyal, I'm loyal, but
there's a there's a consequence. Yeah, there's a oh you're

(30:59):
gonna do that. Devotion just shows up, yeah, all the
time and at any time of the day, and it's
a beautiful thing. But she said, if I could do
it again, I would still stay devoted, but I would
have boundaries.

Speaker 3 (31:13):
And it was such a good what yes lesson for me? Wow?

Speaker 4 (31:17):
And she said, you know there has to be You
don't want to change your spirit for other people, and
you don't want to change your heart for other people,
but if they cannot show up and if they're constantly
using you and disrespecting you and devaluing you. Yes, you
have to put a boundary up that says I love you.

Speaker 3 (31:38):
And I wish you well. But no more, no more.
I can't.

Speaker 4 (31:43):
I'm not because she said it. She said it was
such a heavy burden. And when I asked her, God,
do you have any burdens? Do you have any regrets?
She said, I really don't. The only regret is I
wish I would have taken care of myself better in
that way.

Speaker 3 (31:55):
I said, But you took great care of yourself.

Speaker 6 (31:57):
She goes, not so much with the boundary.

Speaker 2 (32:18):
Thanks for joining us on Table for two. In Nicole
Avon's new memoir, she tackles loss and grief in a.

Speaker 1 (32:25):
Very vulnerable way.

Speaker 2 (32:26):
Her mother, Missus Avon, was murdered in a home invasion
in twenty twenty one. Something Nicole explores is what she
calls the dash. And I think it's a concept we
can all find inspiring. You talk about, I think, which
is really important, the sort of idea that we.

Speaker 1 (32:46):
All are going to die, That is the thing that
we all share. You know, we can live in fear
of it, we can come to terms with it.

Speaker 2 (32:53):
You know, and it's really about, as you say, the dash,
the births in the end, And I think that's an
important thing just to remember. You don't you don't have
to live in that, but you have the responsibility to
live the dash.

Speaker 1 (33:06):
You want to live and be the best Dash you can.

Speaker 2 (33:09):
And you talk about to accomplish big things, to change
the world. You have to see the magic in the
moment and take what it offers you because you never
know when your name is gonna get called. That was
a really beautiful way to say it for me to
read it, because there were many times I was always
so afraid of the day. How do you feel about that?

(33:36):
How do you feel like your own my own dash? Yeah,
your own dad and you and your last day which
you know your own which one day?

Speaker 5 (33:44):
Well?

Speaker 1 (33:45):
And I mean, I.

Speaker 2 (33:46):
Hope we have our jewelry, right, but I'm afraid of
who's going to take my jewelry?

Speaker 1 (33:53):
Nicole?

Speaker 3 (33:58):
You know it's Mama.

Speaker 4 (34:00):
I said, you come into this world alone and you
leave this world alone.

Speaker 3 (34:04):
Really, Mom, is that it? But she's so right. When
she left and my dad left, everything else stayed, They
left with nothing, nothing, everything's just there.

Speaker 1 (34:17):
So wild you really just you're gone you're gone. You're gone,
and right now.

Speaker 3 (34:24):
You know, yeah, and no one you know. I think
this is the reason we all say, don't you say this?

Speaker 4 (34:31):
Don't you find yourself saying this when you hear about
someone And the first reaction is, I just saw them.

Speaker 3 (34:36):
What do you mean they died? I just saw them.
I just saw them.

Speaker 4 (34:39):
Because we all go back to, what do you mean
that that energy stopped?

Speaker 3 (34:45):
What do you mean it stocked? I just saw them. Everybody,
everybody who has passed away. My first reaction is, what
do you mean she died? I just saw her. I
just read something on her in a magazine. What do
you mean?

Speaker 4 (34:55):
And I remember having a dinner at a friend's house
and Jackie Collins was one of the dinner guests, and
I did not know she was sick because she didn't
tell anybody she was sick, and she didn't talk about
her sickness. So when she passed away, I said, what
do you mean I just had dinner with her a
month ago? What?

Speaker 3 (35:12):
But I love that she showed up until the end
to the.

Speaker 4 (35:17):
Best of her ability and lived, you know, And I
think that we're all, you know, unfortunately reminded, especially when
the more tragic than we're reminded of just our own
fragility of you know, the people in Maine, for example,
they all were going bowling and playing, but what really,
you know, you can't process it, you can't fathom it.

(35:41):
And we all hope that we pass away, you know,
with our favorite last meal and with our family surrounding
us and in peace.

