I had a lovely Saturday visiting several Westside-ish landmarks (& friends) with mom. We started with brunch at Ray’s at LACMA, followed by the Granny Squared exhibit covering the entire Craft and Folk Art Museum building. I come from a line of women who know their way around a crochet hook, knitting needle, embroidery thread, and any other textile known to women. In fact, if all my aunt’s afghans were sewed together, they could cover a whole skyscraper…or two.
After oohing and ahhing at the Granny Squared exhibit, we left to meet mom’s friends for lunch at Lucy’s El Adobe. My LACMA brunch (egg over pork belly over grits) had barely settled an hour before we ordered lunch but neither me or mom mentioned anything. We just quietly ordered and ate our chicken tostadas. Well, actually, we weren’t quiet – there was lots and lots of talking.
The three women shared so many great family stories over lunch. We all marveled that Mom’s friend “J” had family book that listed names, dates and biographies of all her family members dating back to 1700s. Neither her niece or nephew showed any interest. I offered to take it — it breaks my heart when family stories go unwanted.
J’s friend “C” told about her own mom, a milliner to the silent movie stars in the 1920s. When C was just a little girl, her single mother moved the family to a homestead in the Lucerne Valley. She recounted many crazy stories about that early homestead — such has having to hoist an umbrella over the Thanksgiving dinner table as the new roof leaked during a rainstorm. Throughout her storytelling, she kept wishing she had asked her mother more and more questions.
I ask my mom so many questions for this exact reason. I take every opportunity to jog her memory of some obscure moment from way back when. Mom is the keeper of family stories, which makes me Story-Keeper-In-Training. I work hard to leave no question unanswered but I know this is quixotic. There will always be unanswered family questions. As we grow old, every age brings a new lens with which to see life, with which to wonder…but just because I can’t have all the answers, doesn’t mean I won’t spend time trying. : )
So, while many Angelenos spent Saturday beating the heat at the beach, at the pool, at the USC game in the Coliseum, or at Grand Park’s Exxopolis, I was grateful to spend it quietly stitching stories together with two septuagenarians and one new octogenarian…kinda like my own Grannies squared. : ) I’m a girl who wants to know every nook and cranny of her hometown. What better way to explore the city than with the stories of three women who have professionally traversed this terrain for over 50 years? Their stories provide a better road map for moving through Los Angeles than…well, let’s just say there’s no app for that.
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