A Room of Her Own

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By Paula Deen

Hospitals aren’t my favorite places.  It just breaks my heart to see people struggling with illnesses.  It can be such a frightening, uncertain time for both patients and their families.  But good things happen in hospitals, too—real good things.  Everyday, doctors and nurses help bring babies into this world, and that’s nothing short of a miracle.

Some of those birthing rooms, however, aren’t much of a fit for the miracles they hold.  It’s no fault of the hospitals; most don’t have the extra resources it would take to make a room look like a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria.  That said, a little comfort does go a long way.  So when the Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph’s/Candler, a wonderful hospital right here in my hometown of Savannah, approached me about donating some of my home furnishings from the Paula Deen Home Collection to renovate one of their 24 private mother-baby rooms in the birth center, I jumped at the chance.

Whoever said you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear would eat their words after seeing how a few touches of home can transform a hospital room.  The renovations began with money raised by the Telfair Directresses, a board of women dedicated to supporting the Women’s Hospital.  They took down the wallpaper and fixtures, repainted and put in a great big flat-screen TV.  They also updated the flooring and the countertops.  And then I added four pieces of furniture from my line, including a special sleeper for dads that Jamie is particularly fond of.  (I think he’s a good judge since both of his boys were born in this very hospital.)

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The hospital gave me the honor of doing the ribbon cuttin’ ceremony and they even dedicated the room in my name.  I couldn’t be more proud.  Michael, Jamie, Aunt Peggy, my niece Corrie and my friend Hollis were all there as the CEO of the hospital, Mr. Hinchey, and the vice president of Patient Care Services, Ms. Danello, said the nicest things.  And y’all, the finished product is just beautiful.  The room is so cozy and warm that it’s hard to imagine you’re in a hospital where more than 3,000 babies are born every year.  Instead, it feels like home—the perfect place to welcome a little baby, including Corrie’s first born.  That’s right, my niece is scheduled to be in that very room this month and she couldn’t be more excited.  But what Corrie doesn’t know is that I’m gonna sneak in there before she arrives to add a few more personal touches to the room.

So I guess you could say I caught the baby bug real bad during this process ‘cause I’m hoping to donate even more furnishings to spruce up the other rooms.  And while there’s no place like home, the Paula Deen room at Mary Telfair would sure give a good Hostess City welcome to any baby.

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43211

My daughter was born at that hospital in August 2007.I was there for 5 days.While I was in the hospital my mother,mother in law,brother,and sister in law went and ate at your restaurant while I was stuck at St.Joseph's lol!

By Jackie on January 27, 2013

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Respectfully, Ms Meyn...apparently you are not from the South, or, at least the Savannah South.....Mothers', mine included, will always be a part of our lives; they will love, comfort, criticize, pat you on the back, help you in any way possible, beat your enemies up, kiss away the tears, and flaunt your accomplishments! Do not berate Ms Deen for doing this; it is her duty, obligation and priviledge as a Southern Mama! I would feel confident in saying that your mother has an influence over you, as any mother (no matter where you may live) should... please do not degrenate family love, culture or respect; both of these men love and cherish mother, appreciate her good points (know her bad points more than anyone) and choose to have her as a part of their lives. So, Ms Meyn, give Ms. Deen a break...Bobby is not taping his show in Brooklyn to get away from his Mom; it is simply more convient and more advantageous to do so, PLUS Brooklyn is a fun place to be!

By Anonymous on January 15, 2013

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Dear Miss Paula, My mother and I have followed your success over the years and appreciate your hard work. We also enjoyed how you have included your sons into your shows. First let me say that I am a mother of a son, so I understand how love generates toward them. Both of your sons have started venturing out on their own with their own shows, which I think is really great because who doesn't want to see their family succeed. Mom and I really appreciate Jamie's new show where he cooks with his wife and sons. We also enjoy Bobby's show "Not my Mothers Meals". Really good concept. I follow his show closely, and heard him say he has moved to Brooklyn, where his show takes place. My one question, why do you need to be part of HIS show. I understand your name is in his title, but do we really need to see you sampling his transformed recipies? Why don't you keep all your many shows, and leave them alone. Mom and I love the fact that you are nowhere to be found on Jamie's show, can you please extend the same courtesy to Bobby. Poor Bobby, his umbilical cord now stretches from Savanna to Brooklyn. Get out of their lives!! Oh, by the way, how to you get Bobby's meals so quickly, fresh and always tasting so good. When I bring home a pizza, the cheese is stuck all over the inside of the box. I don't believe your meals are so perfect, and always so tasteful. I really feel badly for Bobby because is genuine, and so personable. My final thought, please let them live their own lives without "Mamas" opinion. Sincerely, Debra Meyn

By Debra Meyn on January 13, 2013

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Being one of your biggest fans of your show and recipes, I am so pleased with your donation of this room. This was the very hospital that I was born in many years ago so it holds a special place in my heart!

By Pat Schernekau on January 05, 2013

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This is such a wonderful thing you've done Paula! It is just one example of your sweet giving spirit. God bless you for all you've done for the mothers and dads.

By Kathryn Pless on January 04, 2013

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I love the look of the rooms--new/expectant mothers deserve the best, and it was so sweet of you to donate from your furnishing line! You're so awesome, anyway. Debbie Roppolo debbieroppolo.weebly.com

By Deborah Roppolo on January 02, 2013

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How wonderful! The city hospital where I had my youngest had shared rooms and nothing for my husband to sleep on. When we arrived they said they "might" have a cot, but only had a very limited number. Not nearly enough for every room. He had to sleep sitting in a rocking chair. So awesome that this room has proper sleeping accommodations for dads and it's beautiful to boot!

By Valerie Jackson on December 23, 2012

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I work as an RN in The Birth Center of a mid-size Texas city hospital that has 2,500 births a year. Budgets are very tight and this is such a wonderful thing to do. God bless you, Paula Deen! While birth is a wonderful miracle that still awes me after 35 years it can be very stressful and exhausting. What a gift to provide such a comfortable warm space for the mother and her loved ones!

By Bonnie Tincher on December 22, 2012

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I've begun to go gray at my temples and in anticipation of being all over gray I'd like to ask how you get your gray so beautiful? Silver like all over? Care to share?

By PattyAnne on December 21, 2012

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm