This day before the 'first day of school' has been a very good and busy day, filled with blue sky and family and no berry picking. By 10:00 a.m., I was off to spend a couple of hours with Lulu Bell while her brother and parents were otherwise occupied. She and I delivered Dad's hand hooked rug to a carpet cleaner on Leary St. That rug was pulled together knot by knot about 30+ years ago when Dad undertook rug making as a past time that filled weeks and months. Last spring, when we readying Mom and Dad's house to sell, Kate and I put lists of their household belongings on spread sheets for the grandchildren to peruse. It was eldest grand daughter Caroline who numbered Dad's biggest rug as her top choice. When I asked her why, she said, "I like to make things by hand and this rug is something that my grandfather made by hand." Good reason.
After Lulu and I dropped the rug off, we stopped by Trader Joe's for chocolate covered potato chips. She ate two and then told me she really couldn't eat milk chocolate. She is lactose intolerant and milk gives her a stomach ache. OK.
Our next stop was the Secret Garden bookstore in downtown Ballard. I'd hoped to find picture books about Paris for her. She found other books for me to read to her and books featuring Paris went by the wayside. We moved on to the Ballard library where I read her two more books and then it was time to scoot across town to meet her mom and brother.
Near 1:00 p.m. I drove back around Green Lake to Jeanne's house and gave hugs to Kelan and Lauren. First time I've seen them on this trip as last week the McGrady family was on Whidby Island spending those last days of summer on a beach.
At 3:00 I drove to see Dad. Took a box of Mom's memorabilia and we spent time reading greeting cards and letters, one of which he'd written to Mom in the fall of 1938 when he was a young math/science teacher in Jasper, N.Y. and she a music teacher in Ottawa, Ontario. They married two years later. Mom and Dad have a four generation trove of family papers and letters and this trove is now stored in Kate's basement.
Mary B, my archivist daughter, spent time over the weekend making an assessment of the boxes' content so we can perhaps purchase acid free folders for the stacks of letters. For several days, I've been reading Dad a stack of that my brother John wrote during his freshman year at Haverford College. By the way, Forbes ranked Haverford as 7th in its list of top 100 colleges and universities. Not bad. John recounts his frustration at not having a car. Pages are devoted to descriptions of cars he sees for sale and covets, a sripped Pontiac Grand Prix, a Tempest Sports Coup, a Pontiac Catalina. He worries about 2500 hundred word economics and English papers. He laments not having dates because he has no car. Much more about cars. The letters are funny, poignant and priceless.
Mom and Dad's trove contain all the letters I wrote home from Cornell, New York, Chicago and Houston. There are dozens of letters from my Grandmother Shirley and boxes more of letters from friends and relations. Our family all wrote letters and they flew between Aruba and the States for years. Dare I admit that I have boxes of their letters at my house in Houston? They are all part of the family archive.
I left Dad's at 5:00 to return to Jeanne's and then on to Kelan's football practice. Not sure I like football for kids Kelan's age - or really any age - but what I saw on the field looked controlled. They are actually learning plays and game skills. Kelan loves it. He gets to tumble.
I ate supper with the Mcgrady's in front of NBC's coverage of the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, NC. It was Michelle Obama's night. I admire this smart, good looking woman who spoke passionately about the President and his character and intentions. Her mission at the convention was to speak as wife and mom and she left no doubt about this role.
And her dress was spectacular. Sleeveless pink brocade. I applaud those bare sculpted arms, remembering some commentators who faulted her for wearing a sleeveless dress at President Obama's first State of the Union address. Michelle Obama is a strong powerful woman and in the polls these days, her approval rating is over 60%. Hurray. Here's a link to a transcript of her speech. and here is a link to the New York Times coverage of that knockout sleeveless brocade dress. I am so proud of this woman. She pulls it all off. Do read what the NYT has to say.
Back to Kate's house after Michelle Obama's speech. Kate was still at work at 9:00 p.m. She's on call this week and it seems that four new kidney transplant cases hit her in one day's time. I ate a second supper and then climbed into bed with Elizabeth Gregory's new book "Ready, Why Women are Embracing the New Later Motherhood." I bought three copies from Amazon a week ago and had them shipped to Seattle. One for me, one for Caroline and one for Jeanne. Gregory is Director of Women's Studies at University of Houston and with her book, she hones in on the lives of American women who don't begin having children until their mid to late 30s. Seems to be a growing trend here. Goes back to the pill. Today, more women go to college, get advanced degrees and establish careers before having kids.
Lights out before midnight.
Tomorrow? Blackberry picking, a visit with Dad and stops by my girl's houses to see how the first day of school went. And then there is the Democratic Convention tonight with Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton. I won't miss that.