My First Glass Of Champagne

May 3, 2014

I dropped off some mulberries I had collected from my favorite Farmers Market near the beach in Santa Monica….at one of my dear friend’s Palisades house…as they bring back memories of childhood for him

….he was mad at me for going out of my way to do it….but Mulberries are REALLY the caviar of berries (something I have Never experienced until he told me about them) …as they NEVER appear in any Market even Whole Foods or Bristol Farms….and are VERY seasonal…and really are rare..as opposed to Blackberries, Stawberries…

..but I know they bring back such memories from his childhood in Iraq…….

Childhood memories ARE such a wonderful special thing (well if one has had kind parents)…..

my Grand “Aunt Mary”….meant so much to me…as she was the one who exposed me to the “magic” (Falling Leaves) of LIFE….

…..and Quite Honestly if I died tomorrow…I can honestly tell you…my Life has been so blessed…… I could never be happier…..

(an aside…my two roommates…well I never see them as they are SOO busy….I am so blessed by knowing ….they are 20 something…they both are actors of acclaim…they will be VERY well known in a gnat’s breath…

he as the Wonderful Wonderful writer he is ….

and she as the Fabulous Actress she is…..but what I truly admire is how HARD they both work…toward their goal…..which is a Butterfly floating in the distance away from their grasp…..

we had a wonderful lunch,….to catch up on our lives…….. at the Chateau Marmont today…..a vintage Hollywood hotel that has not changed that much…still has the old push button light switches in the Men’s Room…)

Aunt Mary had wonderful Treasure Hunts at her summer home “Forest Lodge” in Northern Wisconsin…

(as a wedding gift she gave my parents the tip of the mile long peninsula “Burgundy Point”…across the bay from Forest Lodge…where all of us children grew up in the summers)

through the pachysandra…to the “Faeries Stump”…where we would follow a string…as kids…to find these wonderful small wrapped gifts ….from Tiffany’s or the local Cable Market (Rondeau’s)……………

she wintered in her grand house in Florida…and spent the Fall in St Paul…and THAT house was full of wonderment….a hidden passage way from the Marble Ballroom (where Mom use to Charleston and Black Bottom ) in what was the basement to the garages…so her chauffeur did not have to go outside in the winter …

the grand heavy wooden balustrade that led up from the first floor…was carved by convicts back in the day

the walls imported from a French or was it Swiss Chateau…

the house was built as a wedding gift for his wife….”Grand” Aunt Mary…by Theodore Griggs

(and the reason I say “Grand”…is that I use to get it wrong and call people “Great”…like nephews etc…but when you think of it….one does NOT have a “Great Father”…one first has a “Grand Father”…and then a “Great Grand Father”)

But Aunt Mary..well “Grand” Aunt Mary…I was always in awe of ..as she had NO airs….as wealthy as she was…..she was a shrewd business woman..loved to film….and had one of the first Kodak Movie cameras back when you had to wind them up……she owned a lot of Kodak stock …then was one of the only two major shareholders in Polaroid….back before women really got into investing in the stock market

the films she captured of Aunt Mimi…her daughter…and only child …where she wrote the script….had the Girl Scouts of Cable Wisconsin act in….well they were all silent films….but she built the sets..made the costumes..(with the aid of her help)…directed them…obviously produced them…and tho silent she like they did back then had visible written scenes…so you could know what was happening…..one movie was “Little Red Riding Hood”…where Aunt Mimi played Little Red…………

….she did needle point..painted in the upper floor of the boat house – where my photo of my blog.. ..”Dreams Of Forest Lodge” is shot from…..she made these fabulous…collages with shells….

which reminds me way after her death I came upon a box of her shells in THAT upper room of the Boat House ….which I have somewhere in my garage……

I must give them to a relative…probably my Beautiful Grand Niece Ona ….who when born looked like a Lesbian…which there is nothing wrong with as I am Gay…but I could just picture her in her Subaru (which I drive) driving in her oversized jeans and plaid shirt to her girl friends house ..

(isn’t Imagination wonderful…well maybe not for her dear parents so Scoozie L & Ohh)..as her name means…”Ocean”..I think….in Catalan…I think……(sigh) )

those films …I so hope were donated to the Smithsonian…as they were the First “Home Movies”…..EVER done…and by a WOMAN…….

she was Truly an Amazing human being…and as a Woman…was soo SOO far ahead of others …men and Especially women……

when my father’s and his brother Uncle Sumner’s parents died….due to their chauffeur driven car hitting a downed power line In Florida where they wintered…(Grand Mother was burnt to death..but Grandfather tho burned lived long enough for my Dad to leave Carleton College and travel down by train and visit in the hospital….and since my Grand did not die right away…Dad went on to enter a Ping Pong championship…which he won…………………………..before he brought their bodies back to St Paul…(and I don’t mean to sound heartless as I know Dad loved his parents…..in his way…..he never talked as much as my Uncle his brother did…and I don’t know if that has to due to Sumner being Gay…or what….)

but (Grand) Aunt Mary “adopted”…took in….. my Uncle and my Father..as she had been very close to my Grands

my Uncle Sumner got more out of this ….. as he was still at St Paul Academy in St Paul…and would travel to Aunt Mary’s houses…with her and her servants…… to Florida and Cable Wisconsin…(where she had two vegetable gardens…and her own dairy…the “Swiss” Cows she had I grew up with…they had the softest of ears)…he showed me the “secret” door that led in the St Paul house between his bedroom and Aunt Mimi’s……

the Fall of my Freshman year at Carleton…Aunt (scuzzie Grand Aunt) Mary invited me up ….for a visit….

it was a grey day…on the cold side…one of her maids….(they were always white back then…)…usually Scandinavian or Irish or German…………

I will never forget entering that house…

back then you would enter the VERY thick front door to go 3 feet in to another huge door….due to the winters and I guess boots and snow attire…..one of her maids…escorted me into the main Living room..as people back then had two….I guess a parlor and Living Room…..

it was Totally Magical…..she seated me taking my overcoat and said Mrs Griggs will be down soon….and it was the First house that had an elevator in it…this was back in 1964 when I first was there……….

..the fire in the Living Room was blazing……I was kinda scared …

then Aunt Mary came down…pushed by what one use to call her lady’s maid …… in her wheel chair as she had broken her hip the summer before…at a picnic she threw (not the right word as rich people do not “throw” parties)…on her picnic point at Forest Lodge…and MAN I have NEVER witnessed ALL soo many of her help running down…from the main house that was about a 5 minute walk a way……Tony and Hank appeared with a chaise…and she kept saying “Stop”…I am too heavy (she was a slight thing)

….with her humble (yet Regal) presence…the maid served hors d’oeuvres …serving Aunt Mary champagne

…and asked What I would like to drink….

Aunt Mary said “Hildie sevve him Champagne”…

whereupon Hildie said “Mrs Griggs he is NOT of age.

Grand Aunt Mary said “Hildie JUST serve him some Champagne”

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