Loony says his favorite dreams are ones where he is finding stuff at estate sales, treasure trove after treasure trove of valuable vintage clothes to sell on eBay. It figures.
My favorite dreams are where I find new rooms in our house. Last night I dreamt I discovered an entire floor.
It was in bad shape with horrible carpet, peeling wallpaper, a room that several cats had taken up residence in and were using as a litter box, destroyed bathrooms, exposed pipes, ruined drywall, etc.
The rooms were fairly spare but there were remnants of former inhabitants, namely a large collection of crystals and seashells labeled with affirmations. It was a mess but all I saw was potential. I wasn’t at all disturbed by the condition because I knew that was just the surface, I could make it beautiful.
“Babe, I’m calling the bank for a loan, we have to get on is. I could fix this up and have tons of pole dancers visit and stay here!”
A friend said, “You are going to have to apply for 501c3 status to get around the city. They don’t like having new people come into the neighborhood,” and I was like, “Yes, I could start a charitable organization that sponsors traveling pole artists … underserved population … at risk … necessary public service.”
Can you tell I’ve been in the throes of fundraising?
My old friend Lauren arrived in the dream. She and her mother, Marcia, were visiting. I looked around to find the best spaces for them. One room belonged to The Professor a young man who didn’t look anything like a professor at all. Lauren jumped into his bed and cuddled while I examined a strange costume made out of vacuum hoses. I think it was a rhino. Then we went looking for more rooms.
The room with the cats had the best view. Lauren said, “I am dying to put this house into a movie, but I want to do it now, not in three years.”
That room had a bed on the floor and a really odd and beautiful stone footboard that I thought would make a better headboard. I lay down on it to see if it was comfortable (it wasn’t) but I figured it was something that a good mattress topper and cover would fix.
Then I woke up. I spent a good deal of time in bed traveling down memory lane as I remembered the early days of Lauren and Marcia, because when I think of make something into a home, I think of them. Their aesthetics have greatly influenced me and they have assisted me in whipping college apartments into shape.
I befriended Lauren on a camping trip when I was 13, I believe she was in her mid twenties. I think she thought of me as a little sister, perhaps a surrogate for her younger self. When she left town she put me in charge of her mother Marcia (then in her 50’s) and vice versa.
Marcia was newly divorced and discovering life as single lady, I was 13 and very interested in learning everything about being a woman. She and I were perfect for each other as we were both exploring our newfound femininity, it didn’t matter that there was a forty year age gap.
Every Sunday from then on Marcia picked me up with my giant bag of laundry (I didn’t have a washing machine at the time) and we had “Ladies Night.”
We taught ourselves how to cook, listened to music (Deep Breakfast, Liz Story, Ricky Lee Jones and BW Stevenson) and reveled in the beauty that was her home.
Man, I haven’t heard this song in ages.
She lived in the Mount Olympus neighborhood of Salt Lake City, perhaps my favorite neighborhood just off Wasatch drive. Her’s was a modest ranch style but with full wall windows that looked onto Mount Olympus and her garden that Mitzi tended with great love.
While simple, it was sumptuous with her cats (Sebastian and Birds), Lucy the dog, and the most delicate pearl grey wool carpet that we would lie on for hours. We spilled red wine and chocolate cake on that carpet, something that would have sent anyone else into a panic of cleaning, but Marcia just laughed and shrugged and said, “Oh well, it had to happen eventually.” The messes always got cleaned up without drama or bad feelings.
There was always a fire going in the winter with icicles that spanned from the roof to the ground. In the summer it was a riot of cosmos, iris, and hummingbirds. There were sexy mirrors and charcoal nudes, and velvet furniture. It was the opposite of any home I had ever grown up in.
Greg (Lauren’s then boyfriend) categorized her home as, “Nice, but not too nice,” meaning that while beautiful, we were never afraid to use it.
There was always food and wine. Her home was abundance personified. I guess you could say that she indulged me and at the age of 13, it was a perfect time for me. I was used to a more spartan life so I could enjoy the indulgences for what they were … treats. Nothing was off-limits, there wasn’t anything we couldn’t and didn’t talk about. I was going through puberty and had a million questions, each she answered with love and humor.
I turned 16 in that house and from that day on she handed me the keys to her very nice car and her wallet and would say, “Go get groceries.” I was eager to drive and she would send me out to fetch one egg from the grocery store, knowing how I loved driving the winding roads and listening to music.
Groceries were never plentiful at home so being able to go to the store and get anything I wanted was a treat. I would come back with groceries for fettuccine primavera (our favorite), Hagen Daaz ice cream and Koala sodas. It was abundance personified.
Marcia taught me how to stand up all and “walk like a queen.” We belly danced, watched movies, laughed, cried, and grew up together. I met my best friend Kristen there. I lost my virginity in that house. I learned about how to build a community, how to honor loved ones with hospitality, how to create a household that is warm and inviting, how to give like the resources would never run out.
Marcia is now in her 80’s and amazing. She still backpacks all summer long and is as committed to her health and well-being as ever. She is my hero and the mother that I needed when I was 13 and still need now.
That time with her was like a dream; I was in high school, a time where kids can feel isolated and misunderstood, but I had my people. I had Marcia and Kristen and Lauren. I felt like part of a tribe of wonderful women. Those were formative years and the reason I am the way I am.
Everyone should be so lucky to grow up that way.