Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ila's house

Tom and I were in Provo today to do a short spiel on study abroad in the Freshmen Honors meeting. When we were done, we drove up to Oak Hills where we lived for ten years. To our surprise Ila Wheelwright's house was for sale. I think her family has kept it since she died, but now it's up for grabs.

"I would like to live in Ila's house," I told Tom. "Not because I like the house--I always thought it was rather ugly (despite the gorgeous views), but because I'd like to live with Ila's ghost."

Ila was the old lady who wore purple. She also wore wigs. She owned a wardrobe of wigs including a red one and a blonde one. She wore lots of makeup with bright red lipstick and nail polish. She sang soprano with a vibrato that could knock you sideways. She spoke her mind. She was always herself. She was very tall for a short woman.

Once the Relief Society had all the older women bring clothes and aritifacts from when they were young to display in the cultural hall. Ila had a flapper dress, but even more interesting was a photograph in a baroque frame of her at nineteen in a mountain pool of water. "That's me," she said when I picked it up.

"What I want to know is what are you wearing?" I said.

"Nothing!" And she laughed her horsey laugh.

"Really?" I said. "Who took the picture?"

More laughing. "My boyfriend," she said. "I told him to take it."

That was Ila: the closest thing to a Mormon bohemian I can think of. I know that after she was widowed, she stayed up all hours of the night reading and looking through magazines and slept through the morning. Her yard was completely fenced in, but sometimes the gate was open and she'd be in a house dress smelling the roses in her chaotic garden. "Smell this one," she would say. "And this one." She always cut a rose or two for me to take home.

I would like to have Ila as my guide into old age.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My consistent good taste

Elliot turned four today, and Sam and Sarah invited us to a barbecue/birthday party for him along with Sarah's parents and an assortment of friends with cute offspring. Earlier in the day I went to Target to buy him a Tonka truck. I bought him a Tonka truck last year and it was a huge hit. Could I be so bold as to say it was his favorite gift?

I have a Tonka fire truck at my house, which is also a popular item.

Anyway, I stood in front of the trucks to decide which was the BEST one, because I'm a competitive and self-absorbed, nasty person (or because I like to bring joy and pleasure to my grandchild--choose one). I found a red one that made noises and had moving parts but then I saw the garbage truck which also made noises and had moving parts plus two garbage men and it was BIGGER than the red truck. I chose the garbage truck. Then I remembered that I had not bought Louis a present for his first birthday in May, so I also bought the red truck for Louis.

Sam brings all the presents out to the back yard, and after the children beat up a pinata, Elliot opens his presents. He is stunned with the garbage truck. I read this as pleasure. Sam walks up to me, smirking: "You bought him that same truck last year." Crap.

"I'm so embarrassed," I say, but that might have been overstating things. Over medicated people don't get embarrassed, nor do we cry. "Go get the truck I bought for Louis," I tell him.

I think Elliot liked it. It's all a blur to me now. I know that Louis played with it for the rest of the evening, so I know he liked it.

Then Sam brings out the red two-wheeler with training wheels. I can state positively that it was the favorite gift this year. Remember your first bike?

Here's the thing: at this writing I cannot identify the truck I originally bought for Louis. I'm sure it was red. Other than that, I don't know. So, I can never again buy a Tonka truck for Elliot or Louis without making a phone call first. And I don't make phone calls.

Later, we stopped by Charles and Erica's where they were hosting a Lindsay open-house for Anne. There I learned that I had bought the same present two years in a row for Harrison, for Max and for Anne.

Why change when you've found the perfect gift?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What is the difference between me and Audrey Hepburn??

We both have bikes. We both have Yorkshire terriers in our basket. We both have pleasant smiles. One of us is about four dress sizes smaller than the other one. But one of us is also dead.

So I win.

I didn't intend to take a vacation from blogging. It just happened. Tom and I went on our vacation to New Jersey and spent some time in THE city as well, and I came home thinking I should be living in said city (and I don't mean Hoboken). So I've been whining and complaining and fault finding, spitting and kicking small animals. Who wants to read about such insufferable behavior?

I stole Audrey Hepburn's picture off Erica's blog. She is very much into bikes these days. Not the bikes that require latex costuming but bikes that allow you to wear regular clothes, even dresses.

Tom was the photographer and is lashing himself for cutting out my feet. I won't let him re-shoot. Besides, I have cankles.

It is August, the saddest month of summer. The anticipation is gone. It's here, now, today. Go do something fun. Go outside. Go. Go. Go.