Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood Get Ready For the Queens of France
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 22:03

I'm at my favorite sushi bar in Santa Fe ordering lunch. It's Saturday. Less than a week from now I'll be eating sushi in Paris! It will be evening. I will have had an early morning walk in Luxenbourg Gardens, had a Decaf with a rind of lemon, and written about the Queens of France who surround me. My fascination has carried over from the first time we met in 1984. I remember first stopping by 27 Rue de Fleurus to pay homage to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. I imagine them in the park, also taking a brisk walk enjoying the flavor of the air, the Queens at the ready on an upper level over the bassin. The children are sending their sail boats around the octagonal body of water gleefully, the Queens looking down on them, benevolent. They have been out there since the 1800s firm in their marble world.

I don't want you to think I'm imagining things, but sure as I sit in front of one and another I want to engage her in conversation.

Why was she chosen to stand guard in the gardens? What did her sitting on the throne mean to her? Does she ever get lonely? Does she talk with others who are there with her? What about the saints? Saint Clotilde, Saint Bathilde, Saint Genevieve, patron saint of Paris?

Each year I come and visit them my curiosity grows. Last June, I took all of the photos. I stood in front of them and emulated their poses hoping to feel something--some essence in the gesture but it fell flat, two-dimensional. Nothing more than a portrait of a French queen in Luxenbourg Gardens, waiting, or is it me who waits. Next week I will begin again.

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