Let me tell you some stories now, while I feel good:)
My Grandma Roman, my Mom's mother, passed lots of things down to me. At least, I like to think she did. Grandma Roman was a librarian- she used to send my brother and sister and I boxes of books, she was the one who sent me my first Harry Potter book (I'm obsessed...little known fact). She had a great sense of humor and a way of connecting with others even when she was grumpy as hell, which was often. When my sister and I were barely in middle school and high school respectively, Grandma gifted us tee shirts which she stated were not "In those extra jumbo large fruitcake sizes you kids like". Grandma Roman was sassy. One of my favorite pictures of her is one that Dad took during one of our last visits out to see her in CA before she had her stroke. In it, she is making an obscene gesture at the camera after my Dad called her a kiwi (I'll get to that reference in a minute). Once, when she was in the hospital after her stroke(Dad, correct me if I'm telling the story wrong) she looked at my Dad and said "Cliff, rub my leg!", and he responded with "Margaret, pull my finger!", she just laughed. Grandma Roman LOVED bright colors- pinks, blues, greens and especially yellow. My living room is now yellow and it reminds me of her house which was decorated in myriad yellow shades. Once, just before she passed, we went out to visit her and I was carrying this crazy handbag with bright pink peonies on it trimmed in lime green leather. Right up Grandma's ally. Grandma caught sight of it and declared that she HAD to have it. Mine was very dirty from use or I would have given it to her so we took her, wheelchair and all, to Macy's to find one like it. We found the exact bag and my Grandma and I carried matching bags:) She was known to wear lime green pants and a tee-shirt with giant slices of citrus fruit on it, which is what brought on the kiwi joke.
But one thing that Grandma Roman passed on to me that I treasure now more than anything, is her scarves. Grandma wore a different scarf every day. Silk, always, and in BRIGHT VIBRANT JOYOUS colors and always tied fashionably around her neck. When she passed away a few years ago, my cousins, aunts, Mom, sister and I split up her scarf collection. One of those scarves was even purchased by my sister and I with her the day we bought the handbag. Until now, her scarves sat folded in a drawer of their own in my bedroom, slightly forgotten about. The day I found out I was going to need a transplant, knowing that that meant I would lose my hair, I went to that drawer and pulled out those scarves. They still held the scent of her perfume. I tied one on over my hair and looked in the mirror and cried. I would like to share those scarves with you:
This gift from her has given more comfort and strength than I could have ever imagined. Thank you Grandma, I think of you when I tie one on and smell your perfume.
Maggie and I met during the first week of 6th grade, became fast friends and have stayed that way since. Maggie is full of energy, full of love and full of life. She has been one of the strongest supports and most steadfast believers. She is a born nurse and I believe damn good at what she does. She was the first friend that I called when I was diagnosed- she left the bar she and people she was hanging out with and came over and sat with me on my bed and cried. She was in my wedding. She texts me funny stories and jokes and says outlandish things. She is a pillar of friendship and feminine strength. She is fucking gorgeous. Like, if she weren't married to the best man ever (besides P) I would set her up with every nice guy I met. Everyone should have a friend like Maggie.
A month or so ago, Maggie and I went to the mall on a lark to get her eyebrows threaded and see a trashy vampire movie that I swear to God isn't called Twilight (uh, maybe). On that day, we wandered into Hermes to look at the scarves they had hung in the window. One stood out beyond the rest. It was bright pink and when opened, was printed with angels, music notes, a treble and base clef and stars. IT was beautiful. And fancy.
The Sunday before we left for Houston, Maggie presented me with a goody bag with books, lip balm (or nipple cream, remind me to tell you THAT story sometime), a lullaby, and The Scarf.
In college, I had a mild obsession with that cult brand of brands, Vera Bradly. Wallets, eyeglass cases, handbags, watches. You name it, I loved it. Bright ass colors, floral designs, sign me up. One Christmas a few years ago, my brother and sister gave me a Vera scarf that I had admired with my Mom. It is bright pink (notice a pattern here?) and is decorated with songbirds and roses which remind me of the roses that were on the walls in the room we used to stay in at my Nan's when we were kids. I wear it and think of E and J.
Fall into the Gap
Like every college student, I needed a job in the summertime to make some extra dough. For a while I worked at a law firm in the summers (Hi Beth!) and loved it, but during the school year it was impossible to work there consistently. So, I got a job at Old Navy with a friend (Hey Honor!) down on Pier 70 on the riverfront. After a few months of being cursed out and witnessing fights, I requested a transfer to the mecca of college preppiness, The Gap. I LOVED working at the Gap. The hours were great, location (Walnut Street) was fantastic and the employee discount was the cat's balls. On payday, I would gather up my clearance rack purchases (um, HELLO 30% off of $5.00 merch!) and outfit myself. Just before I left that job to work as a nanny (another job I loved), I bought this scarf. It was meant to be a headband but I never really wore it until that one summer in the Hamptons (looonnng story).
I love this scarf because it feels good on my velcro-head right now. Thanks Gap:)
Being wrapped in these things, these talisman, make me think of happier times. It makes me feel like I'm wrapping myself in the stories, great and small, of my life and my ancestors. For this, I am supremely thankful.