My mother grew up in Los Angeles, and when her best friend moved out of the area, my mom maintained her relationship with the best friend’s mother, Mrs. Marson.
Once every year or so, Mrs. Marson would pay us a visit. She was a retired schoolmarm, with a white bun of hair and a dignified manner about her. I remember thinking she was so sophisticated and worldly – this because each year she’d bring along a slide show of her most recent vacation, and she’d show us the pictures, telling us the funny stories behind each photo.
She always took vacations to exotic places, like China, or Norway, or Austria, and she always brought along her cello so she could play with any musically inclined locals she found along the way.
Not only was she a fearless world traveler, but she was a grammar expert. She taught me how to use apostrophes properly – it really isn’t hard, she told me, and she was right. She treated us kids like little grown ups, and my memory of this may be faulty, but I seem to remember that we rose to the occasion. We were expected to take an interest in her slide shows, and so we did.
My childhood self was in awe of her. She was tall, and elegant, and witty. And she’d been to practically every place there was to go in the world. At least that’s how it seemed to me.
I found myself thinking of Mrs. Marson over the past couple of weeks as we dragged our kids through museums and palaces, up mountains and through gorges, into and out of exotic restaurants.
Mrs. Marson would’ve loved our trip. I think she would be pleased to know her travelling lessons rubbed off on me. Also, she’d probably be happy to know that I can still use apostrophes properly when called upon.
We’re home; I have skabillions of photos to sort and download, but I’ll be back shortly with some highlights.