Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood - I Look At Clouds Part II
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 19:35

Pat and I return to the Art Institute. I walk beneath the large painting of the clouds seen as if from an airplane. I wonder about where Georgia O’Keefe was when she saw this scene? I had seen this show in New York in December 1986 with my friend Marie, but not this painting. I saw it again in Los Angeles having it almost all to myself when most people rushed off to get hors d'oeuvres before actually venturing into the exhibit, which each time displayed different paintings owned by that museum or people in that area.

In Chicago Pat said to me, "Remind me next time not to visit O'Keeffe with you because it felt as if you were only there with her. Now, as many of you know, her museum, Georgia O'Keeffe's Museum is here in Santa Fe where I am a member and visit as often as I wish.

This morning at 6:00 AM shows itself with clouds sitting on top of the foothills of the Sangre de Cristos. A slightly dusty smoky gray showing me that the Las Conchas/Los Alamos fire still plumes on either side of the mountains by Los Alamos. I begin to think of clouds in the same way I did in Los Angeles before I left there in 1993 laced with smoke and fog, what they call smog. I'll wait for the afternoon to dissipate the smoke from the clouds in the north and become a promise of rain again.

Saturday I gave a reading where twenty-five of us gathered as I read from my memoir. I dedicated it to my father, whose birthday was the day before, to Lara Morrow, the wife of a friend of mine and of the whole community, who died on Wednesday, and to all my mothers. We celebrated life-endings and new beginnings. We talked about our part in teaching and longing for equality, of childhood bullying and our challenge to make a change, a difference. We had a special time together and in that time we were not alone.

My high school friend Jean Sanders was there with her family visiting from San Diego. I read a little, signed a little and yes, we all ate peach ice cream.

At a memorial service for Lara that evening, I think about how I want my life to be honored. With song, with words, either my own or others, and how do I want to be remembered. At this beautiful ceremony, in the eyes of tears, in laughter, in the smile of someone I know or do not yet know. The music is in the minor key. We join in a song, “Dodi Li”, my Beloved is mine - I am my Beloved's.

Saturday is a day of mixed pleasures and sadness. Lara is gone. A child is born. A light remains. Who sees it? We do.

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