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Seeing God’s Hand

Do you believe in coincidence? What you may see as coincidence, your Two Chums see as God’s hand or His plans.  We have an amazing story to share with you today.  Last Thursday my husband and I had the privilege of attending a party honoring the 100th birthday of a dear man named John Barbey.  He is a character to be sure.  One of those people who always seems larger than life.  Usually seen about town in his signature argyle socks, decorative trousers or bermuda shorts, sport coat, and ascot, and often on his bike at the La Jolla shore.

John Barbey  happens to be the son of the gentleman who founded Vanity Fair lingerie and Lee Sportswear.   Amongst the 200+ people who turned up at lunch in La Jolla, California to celebrate John on Thursday, were two people who are the real focus of this story.  Years ago, when John’s father started the Vanity Fair lingerie company, he hired some women to work for him who were known as “fit” models.  These ladies modeled the lingerie for the designers and gave feed back into how the garments fit, and where changes and alterations needed to be made in the designs to make them feel comfortable and fit well.

One of these “fit” models, Janet Peterson, had flown in from Pennsylvania to attend the party.  Mrs. Peterson started in 1951 as one of the very first “fit” models for VF and continued to work for the company for the next 47 years, ascending from her model position to that of Senior Vice President of the company.  This, at a time when very, very few women were executives at any company.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Mrs. Peterson who at 87 years young, was lovely and charming and obviously very good at what had been her job for all those years.  She also spoke of another “fit” model, a dear friend,  whom she had worked with at Vanity Fair named, Carmen.

During the toasts and speeches for John Barbey, there was a woman who presented John with what had been a highly acclaimed, award winning photograph done for Vanity Fair.  This woman’s father was the photographer who had taken the photo in the early 1950’s.   It is the same artistic photo you see at the beginning of this post.

John’s father, John Barbey, Sr. had ordered the photo shoot for an ad campaign that Vanity Fair was creating to feature a new negligee design.  The fit model, Carmen, was chosen to do the photo shoot.  At that time, it would have been somewhat of a scandal for a woman to be seen publicly in a lingerie ad.  Carmen’s agent, Eileen Ford, of the famous Ford Modeling Agency, told her that doing such a layout in lingerie was likely to kill her career.  She would be shamed and most likely never work again as a serious model.  She chose to do the photo shoot anyway.  It was a wise move, as this photo made her the envy of other models and someone who was widely sought after as a result of this photo.  To preserve her identity, and create a stronger focus on the negligee rather than the model herself, this photographer, Mark Shaw, asked her to place her hand in front of her face.  Carmen had training as a ballerina and was quite graceful and artistic in her movement as you can see.  The result was a photo that was award winning.

During the photo presentation at John’s birthday party, the woman giving John the photo happened to mention, rather off handedly, that Carmen is still modeling even today at 85.  This is where the coincidence we see as God”s hand happened.

Jackie offered to take care of doing the post for Two Chums for Friday.  Because I was gone all day until later in the evening Thursday, she put the post in and texted me just to let me know she had taken care of it.  Though we take turns as you probably know, doing our Two Chums posts, we generally talk about our ideas before we do them and certainly both read them before they are published.  But I was away all day and fell into bed late Thursday, and then had a crazy day on Friday, and never looked at the content she had come up with for Friday’s post.  When we spoke Friday, I relayed the details of the birthday party and told her the story of meeting Mrs. Peterson and of the photo of the other model, Carmen, that had won all kinds of awards.  I told her I thought sometime in the next couple of weeks I would do a post about the birthday party and mention these two women, who had very successful careers when it wasn’t so popular for women to be working.  She said she thought it would make an interesting post for you, our readers.

Last night I sat down to look over the coming week and decide if there was a place to put this story in.  Realizing that I had never seen the post Jackie did on Friday, I opened it.  I took one look and my jaw dropped as I realized that the model about whom she had done Friday’s post was Carmen, the same model Carmen in the photo I had seen at the birthday party!

(Photo: Kay-Paris Fernandes/Getty Images)

What are the chances of that?  I ask you of all the stories, of all the millions of ideas, of all people Jackie could have written about for Two Chums and of all the times she might have come across this model and her story, what would you think are the chances that it would just so happen to be the same day as I was hearing about this model from people who knew and worked with her. And how crazy that I would have the chance to see the actual photograph in person that happened to be the photo that actually launched the career of model Carmen Dell’Orefice!

Just a coincidence some would say, but we would tell you it is just another evidence of God’s hand.  His plans are always good and his timing is always perfect and He cares about even the littlest details of our lives.  Look about you, there are evidences large and small all around us everyday to remind us that God has a plan…a plan for each one of us that is greater than we could ever imagine.

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  1. Richard Horner #

    What a wonderful photo and a tremendous story to go with it! I sometimes referred to this type of incident as a “Godwink”!

    January 30, 2017
  2. Allison #

    Oh my goodness! Love this story!!!

    January 30, 2017

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