Speaker 3 (35:49):
We all hope that. Sure, I hope that for the world.
The truth is, it just doesn't happen that way.

Speaker 4 (35:55):
And so I think for me that's helped me is
to own the fact that part of living is passing over.
It's part of the living. It's not one or the other.
It's part of your circle of life. Yes, part of
your circle of life is you will transition and you
will go wherever. But that is you can escape it.

(36:19):
Every single one of us is going to leave this
earth at some point. And so and the beauty I
think of life is that we do get to reinvent
ourselves over and over and over again.

Speaker 3 (36:31):
My grandmother used to always remind me the Lord's mercies
are new every single day.

Speaker 4 (36:36):
No matter what mistake you've made, no matter who you
were yesterday, doesn't mean that you don't have to take.
You know, the consequences to your actions won't happen. Redemption
can either happen. They can happen behind a jail cell too.

Speaker 3 (36:48):
I've seen that. I've done a lot. I've worked with lots.

Speaker 4 (36:51):
Of people who go into prisons and do great work
and try to help someone's character become better or do
what ha you doesn't mean that person needs you back
on the street necessarily, but you can. Sometimes your redemption
is going to come behind a jail cell. That's okay,
that's okay, that's okay. And and I do have a
sense of urgency of life that I didn't have before.

(37:14):
And I have a new relationship with the universe that
I didn't have before.

Speaker 3 (37:19):
I am more.

Speaker 4 (37:20):
I'm not rushing through, but I am appreciating things at
a different level because of the way my mom died,
and it was so instant and violent and cruel, and
it's so opposite because you know, she's eighty one and
she lived in that house the whole time, and you know,
for fifty four years and nothing ever came to that,
there was no So it's just things changed.

Speaker 2 (37:41):
Yes, tell us about think You'll be happy. It's a
beautiful title.

Speaker 1 (37:54):
To your mind.

Speaker 4 (37:55):
Thank you so think you'll be happy. Are the last
words my mom said to me that day. I had
called my mom a little bit before five, and my
dad said that she was resting, and he goes, you know,
she's very tired today, very upset today. And I said, Dad,
I just realized why I go, because you know how
mom gets when she hears about a school shooting.

Speaker 3 (38:15):
There's a school shooting in Michigan that day.

Speaker 4 (38:18):
And he goes and my father said, oh right, I'm
watching it on the news.

Speaker 2 (38:21):
Now.

Speaker 3 (38:21):
Yes, your mom went to sleep, so call her later.

Speaker 4 (38:24):
So my last textar She texted me at eight oh
one and I wrote her back, I'm so sorry I
missed you earlier.

Speaker 3 (38:29):
Dad said you were.

Speaker 4 (38:30):
Sleeping, and she, of course, she was talking about me
coming over the next day to pick up the sweet
potato pie that she had brought bought to our house
for Thanksgiving, and then my father, being Clarence, took the
pie home with his leftovers and took our pie home.

Speaker 3 (38:46):
I never got a piece of the pie. And my
mom was so weird about this pie, she said, Nicole.

Speaker 4 (38:50):
Yeah, I said, Mom, I love how you act as
if you bake this pie yourself. I made sure, went
to Bristol Farms, I'm sure, and bought the pie. She
was very proud of this pie. So but she so
she writes me a text and it's about the pie,
and I write back, you know, I'll think about it.

Speaker 3 (39:06):
Sorry I missed you earlier. I'll think about it.

Speaker 4 (39:08):
I'll let you know tomorrow because we all think we
have tomorrow. And her last words were, okay, I think
you'll be happy. And then I got in the bath,
I said my prayers, I took the dogs out and
went to sleep, and six hours later woken up, get
to the hospital. You know, da, da, And what I

(39:28):
love about think you'll be happy is out of all
the words that my mom could have said. In her
last text, a I'm glad she responded. Sometimes we didn't
always respond, and it gave me a mantra. It's almost
now like a mantra for me to remind myself to
renew my mind, to guard my heart, like scripture says,

(39:52):
guard your heart. You know, all the issues of life
come out of your heart, So your intentions should always
be to have to be.

Speaker 3 (40:00):
Good hearted person.

Speaker 4 (40:01):
Doesn't mean you won't make mistakes, does not mean you
won't hurt people does not mean but your intention is
never to cause.

Speaker 3 (40:08):
Hert right, There's a difference. There's a difference.

