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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pasedena Mini-Reunion

Clockewise starting with my beautiful Aunt in her buttercup yellow top: Grace,
Bill & Yvonne, Charlaine, Wanda, Donna, Reilly and Tereek
 I got a message from my cousin Yvonne that she and her hubby Bill, and our DC cousins Wanda Wheeler and her Dad were flying in to meet up, in Pasadena. There in Southern California dwell our Uncle & Aunt, Elmer and Grace whom I haven't seen in far longer than I care to admit. Oh, and I thought it was just them but seems my cuz Donna who last I knew lived in Texas now lives just one condo over from her parents.  So bip, bop, boop, I booked a flight to Burbank and a room in Pasadena for Friday night.

Words can't describe how wonderful it was to set eyes on my Aunt Grace after so many years. She's as wonderful as ever and her eyes are soulful, holding memories of my mother and my grandmother Adele. Family get-togethers mean time to review our family stories & history. We gathered around Donna's computer and entered the magical mystery world of Ancestry.com.  There are always surprises just around the historical corner and Aunt Grace sprang a couple of them on us.            

There are always surprises just around the historical corner and Aunt Grace sprang a couple of amazing ones.   First - just below - there is a photo of my maternal grandmother Adele in her prime. Look at my beautiful, independent & sharp grandmother! I've always thought she was ahead of her time. She held off marrying until she was around 30 yrs old because she was picky but also because she valued her independence, Adele was a self-sufficient seamstress. Look at the light summer weight dress, sun hat and those sharp shoes. She was stylin'. She saved her money and once she even bought a house with it, much to the anger of my grandpa, who thought 'women shouldn't do such things without consulting their husbands!'

Adele Rachel Carter
Ah, and a more shocking Grace brought out this only photo of any of my great grandparents I've ever laid eyes on - Helen Philips with unknown granddaughter (does that be-ribbon'd tot not have the cutest little chicken legs?). Helen was my maternal grandfather's mother. This photo blew me out of the water. There must be more such photos somewhere, and I aim to find them.

Helen Philips & granddaughter (daughter?)
Back to the rest of our gang. Here are Bill and my Uncle Elmer. Haven't seen Elmer in ages and he hasn't changed a bit. Example: Friday we greeted each other with a traditional hug while on Saturday morning Elmer drew back, quipping, "I hugged you yesterday!". Yeah, that'll do us for another decade! Hahahaha, I do love Elmer with all his southern charm.
Bill and Elmer
 On Friday evening cousins Donna, Wanda and Wanda's dad Reilly and I went out for a nice Thai dinner.

Here's a parting group selfie from Saturday afternoon, as several left to head home. Present are our girlie cousins Joniann (lower left) and Charlaine (lower right) who drove up from San Diego.

Did I mention I have a wonderfully spoiled & somewhat fuzzy cousin too? 
What a fun & totally impromptu mini-reunion we had. It continued into Sunday after I left. There is a concensus of sorts that our next meet up will be in October (update:January) in Arizona to see our Uncle Matt, Aunt Grace and Cousin Rhonda. Rhonda is soon to make a big move from the Bronx to Arizona! I think someone has had enough of snow.  

Pretty fishes at Pasadena Thai Restaurant

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Music Circus

It is already half way through the annual six selection Music Circus season. Thus far I have ushered, seated n' greeted four times for three musicals: Legally Blonde, Hello Dolly (twice ushered) and Seussical the Musical.

This is my second year as a full time - as opposed to an usher 'on call' for Sunday nights - so of course this year ALL Sunday night performances were canceled.

Alas, chortle if you will, such is my fate.  But head usher Elliot to the rescue; the Sunday night team were not completely abandoned, but was merged with the
Sunday matinee team.

 All Sunday ushers turned in a list of the season's plays we wanted to usher. I - lucky as per usual - got all the ones I wanted, plus one. No wonder I always celebrate how fortunate a being I am.

Three musicals in, I'd say Legally Blonde (new) and Hello Dolly (beloved oldie), were on the ball for the Music Circus' usual standards of great showmanship and entertainment. Seussical (2nd of 3 new musicals this year) was my 'bonus'.  Really, I had only a minor interest in it because I'd no idea what it was about other than the works of Dr. Seuss, who in my own youth was the J.K.Rowling of my kindergarten peers.

I had mulled over what Sessical would portray the various stories, concluding the show would tell the various stories strung together like the old style disjointed musicals with zero plot line and lots of music. Yes, I'd lots of preconceived notions and, as I have come to expect - I was wrong. The Seusical Matinee was so full up with kids and adults I took a seat on steps next to a main aisle. I was so close to the action that at one point after upending a pail of autumn leaves on poor, forlorn Horton the elephant, the Cat in the Hat upended his pail, dumping the remaining leaves on me!

That brings me back to Horton, with two Dr. Seuess stories to his credit: Horton Hears a Who, and Horton Hatches the Egg. That pair of stories were the centerpiece of 'Seussical'. Spoilers here for those who were never 5 years old - in Horton Hatches the Egg, the sweet pachyderm was roped into baby sitting the single egg of a notoriously lazy bird named Mazie. Poor Horton steadfastly protected someone else's egg through thick & through thin, through storms, through kidnapping and sea-sick ridden ocean voyages, while lazy Mazie gallivanted about. Here's my point - I got all teary. There I was sitting in a massive, dark audience, tears trickling down my cheeks in sympathy with the imaginary Horton the Elephant. Oh yes, nothing like growing up to give one a new perspective on an old tale. I hadn't realized there were so many layers to that simple story. I dried my eyes by the musical's end and cannot believe how much I got out of this 'children's' story, and if you tell anyone, I will deny it.

And for the record... I kept every leaf the Cat in the Hat dumped on my noggin. They'll decorate my home come Autumn, and maybe generate a new tear of remembrance or two. Hey, California can use all the moisture it can get.
Cat in the Hat Leaves of Autumn