My Great Aunt Sara lived in Los Angeles and I would go visit every once in awhile for a couple of days or a week at a time when I was a kid. We didn’t live all that far away from Los Angeles maybe 30 minutes on a good traffic day, but it might as well have been a thousand miles away as it was like a completely different universe. My little community of West Covina (a bedroom community back in the day) was relatively dull comparatively to the City of Angels.
My Great Aunt Sara lived in an apartment in a well-kept, but modest neighborhood. She walked or took the bus everywhere and she could because she knew the city well (and in those days the city was different – alive, but not scary). When I visited her we would go on great outings – here, there and everywhere to all the kitschy places the real residents of the city knew about and frequented. Great Aunt Sara was the one who took me to see Doctor Doolittle in the movie theater, back when movie theaters were still grand and majestic. She was the one who patiently taught me some basic piano skills on the piano in her apartment. She was the one who gave me book after book to read and introduced me to authors such as Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens. My Great Aunt Sara was a maven of culture and she really understood the value of living in a place that breathes spirit and character…Los Angeles used to be like that back in her day.
I don’t remember too many things from my childhood, but I so clearly remember a number of memories with my Great Aunt Sara. I wish I knew her as my grownup self…I wish I knew then how powerful a role model she was. She was fierce.
It is a shame how much you only recognize in retrospect. I wish I knew then what I know now about the power of having a fierce role model who takes the time to invest in you. I think I would have lapped up more of the experience, lingered in the moments and imprinted all the lessons more concretely in my mind. At least they were cemented in my heart…I always knew my Great Aunt Sarah cared uniquely about me.
It won’t be too many years down the road until I become someone’s great aunt. I will try and introduce them to the types of wonderful experiences my Great Aunt Sara introduced me to; and, while they may not fully appreciate how fabulous they are in the moment, they will in retrospect. And maybe…just maybe…they’ll remember me in their heart.
Day six hundred and sixty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da