Speaker 4 (40:11):
And I'm so happy because my mom always talked about
be happy, you know. She always was so reminded me
all the time that your words and your beliefs will
help you shape your reality. So every time I came across, like,
you know, a mountain in my life, you know, with

(40:31):
the same issue, over the same lesson, I go, I
don't understand why this is here. Should always say what
are you thinking about? What are you thinking about? Because
you keep thinking. I hope this person doesn't do that again.
I hope this doesn't happen again. You're just putting out
into the universe. It doesn't The universe doesn't know that
you don't want to.

Speaker 3 (40:48):
It just picks up on whatever you're thinking about. So
it just delivers what the thoughts are. So I don't
want that. It's like, oh she wants this. It just
you know.

Speaker 4 (40:58):
So I just told my friend today, like we're going
to focus on what we want only, not what we
don't want or not. I hope this person gets it.
I hope they understand. No, we don't hope anything. Yeah,
it's all going to work out. Everything's going to work
out the way it's supposed to work out. And I
say that over and over again.

Speaker 2 (41:22):
My lunch with Nicole has been so moving and insightful.
I also know that growing up in Beverly Hills with
a father in the music industry, she knew some very
interesting people. So I want to end today's lunch with
a fun question.

Speaker 1 (41:36):
We're kind of wrapping up our lunch.

Speaker 2 (41:38):
But you did grow up at a time in the
seventies and the eighties there were a lot of sort
of heart throbs.

Speaker 1 (41:43):
You knew a lot of people. Is there any like
who was like your big crush that you met that
you were like?

Speaker 4 (41:53):
I mean the truth, I honestly wanted to make I
thought for sure by the time I was seven years old,
you could not tell me that I was not going
to marry Randy Jackson. From the Jackson five there was
it was just impossible that I was not going to
marry Randy Jackson.

Speaker 3 (42:11):
Then of course I was.

Speaker 4 (42:13):
I was obsessed to the point where it's it's sickening,
it's it's Michael Jordan, Michael, forget it. I I but
I really as a child it was Sean Cassidy was
actually at my He was a magician at my birthday party.

Speaker 3 (42:29):
Of course because his mom, again this is Beverly Hills.

Speaker 4 (42:32):
At the time, his mom was saying to my mom, oh,
you know Sean and his friend. You know they have
Cassadini's or whatever. And my mom said, when Nicole loves
magic and I love that. His mom was like, well,
he's a magician, hire him, pay him as a teenager.
And there's this great photo of us. And Ted just
met him and showed him wow, and he's like, that's true.

Speaker 3 (42:50):
And he remembered the house. He did, he remembered the house.

Speaker 1 (42:54):
It was really a very special moment that you grew
up in. Yes, and to.

Speaker 3 (42:59):
Have all these great memories good would be the best.

Speaker 4 (43:05):
And again surely just I think they literally saw each
other at the supermarket and it was just a conversation
about their children.

Speaker 3 (43:11):
Oh well, Sean's doing this. My mom said, I want
the cool loves magic. Let's have him be there.

Speaker 1 (43:16):
Well, let me tell everyone as we wrap.

Speaker 2 (43:17):
First of all, Nicole, thank you so much for taking
the time and for having lunch with me and being
on table for two And I hope everyone who pulled
up but you're really enjoyed this.

Speaker 1 (43:26):
Your book, Think You'll Be Happy is an incredible memoir.

Speaker 2 (43:29):
And as we end, a memoir that's about loss and
grief and love and celebration with laughter, it says everything
you need to know about Nicole, because if you want.

Speaker 1 (43:39):
To have fun, you want someone who.

Speaker 2 (43:41):
If you're lucky enough to be able to call you
friend in this life, you're a lucky person.

Speaker 1 (43:48):
So thank you very much, thank you for having me, and.

Speaker 2 (43:50):
I hope everyone enjoyed and have a great day.

Speaker 7 (44:00):
Table for two with Bruce Bosi is produced by iHeartRadio
seven three seven Park and Airmail. Our executive producers are
Bruce Bosi and Nathan King. Table for two is researched
and written by Bridget arsenalt Our sound engineers are Paul
Bowman and Alyssa Midcalf. Table for two's la production team
is Danielle Romo and Lorraine Verrez. Our music supervisor is

(44:23):
Randall poster. Our talent booking is by James Harkin.

Speaker 2 (44:26):
Special thanks to Amy Sugarman, Uni Cher, Kevin Yuvane, Bobby Bauer,
Alison Kanter Raber, Barbara and Jen and Jeff Klein, and
the staff at the Tower bar,
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