So what was so much fun? For a seven-year-old princess, a half-day of shopping and lunch out with Granny is right up there with a trip to the beach or a sleepover or the day we got the trampoline. I know this because, as we sat across from each other at Chili's today, my mind wandered back to another restaurant in another city in another century, in what seems now like another world. I was only five, and my funnest day ever was a trip to the elegant Marston Department Store in San Diego. My Grandma got me all dressed up in my best party clothes and drove me downtown for a morning of shopping, capped off by lunch in Marston's tea room. And the MOST FUNNEST thing was that Marston's put on a lovely fashion show during lunch, with live models that walked in between the tables and displayed the finest Chanel suits and evening wear from Givenchy and Yves St. Laurent. (In my barely five-year-old concept of appropriateness, I exclaimed to one of the models, "My, you ladies DO wear clothes!" Grandma reminded me of this until the day she died.) It was a fantasy for a little girl, and wonderful training for all those formal affairs to which we were treated in the mid-20th century. China teacups, starched napkins, tiny finger sandwiches and delicate petits-fours became the ornaments of my memory book, ones I treasure nearly fifty years later. My grandmother gave me the gift of feeling like royalty.
Well, we do things very differently in 2005, but there are still opportunities for giving the same gifts. My physical condition has not allowed me to recreate some of the experiences for my grandchildren that I would have liked, but I hope that as Molly leaves my home and moves to a place and a life where I am not a constant presence, she'll remember the tea party we had in my bed during my convalescence. . .the three Christmas Cookie Days she's shared while living at Granny's House. . .the candles and the spicy smells and the welcomes. . .and the funnest day ever at Kohl's and Target and Chili's.
I'll miss you, my dear Molly.