Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood - Let's Give Thanks
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:23

I remember the Thanksgivings I had in the house in Mission Hills, in the San Fernando Valley where I lived with my partner. We bought the house in 1978. It had been owned by Andy Williams and was bought for his lover, Claudine Lounget. This was one of the houses built in the early 50s after the Korean War, and was a ranch style tract home, with clerestory windows, fir ceilings with big beams, a fireplace, three small bedrooms and two full baths, 1067 feet. In the backyard we had built a paradise, a swimming pool and separate Jacuzzi under a large gazebo, green grass, and Leland cypress trees around the periphery, a peaceful oasis two miles from the San Diego Freeway and not far from the San Fernando Mission, one of the many we talked about in the third grade always in relation to the Indians of Southern California. The Indians learned of Thanksgiving from the pilgrims as a way to give thanks to the creator.

My parents and my partner's parents, the six of us had our family ritual. My Aunt Minnie would participate later on. It was a way to celebrate and come together and say our thanks that we were not alone.

One year, 1998, three years after my father died, my cousin Mike brought my mom and his mom, my Aunt Minnie, to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving. I sent a limo to pick them up at the airport as a special treat. By then there was confusion both in the mind of my mother with Alzheimer’s and my aunt with dementia.

I remember all of us sitting around the claw foot oak table, gathered to celebrate when my aunt began calling, "Here kitty, here kitty," over and over. Since I didn't have a cat, I said to her, "Aunt Minnie, that's my small dog Aggie." She looked at me and said, "dogs, cats; what's the difference?" And I announced, “That's the answer to world peace."

May we all celebrate and enjoy the diversity of our own lives. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for being part of my family and reading Not Just A Jewish Book Blog.