Confessions of a Beauty Junkie

Sunday, August 1, 2010

To the Beautiful Alice(s)...

Momo, you've been gone almost three months, and yet I'm still at a loss as to how to describe you to those who weren't privileged enough to know you. Well, I guess there's no time like the present. (For what it's worth, I wouldn't take a break from bitching about mascara for just anybody). Deep breath...

First and foremost, you were one of the most interesting people on the planet. You loved life and no doubt arrived at its end having thoroughly worn it clean out. Not even the Depression or a world war could dampen your spirit. You were tough as nails and gentle as a feather, depending on the circumstances. You made no bones about leaving my ass behind in the grocery when I dilly-dallied in the candy aisle, and I kind of liked that. (It only had to happen once. When I ran, frantically, to the front of the Indian Hills IGA to find the nice man to page you overhead, I caught sight of you in the checkout line. You sized me up with a quick "Well, I figured you'd find me eventually," and that was it. I was glued to your side from then on during our Saturday outings.) Up until your very last days, you could debate politics, pop culture, music, what-have-you, with uncanny accuracy and aplomb. I envy that.

Good Lord, you were funny. You'd stand around in the narthex after church with Dad's friends and would tell jokes that could make a coal miner blush. Once my siblings and I got older, you'd break them out at the dinner table (to rave reviews). I visited my best friend after the birth of her second baby and, while visiting with her momma, was privvy to maybe the most inappropriate joke ever. While I gagged and tried to figure out if I could take a birdbath in the sink, she casually shared with me that she'd heard it from you. You could easily recall jokes you heard in high school. I can't even do that now. We really had to censor ourselves during the meeting with the minister to plan your service details when he had the audacity to ask, "What was your grandmother like?"

You loved lipstick and perfume, a quality that I suspect I inherited from you. I wish I'd saved one of the lip-stamped Kleenexes that you often kept in your purse, just so I could remember the exact shade you wore. I think it was by Revlon. There were several you kept in rotation, but I'm no fool-- they were all bright, bright pink. I remember one Easter, at church, when my brother commented, "Momo's got her blush kickin' today! It's a special occasion!" You always looked beautiful. Mom used to tell me that you used Dermablend on your FACE (the horror!) to hide your freckles and age spots, but I didn't care. I loved watching you put it on when I was young. I don't think you ever wore eye makeup in your life (or at least over the course of mine), but I don't think it would have looked right on you anyway. The perfume obsession was ongoing and never-ending. Once I was introduced to Liz Claiborne in the sixth grade, it was all over. We gave each other perfume for Christmas for years and years. As soon as you opened the box, you'd hose yourself down with the scent du jour and would dutifully offer some to me and my sister. We felt like such grown-ups. To this day, I seek out perfumes that I think you'd like.

Your laugh rang out like the sound of a cork from an agitated bottle of Champagne: instant, bubbly, and resounding. I think that sometimes it even surprised you. The accompanying gestures were the best: head back, eyes closed, hand clapping down on right knee. As I got older, I turned into a veritable stand-up comedienne when we were together, just so I could hear that exuberant, engrossing, all-encompassing laugh. When we were in a local fashion show together years ago, one of Mom's friends commented that we look(ed) alike. She said we had the same smile. I'd settle for having the same laugh anyday.

My beautiful sister is having a little girl next month, who will be named after you. I'm so glad that you were able to find this out before you left this world. Ellen did such a wonderful job of describing you on her blog that I'm not sure what else to say, other than that if she is half as funny/ smart/ witty/ determined/ sweet/ amazing as you, well, I'll be the proudest and happiest aunt on this planet. I know you'll be there when she enters this world, and I know that you can't wait. Rest assured that I'll buy her her first pink lipstick and bottle of fancy perfume. I love and miss your beautiful face.

--"Miss Jules"


At August 03, 2010 , Blogger allie said...

Team Momo, always! I am absolutely certain that you were the apple of her eye. Love you to tiny little bits!


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