Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hamish Linklater is apparently in love with me.
Poor guy.
You may know Hamish as “Matthew,” the slacker brother on the funny TV show “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
Hamish also stars in “Hamlet” at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif., where my sister is the assistant costume designer.
Merilee often rubs shoulders with television and movie stars. This can be delicate work, especially when she’s measuring their inseam.
My sister thinks nothing of running a tape measure up some star’s leg or telling him that he must wear “man panties” instead of boxers, due to costuming issues in the lower extremities.
She even had a close encounter with Bono’s leather jacket.
But never has a famous actor fallen head over heels for her older sister.
In his role as Hamlet, Hamish wears some pretty tight pants. At a recent fitting, he decided to see if he could rock his newborn baby while wearing his costume.
He began doing lunges across the costume shop.
“That’s not how you rock a baby,” Merilee said.
“That’s how I rock my baby,” he answered.
Suddenly, in lunge position, Hamish looked up. He pointed and said, “What’s that?!”
Merilee turned. Hamish was staring at a picture of me.
Well, a picture of me with Merilee and Laura. But he was definitely mostly pointing at me.
I gave my sisters photo calendars for Christmas, and the picture for May is a close-up of three Ford Girls.
Hamish went over and took it down. He looked at all the months and talked about each picture. When he got to the one of Clara with her friend Piper cuddling small creatures, he said, “Oh look at the gerbils!”
Merilee had to tell him they were guinea pigs.
My sister’s fiance Gabriel witnessed the entire event. He confirmed that Hamish is clearly smitten with me and said he even saw a little drool when the actor looked at my picture.
Poor guy.
Hamish is a very nice person, Merilee says. So is Michael Urie, another star in “Hamlet” who is best known as the gay secretary on “Ugly Betty.” Michael, however, has shown no interest in me or my guinea pigs.
Merilee’s love of clothing and design seems to have taken root in my daughters.
Nellie, 8, likes to alter her clothing with whatever temporary means she can find รณ tucking, folding, paper clips, rubber bands. As soon as she gets home from school, her T-shirt hem goes up and through the neckhole, making a halter top.
She has attached about 20 buttons to a piece of felt using a sewing kit Merilee gave her for Christmas.
Clara, 3, has an even greater obsession with clothes. And not just her own.
One evening I dressed for a party. She stood outside the bathroom and looked me up and down.
“Mama!” she said disapprovingly. “Are you going to wear that?”
“Don’t you like my new shirt?” I asked.
“I like the shirt,” she said. “I don’t like it with those pants.”
Did I mention she’s 3?
For Clara, less is more. She walked into her preschool classroom recently, just before the year-end program, and announced, “I don’t have any panties on.”
After 17 years of teaching preschool, I’m sure Frances Edwards thought she had heard it all.
The teachers scrambled and found an extra pair, avoiding any costuming issues in the lower extremities. Hamish Linklater should be so lucky.
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Emily Ford is a freelance writer living in Salisbury.

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