12 September 2008

Eloise at the Plaza, New York taken by me, 1998

There is a picture somewhere of me sitting on that marble and gold leaf table, at age 8, during my first visit to New York. How many 8 year olds who grew up in California know what the Plaza Hotel in New York City is?

"I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child. I live at the Plaza."

That's how it started. Every time.

On Fridays I usually write about a woman who inspires me, but somehow today I was compelled to talk about a 6 year old who is so firmly rooted in my childhood memories and perhaps even the development of my personality. If you know the story of Eloise and you know, you might be smiling now.

It was before Hollywood made her into a movie princess and before she went off on adventures to Paris and Moscow. It was just Eloise, just at the Plaza. My tattered copy is one of my prized possessions because attached to it is not only the story of this precocious child but the very fond memories of my dad reading every single word to me. And he did it every time. If I close my eyes, I can feel him next to me and almost feel the rhythmic movement of his chest as he read the punctuationless text - in a steady stream, with all the right accents and intonations. I have tried in my adulthood to recreate this but it is impossible.

This post and this little girl and the memories of my dad are even more profound now because I am going to be a mother and I can't imagine how to do this without him.

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