Meet Phoebe Ryan
Hi, I’m Phoebe Ryan. Joan Altieri wanted me to introduce myself since she asked me to write for her blog. You can read more about my story in The Ivy House, but here are some things you might not have known about me.
I’m 5′ 7″, grew up in California and was a competitive swimmer. I own my own design studio, making home goods – pillows, table decor and other things….
Are you bored yet? Cause I am. Let me start over. I’m Phoebe and I lead a life both charmed and cursed. Charmed, because for many I was part of a Hollywood fairy tale. My grandmother was the great Savannah Ryan, a star of screen and stage, who took Hollywood by storm with her blond bombshell sex appeal. She had one child, my dad, before she became famous. She never said who the father was and to this day, it’s a bit of a mystery.
However, by the time my dad was about ten or so, Savannah was a sensation – and that’s when things got sticky. Love, or lust most likely, got in the way, and she became embroiled in a torrid affair with Leland Sanders. He threw over his family to be with her. I don’t think Savannah was ever proud of the fact, but as she was fond of saying, what the heart wants, the heart wants. The two of them hid out in the town of Queensbay in a cottage known as The Ivy House, where they tried to live like normal people – as normal as an international screen star and her lover can.
Of course real life isn’t like the movies and things didn’t work out quite the way anybody expected.
The marriage was stormy to say the least and then Leland died unexpectedly. Savannah was heartbroken and I don’t think she ever really loved again. It was back to Hollywood again, to make a living. That’s where my dad grew up. Savannah’s scandal was mostly in the past, a salacious bit of gossip brought up every now and then, including one pretty awful made for TV movie that my grandmother had nothing to do with.
Life was good – or as good as it could be for an aging ingenue. My dad became a director and met my mother, an actress and fell in love instantly. Another passionate affair, doomed to end…this one because of a winding road and a car going to too fast. My parents were killed when I was quite young and Savannah took me in.
That’s how I lived – in and about the edges of Hollywood royalty. But it was never my scene, never a place I felt right. Savannah did her best, but she wasn’t exactly the maternal type. She even refused to let me call her grandmother – she was simply Savannah to me too. I took refuge in my art, drawing, painting and designing, determined to forge my own path far away from those glittering lights.
And I did, working for companies large and small as a designer, working my way up. I was good at it, until I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. And that’s when I met up with a certain celebrity who shall remain nameless…except she has a cooking show, a country record album, and one dismal performance on DWTS to her credit…Anyhow I was supposed to help her design her own line of country inspired housewares…
Let’s just say she and I did not see eye to eye in the matters of taste. At. All. And for once I decided to speak up. Out the door I went. Of course, this was when Savannah, my only family, was sick, dying really. I dropped everything to take care of her. After her death I found myself homeless and jobless. I would have been broke too, if I had relied on Savannah, since she spent all of her money on “keeping up appearances.”
As it was, I sold most of her possessions to settle her estate. There was just one thing left to me. A key and a letter about a house across the country. The Ivy House, the love nest she had shared with Leland.
So off to Queensbay I went…and what did I find? Well at first the house was a disaster. But with some help, I fixed it up. And I met Chase. Chase Sanders. Yes – you heard the name right. Chase Sanders – as in Leland’s grandson. Was it fate that brought us together? Or the ghost of Savannah gently trying to lead me to happiness? I don’t know, but here I am, happily running my own design firm, making a life with Chase, and hanging out with my friends Caitlyn and Lynn, right here in Queensbay.
That’s my story…not much else…except that I love colored pencils (I have hundreds), red licorice, and owls. And Joan wants me to contribute some decorating tips to her blog…so stay tuned Queensbay’ers for some ways to give your house a fresh new look.