I thought of you today. You were an animal/vegetable/mineral/inevitable angel at a weird angle. You were the wind and dolphins rising. You were childhood. You were the turns I didn’t take, the musical chairs I did.
A vision of what you once were — Naughty girl hanging on a fence, daring my (now) aunt to come through the gate and join the family, hell bent for leather and laughs.
Hopeful girl, always trying to win favor with family, care taking, cleaning, scrubbing, currying, cooking, slaving, salving, solving, somewhere inside a Cinderella yelling.
Audition girl, tapping and whirling from hall to hall at the Shirley Templed, dimpled, frothy age of 10.
Audacious girl, dreaming of piloting a life, taking aviation ground school in an abbreviated college career, when most girls were busy baking and hemming.
Almost debutante girl, fox-trotting in a beige organza gown with an orange flower on your shoulder, a perennial soldier’s honey, summer dancer at outdoor Elitch’s Amusement Park and Gardens.
Devoted bride girl, who worked for her wedding and took the mantle of wife as a job and adventure, and whose mother showed up to the wedding with purple hair.
Young mother girl, on a winter beach at Lake Michigan, ever-watchful over a tiny daughter who was upside down, often both then and now.
Good humor girl, playing cards with visiting friends in the hospital, with a bandaged face after an eye operation, the all-seeing eye. Sleeping in a straight-backed chair, with her hurt back, in the hospital with me after my operation, braving the fires and earthquakes of Los Angeles, so that I would not be alone.
Middling mother girl, watching her children rise and fall like bread baking, unable to fix their various lacks of ingredients and temperatures, the many wrong kneadings and bruisings, both to them and herself.
Quintessential mountain/fairy tale girl, saving a hawk entangled on a deck chair by cooing to it, gently gathering it from the chair onto her arm, taking it through the house and out the back door, where she could release it majestically to sail away. Growing and Fixing everybody else.
Aging girl mother, halfway between a weeble and a whirling dervish, a top that keeps spinning in a world unraveling, and that still manages to spin the world.
This girl — you’ve made a life. You’ve made many lives. I watch your video — a vision of life support. Oscar-worthy. A contender. The Stuff of Life. Eye on the Universe. Almost unconsciously attached to the nerve endings of the galaxy, seer of what is and what is right and what should be, Dorothy and the Wizard and Toto rolled into one.