Lyon, France. A dark dining room, paneled ceiling, fading silk tapestry, antique paintings all over the walls and a long table, richly laden with food.
I sit next to Tante Rose.
I am so young, she is so old.
I touch her wrinkly hands. With my finger I follow her protruding veins, play with the loose skin, entirely absorbed. She watches me. I don’t notice.
Tante Rose is different. She smokes. She uses cigarette holders. She wears perfume. She serves tortes in lurid colours, pink, lime green, baby blue. She gets agitated over politics, discusses in rapid French the news with her even older sister. She is elegant.
I observe with big eyes. I don’t understand a word.
Before we leave, I beg my parents to ask her to write something in my little girl’s book-of-poetry. I am too shy to ask myself. Cannot, since I only speak German.
She writes: “Be profound”.
Being seven years old, I have no idea what that means.
It became part of my identity.
There are 3 comments
Wow! You were blessed with a gift, and had the foresight to recognize it. Today’s aware kids use other words than profound, such as: “Let’s go meta!”
I think I was blessed to meet a person like Tante Rose. It’s a precious memory.
Who knows who we would be without the people we have met in our life.
I have had remarkable friends, teachers, people – some of whom I met just once, others accompanied me over a longer period of time– who strongly influenced me. Without them I would be a different person. Have you had similar experiences?
[…] Barbara What do I like about the project? It is colourful, demanding and enriching at the same time. While working for the blog and on the arts research aspect, I am exploring my own artistic and personal identity in so many ways. Sometimes very intimately, sometimes on a large scale. I trace my own visions, my personal heritage, and remember people that impressed me such as Tante Rose. (https://what-ifblog.net/2014/06/13/tante-rose-and-the-book-of-poetry/) […]