Mama Laurie passed away this morning at the age of 94. She was battling dementia and in the last few weeks did not recognize family members although she was found talking to her husband Tom and mother Olga. I am relieved that she is no longer living in this world but feel the bitter sweetness of years sweeping by in a rainstorm of memories.
Mama Laurie was not thrilled about Craig and me getting married. I am sure that she wished arranged marriages were still in vogue at the time. Her son the doctor was marrying a woman who was too short, too politically liberal and dressed like a hippie. And yet, she welcomed me into the family because that is what she did. I learned about the generosity of spirit that takes care of family even if they could be cast in a Coen Brothers movie. One of my favorite Laurie quotes “it was a room full of crap and corruption”. What else did I learn?
Live life with style. Laurie did not walk into a room. She made an entrance with arms outstretched, beautiful smile, calling out “Hello my darlings.’
Any time of day can call for a song. Preferably a song with several harmony parts. I can hear her singing Bye Bye Blackbird.
Anything and anybody can inspire a party. You can never have enough food or champagne at the party. Dress up.
Every recipe can be improved with butter. Butter is a basic staple in the fridge and if you run out, it is considered a household emergency.
Food is love. You can never have enough food and everyone should eat at least three meals a day. That does not include brunch or snacks.
Champagne should be offered and poured at a moment’s notice for any reason. I was given champagne and M&M’s while in labor for Erica.
I learned about cooking and gardening from Mama Laurie. She had a huge garden at the big house and loved to talk about gardening strategies. There would be baskets filled with the bounty from her garden. I did not know food could taste so good until I ate meals at the big house. She was a gourmet cook who made quantities to feed a village.
Laurie was a cinematic story-teller. I heard her childhood stories many times over and she was consistent in the details. Again, the relatives from her childhood could be cast in Coen Brothers movies.
Laurie could out clean anyone. She saw dirt where no one else would think to even check. She scrubbed a roof in preparation for a party. She knew.
Laurie loved, loved, loved her family. She wanted everyone to be a star. She would have been a movie star herself if circumstances had been different. I am certain she is a movie star in heaven. Hello my darlings.