Friday, June 17, 2011

The Paths We Cross: Back Down Memory Lane

At last census, there were 9,818,605 people in the county of Los Angeles.
What are the chances of crossing paths with a person you met 45 years ago who was married to your father’s brother’s wife’s nephew? Does that make you related? I’m thinking that at the time she would have been my cousin-in-law. Maybe not.
But it is amazing still of the paths we cross and the coincidences or the chance meetings that occur throughout our lives.

This week I attended a ‘Gold’ party at a very good friend’s house. My friend, whom I will respect her privacy, knows how to throw parties, and she’s a great cook, so when she sent the evite, I accepted, mainly to snag a slice of her pound cake and munch on her famous fried chicken. The night before the party, she reminded me to dig into my jewelry box and bring my old, unwanted and even broken gold jewelry. After getting dressed I dug through a dusty jewelry box with jewelry I kept saying I was going to get fixed, threw a few pieces in my cosmetic bag and headed over with the intention of socializing with old friends (I’m not recruiting, by the way for a Gold party, so please keep reading).

Several hundred dollars later, with a big smile and a happy tummy, in appreciation I handed the ‘Gold Vendor' a complimentary signed copy of my book. She read the cover, looked at me and said, ‘I know some Gants.’ I told her they were probably my relatives, so we began to draw a mental twig (not a tree, just a twig). It turned out that she was married to my father’s brother’s wife’s nephew. What was fun about this, was that she reminisced about their wedding reception, in 1966. I was present at the same reception, at the tender young age of five. But I remember it distinctly because my brothers played a prank on me that we still laugh about and remember to this day.

Because I was the only little girl there, I was allowed to sit in the living room with the grown ups. My mother had taught us that children should be seen and not heard, so I sat quietly with my hands in my lap while my two brothers, acting as tykes usually do, jumping, running and tussling, played outside.

A little while later my brothers, whispering, walked through the living room and called me into the kitchen, where laid out on the table were beautiful arrangements of hor d'oeuvres. My brothers turned to me and said politely, “Do you want some grapes?” Of course I said yes, pleased that they weren’t teasing me and that they were behaving quite nicely without my parents in the same room. They pointed to the dish of ‘grapes’ and stood back. Their immediate retreat should have been a hint and a half, but I was so impressed with their desire to ‘share’ that I took a handful and plopped them into my mouth. I turned around and looked at them both, and they were bent over laughing as hard as they could. They traumatized me, and to this day, I will not allow olives on my menu.

Back to my story: Again, it is amazing the paths we cross and the people we meet. My uncle is no longer married to his wife of 1966, and the Gold Vendor is no longer married to his ex-wife’s nephew. But she was such a nice and pleasant person, that I like to think that we were cousins at one time, reunited under the circumstances of chance.

When was the last time you took a walk down memory lane? Pick up the phone, call a loved one or friend, and make them smile with a sweet memory.

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