Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angles Childhood – Paris - Day 5 – I Had It All Planned
Thursday, 16 June 2011 10:08

The #84 bus by the Pantheon would take me to the Musee Jacqejart Andree with The Freres Caillebotte, but no! Pas de Service! The sign said, so where to go? 

The #89 took me to the Louvre so I now sit in a café by the Pei pyramid commissioned in 1984 and completed in 1989, rumored to have 666 panes of glass and some of us know what that might symbolize. The pyramid was at first hated by the French as was the Eiffel Tower nicknamed la dame de fer, the iron lady. It was completed for the 1899 world’s fair and built by Gustave Eiffel. 

Hundreds of people were milling around the Louvre so I knew, this is not the day to visit Mona Lisa and Winged Victory, my two favorites in that museum. I had first tried to enter Antiquaires de Louvre, an exclusive venue for purchase of antique furniture as well as modern. It’s whom you know, I’m just an observer and therefore denied entry.

On Monday most other museums are closed so I find the closest bus and decide to go where it might take me and that is the Montmartre Cemetery.  Who do I know there, you ask? Only one name interests me unlike my favorite Pere Lachaise where only last year I went with my friend Sonia who had never been there before. So we look for Jim Morrison’s grave. We find a group of teenagers who I manage to engage in song, “Show me the way to the next whiskey bar, or I will die…”  “Baby light my fire.” Along with a visit to Gertrude and Alice B. as well as Oscar Wilde, the list goes on and on. But here at Montmartre, I find Vazlav Nijinsky, a famous dancer, who was from Russia as were all my forebears. He died in 1950 when I was just ten years old. He is buried next to Auguste Vestries, le dieu de la danse according to those who chronicle him. I am on a mission. I walk down at least 100 steps to the level 22 where the map at the beginning said I would find him. It was worth the hour it took to find him. There is a sculpture of him bending down to touch the ground. Someone has placed a live rose under his arm. He is surrounded by more live flowers. 

Only one other grave caught my eye. It was a family plot honoring a man, a woman and a child who died avec les exterminees a Treblinka. Other family members are represented and buried there and there are small cameos of them by their burial place. The time I spend in this cemetery is slow, quiet and contemplative. I am glad I have come to pay all of them honor. 

This life in Paris is sweet and easy. How do I manage to bring this back home? Although surrounded by death the visit is very tranquil. I take two buses back to my stop and drop into the Gardens. It has started to rain. The type of solid definite rain bound to soak in if it lasts. The leisurely walk home will be a pleasure. 

By the way, I am still taking questions for the Queens of France. 

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