berlin blog points out the differences between Barbie and Tammy and it got me to thinking. Sure Barbie had more dates but Tammy was a mathlete! Okay, she was big boned but she "had a pretty face!" Actually, none of those petty distinctions really mattered in Andrea World because the hands down, no question winner of the cool award was ..ta da! Honey West! Proof is in the pudding as in on ebay. I love the fact that people are selling their old Barbies and even Tammys with ink marks on the faces and hair chopped off with safety scissors. What does this say about us as a society? About our long term committment to these types? Maybe it is just honesty. I think that is how personals would read if people were going to be honest, you know, more like ebay and less like Fantasy Island. "Bitter, single, white female recently jilted for a talentless cow. Walking on the beach gives me hives and frankly, if you call me, I will just be sarcastic and have every intention of taking out my anger at the last guy who dumped me on you. Oh, yeah, and I lost my shoes and have pen marks on my face." Meanwhile, I bet Honey West is still glamorous and almost certainly knits.
My cousin Karen and I were inseparable growing up. Although she played country mouse to my city mouse, we spent a lot of time together and had some great times. When we were little, before we hatched our plan to move to Carnaby Street and become international women of mystery [a/k/a spies in “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E” mode], our favorite game was called simply “Paris.”
This was the early 1960s and our mothers, being glamorous and sophisticated ladies, each had a large and irresistible collection of gloves and scarves. Wrist length, ¾, elbow length and above, they had gloves in every color of the rainbow, some with buttons, some with bows or pearls, kid, cotton and satin. The scarves were a riot of colors and patterns. Our mothers each had a carefully folded red babushka with cabbage roses that belonged to our Polish grandmothers or great-grandmothers but silk squares of all sizes in leopard prints, paisleys, abstract patterns and floral prints spilled out of the drawers. I remember the slippery coolness of the silks, faint traces of perfume clinging to them [Tabu and Maja soap on my mother’s, Wind Song on my aunt’s]. We played for hours on end mixing, matching, mismatching, wrapping and imagining, whole rainy days sliding by. When we traded our scuffed saddle shoes for high heels, pulled on our gloves and wrapped ourselves in scarves, the world positively shivered with excitement and anticipation of …something, even though we weren’t quite sure what that something was.
Our lives have proceeded in different directions and we hardly ever see each other these days. I now have a drawer full of scarves and one or two pairs of gloves, vintage and never really worn, at least not by me. They remain powerful talismans though. Sure, most days I count it a success if I leave the house fully dressed but some days, some days, I still feel like Paris.
I make the trip between Buffalo and Rochester on a fairly regular basis. Repetition does not help this commute but I have to admit, however grudgingly, that it can be a pretty ride. Yesterday’s observations: geometric fields with the stumps of last year’s corn poking through the snow like grizzled stubble on an angular cheek, herds of deer, a hawk, a blue heron, a flock of wild turkeys and a new crop--thousands of Canada geese.
My Grandmother had a saying for every occasion. She would always begin the same way. “In Italian,” she would say, “this rhymes, but I will tell it to you in English so you understand.” One of her favorite sayings was “It is better to have a red face once than a stomachache for the rest of your life.” I must have heard it a thousand times and, although I had recent need of this advice, I failed to use it.
About two years ago, my brother-in-law, Tom, brought what we remembered as two sketchbooks of his original cartoons to Greg and Meera’s wedding rehearsal party so that our children could see them. [A parenthetical is in order here. This occasion was the first time The Sprite ever met Tom. Mona Lisa and The First Born had met him once or twice a long time ago, when they were very small. He was then and remains to them something of a fictional character—like the Tooth Fairy or Harry Potter. In other words, they doubt his existence and, as he lives in California, it is hard to refute that position effectively.] He offered to let us take them home so that the girls could peruse them at their leisure. We resisted, he insisted. Why did we resist? Let’s just say that things have a way of getting lost in our house. No, not just the usual things like socks but books, clothes and the occasional piece of furniture. [No, really.]
Years passed. Not unreasonably, Tom eventually wanted his cartoons back. This is where things got sticky. We knew they were in the house…but where? A few weeks of searching yielded one sketchbook but we all had vivid memories of there being two. The calls kept coming. What were we going to do? What were we going to say? How could we explain that his life’s work was…well, somewhere…somewhere safe but elusive? Disaster. We couldn’t admit that we couldn’t find it so we kept searching. Everywhere. Frantically. We found old LPs,.a bernouse, many single gloves, stuffed animals long believed to have been misplaced, baby shoes, finger paintings, Met’s paraphenalia and Petey the taxidermy squirrel but no cartoons. Unable to find them, tempers ran high. Remarks were passed. Accusations made. Fingers pointed. We avoided answering the phone, pulled the shades and fretted. And searched. It was not a pretty scene.
With the sole remaining unsearched places being between the lathe and plaster, we had to come clean. I carefully wrapped the sketchbook and wrote Tom a long note admitting everything. How we couldn’t be trusted. How our house is really a pathway to another dimension where things disappear. How we really, truly would find the second book. And then I sent it. And then he called. And he said…there was only one book! One book. Not two. One. So, for people who make their livings communicating, we sort of blew it. You were right again, Gram. È una volta migliore avere un viso arrossato che avere uno stomachache per il resto della vostra vita. Meglio tardi, che mai.
What I’m thinking: The First Born is on spring break and, when she returns to school, has only 9 days of classes as a high school student then exams, internship, commencement. It is hard for me to comprehend the passage of time on such a grand scale but she is certainly ready for the next great adventure.
Sites I like: I had hoped to accomplish some work on my site this weekend but alas, that was not to be. It remains on the “goals” list so, until I am able to figure out my blogroll/links area, I will have to mention sites as I surf. One of my favorite organizations is the Project for Public Spaces. I first learned of this group while on the board of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Their site makes for good reading, chock full of interesting information.