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Showing posts from January, 2010

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Dreaming of France: 29 Avenue Rapp

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Scrolling through my Instagram& finding this image, I’m surprised I haven’t shared this particular French door for Dreaming of France before. 29 Avenue Rapp boasts what might be the most famous door in Paris. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful.



Designed by Jules Lavirotte in 1901 it’s a striking example of Art Nouveau architecture and features the very risque sculpted Adam and Eve above the door. I first saw the building in the movie Gigi as the building where Gigi's Aunt Alicia lives and where Gigi goes for her lessons in how to catch the right man. Preferably someone rich like Gaston.

Naturally when Mark and I visited Paris, we had to pay the building a visit. What struck us about 29 Avenue Rapp was how many people just walk on by, as if were nothing special, just another old stone edifice, the door, just another entry. I think even if I lived on the block, even if I saw the building and its door every single day, I would still have to pause and take it in. Not a whole …

Mum, Dad and Me. What Year Is This?

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Judging by the short bleached blonde hair, the Mexican peasant blouse I'm wearing (I'm the one in the middle)and the lovely couch my parents and I are sitting on, I'm going to say 1974. I recognize the hair cut from a picture of me in Vegas on my 21st birthday and I turned 21 in 1974. Which makes my mum, the babe on the left 49! She was pretty, wasn't she? My dad was 10 years older. When they met, she was 20 and he was 30, and everyone warned her to stay away from him. But he was quite the catch - he had that whole dashing, debonnaire British officer and a gentleman thing going for him. Add in that he spoke French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic fluently and she didn't stand a chance!

But She's Not There

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I went to see my mum today. It's been awhile. There was no one in the lobby so I signed in and went down the hallway scanning the doors for her name. Lots of elderly and infirm folks wandering the hallways in wheelchairs and walkers. Plenty of nurses in their greens carrying clipboards and pushing carts filled with meds. But no mum. She wasn't in her room, just a silver-framed picture of my dad and another one of my mother and me with Russell when he was a baby indicated the room belonged to her.
I wandered down the hall and found a nurse.
"I think she's with her son walking around" she told me.
No she wasn't. I'd seen my brother's name signed out on the visitor log over an hour ago.

I found her in the family room. A few round tables on rollers crowded with liters of coke and the lunches that family members visiting their loved ones, almost always women—mothers, grandmothers, rarely men— brought in. My mother was sitting apart from them all, alone in her …