Monday, September 29, 2014

Notes on last summer

Grammatically correct Bangkok graffiti.


Old editors don't die. They just wander the world critiquing graffiti. Never mind the expression. It's typical of the trade. The Language Barrier's Itinerant Editor is actually expressing pleasure over the correct use of the apostrophe. Thus we are going back to Bangkok for more. Before we leave, I have much to do. That is why, of course, I am doing a blog post which I must begin with a lament.

I blew it! Thea Bella and Kristiana stayed with us for five weeks in Florida this summer but I kept only the barest record of their wonderful visit on my external memory, otherwise known as this blog. Now there is not, for the cold winter nights ahead, a reliable path back to those sweet memories, only flitting recollections of the quirky details, things five-year-old Thea said and did. So, for my future self, here are three memories. May they lead to more.

Every night, Thea would invite me to come listen to the bedtime story, Harry Potter. At that point, they were nearing the end of book two. I would bring my pillow and lay on the end of the bed and Kristiana read to us. She is a fabulous reader. Very dramatic with perfect, distinct voices for each character. It was very entertaining. Thea's memory is much better than mine. She knew the plot and all the characters by name and the reading seemed to energize her. With the irrepressible curiosity of a five-year-old, she asked a lot of questions, all the while doing things like standing on her head and bouncing on the bed. That took some getting used to as, being grandma and all, I became instantly drowsy and was happy to drift in and out under the spell of the words. It was a bedtime story after all. In any case, this endearing nightly ritual became, for me, one of the defining moments of the summer.

Another defining event was how Thea, being so enamored by the sometimes even 90° water of the Gulf, refused to come out even long enough to eat lunch. She'd run ashore, grab her sandwich, give grandpa his, then they'd have to run back into the water. She would only eat standing in the waves. By the end of the summer she was snorkeling, beginning to anyway, and fearless in the surf. 

Mesdames K. and T.
An electric evening at the jetty

Then there were the amazing, wild tales she and grandpa made up about everything. I wish I'd recorded some of them. For example, they discussed reflections in mirrors. The little Florida house has many. She wondered if the Theas in the mirrors were real. That story almost got out of hand. They pondered which was the real Thea. Was Mirror Thea the real Thea? Was she her reflection? I almost pulled the plug on that one because, for the one moment Thea considered that, her eyes took on the appearance of dark, faraway vortices. Luckily, the next moment she rejected the idea and declared that, without a doubt, she was the real Thea and the Mirror Theas, each and every one of them, were their own separate persons. Naturally on the last day, when she and Mom were preparing to leave for the airport, she went around saying good-bye to them all and wishing them well.

As for our time in LA with M. Lee's mom, way back in July, at some point I will also do a post on it. M. Lee even requested that I do. A first! For the record, I started one before Thea and Kristiana arrived, also back in July, but it still languishes in draft. When Mesdames Thea and Kristiana came, blam-o! I did manage my morning five minute write, before Thea got up, but that's about it. My hat is off to all parents with fledglings in the nest. I think we forget, once our kids are launched, how totally engaging they are. There's never a second. It would be 9 or 10 PM before I could finally sit down to write about the day, then suddenly I'd wake up disoriented, exhausted, laptop gone dormant, cicada singing away in the mangrove dark and I could only toddle off to bed, the day gone and unwrit. So for now, minimal as it is, this will have to do.

Shane, Lee and Kathy at the Getty - LA

1 comment:

Roy said...

Little kids are so cool. When Garrett was about 1.5 or 2 I was carrying him past a mirror. He looked at it, saw the two of us reflected in it, and grinned at me and said "I see ghosts."

Are you still here in 'merica?