Some days I feel surrounded by the voices of benevolent ghosts: things people told me loudly, murmured politely, whispered sadly, come back in the form of advice I give to others or to myself, strange moments when I suddenly know where I'm going to find what I'm seeking, tiny confidence-builders at indecisive moments, flashes when I suddenly know where I'm going to find what I'm seeking. Those last are particularly helpful in the case of, say, keys, or files I let someone else put away, and of course, museums. When a museum gets ready for a special "loaner" exhibition, or opens a new wing, old friends and sentimental favorites are often relocated to less prestigious quarters, and it's work to track them down. This is one reason I love the Frick Collection,and recommend it without reservation to visitors to New York. It doesn't change. It grows, it adapts, true, but it's too compact to get lost in. After all, it was once an exquisite private home.
Those old enemies, Cromwell and More, look balefully, if not at one another, then slyly towards one another. When they sat for Herr Holbein, did they know their afterlives would include the Frick Collection in New York City? and, more to the point, one another?
Before you leave, check that you've got everything you brought with you, grown-ups would advise Little Me. Nevertheless I've strolled through life like Hansel and Gretel, leaving behind me a trail of hats, gym clothes, single sneakers, umbrellas, gloves, boyfriends, wallets, sweaters, rings, pens, sunglasses... Driving out to Flintstone Manor once I arrived late, distraught and exhausted, the shortcut I usually take off the bridge having mysteriously vanished in a burst of energetic infrastructure maintenance. Note to self: all roads in Queens County do not lead "out." Many lead to dead ends or cul-de-sacs. Especially when I'm in a hurry.
I keep an umbrella stand by my front door and one day last year it was empty. No, I had not been entertaining kleptomaniacs, it had been raining for two weeks, and I'd left all five umbrellas in cabs and on buses.
Well, that won't happen again, I told myself as I bought still another clear plastic bubble umbrella, and resolved to look before exiting every single time. A few weeks later, I had a generous stock of beautiful designer umbrellas, all from cabs and buses, most grabbed in a hurry without looking as I got out, some pushed on me by drivers who didn't want to go to the trouble of a lost&found report. And all over town, I'm sure our umbrellas are being put to good use.
Sweaters and jackets - "Bring a sweater!"calls Mom. Well, the lightweight casual jacket that stayed on in Lyon without me last fall needs replacement, and here, not a moment too soon, is the Brooks Brothers sale, many goodies reduced as much as 60%. Brooks Brothers clothing has staying power.
I'm particularly fond of their linen slacks, and once in a while - only on sale - I treat myself to a pair of shoes. Some good-looking heeled loafers are on sale this year. I saw a jacket I really liked, except it was waxed. Not for town, then. I'll keep checking sales, though. If the summer's as hot as the spring has been, I won't need the jacket till next October, but of course then, weather or no weather, I'll only be able to find ski clothes and stuff suitable for tropical vacations. I hear my grandmother's voice when I look at the BB dresses: "If that's too "staid" for me, it's definitely not for you." I found my first gray hairs at fifteen, Nana blamed Mom's side, and after all these years of coloring, now I check every morning to see if I've gone bald yet. I once thought gray hair over a young(ish) face could be dramatic. No.
Still liking that jacket, though, but if I get it I'll still need something lightweight. Goodness, I may have to go shopping. I actually had a dream a few years ago in which Nana told me where I'd find the pants for a jacket I'd grabbed on sale, and she was right.
As I look at my desperately bowed kitchen shelves, Mom's voice in my head goes on to ponder the mystery of the still young decade: how do all these people on Househunters International find contractors and workers in a foreign country, who not only show up but get the renovation and repairs done before the cameraman returns three months later? Without even speaking the language? And Pop's voice replies, "The secret ingredient is money."
Hmm, this time the secret ingredient may include putting the jacket replacement project on hold. I still have all those flowered shirts to return. Stay tuned.