Wednesday, July 15, 2009

BURIED TREASURE or what I found back in the blog


I had a maiden aunt, that's what we called them back in the old days. Lele was her name. One year when she found out how much I loved lavender she became very brave, for she was not a brave woman, and she put on her gray raincoat and plastic rainhat and took the bus into downtown Philadelphia to Wanamaker's Department store. Wanamaker's was famous for this HUGE bronze Eagle that sat in the center of the store. People would always say, "Meet you at the Eagle." My parents met at the Eagle.
People in uniform should have a longer courting time in regular clothing.
Anyway, I digress, Lele bravely and trust me when I say this was a BIG DEAL for her to leave her house and travel on a bus to the CITY.
Lele went into Wanamaker's Department Emporium (I'm sure that's what it really was) and asked the beautiful ladies at the Perfume counters where she could find lavender. She wanted the dried flower buds.
Today, we might have to go to a Natural Foods Store to find something like that but in those days people still used lavender to store their precious linens and such.
She was finally directed to a "station" where the lavender was measured out by the ounce. It was put in a cellophane bag, tied with a ribbon, inserted in a flowered paper sack with the rippled edge folded over neatly, 1/2" inch. I know this because Lele made it a point to tell me this story with all it's details. Lele was impressed with the degree of attention her little package was given.
Lele was also exhausted from this outing and the idea of making her way back through the store to wait for the bus was too much, without a cup of tea. Wanamaker's had a tea room.
Lele debated while she sat by the Eagle about going into the tea room by herself. Ladies just didn't do that. You have to understand Lele. She was probably in her forties when she took this trip into the City. She never left home, lived with her mother, NANA a TYRANT. Nana probably was the original description of the word tyrant. I don't even know how Lele managed to leave the house to make this trip except that I know for some reason, she really wanted to make me happy and surprise me with this lavender. She wasn't even my "real" aunt, she was my step-father's sister.
She was soft, pastel, quiet, always smelled flowery and wore quiet shoes.
Lele found her voice that day.
She found her courage that morning.
Lele found the tea room and had a cup of tea and some little cakes with flowers on the icing.
Lele took the bus home and smiled.
I know she smiled because she told me, later.
Lele gave me my little bag of lavender, packed in a cellophane bag with a purple ribbon for Christmas. To this day I can not separate Lavender from Lele, I love them both.


  1. This is a beautiful story, treasure indeed. And Lele must have really loved you! (PS - Thank you for stopping by my blog)

  2. you are a storyteller as well as an artist...I am happy to visit today to read your "treasure"

  3. beautiful treasure, really beautiful

  4. Thank you all so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I'm glad I could make such a sweet woman come alive for others. :)Bea

  5. What a wonderful story Bea, and so beautifully told. It made me smile and feel wistful at the same time. Poor Lele to have such a mother. I had a few 'pretend aunts' I used to call them and I loved them dearly. Thank you for this wonderful piece of treasure from your packed treasure chest. xx

  6. Courage can come in the smallest of moments. This is a wonderful story.

  7. Such a special story, one which must bring you much comfort and inspiration. That you were instrumental in allowing Lele to find her voice is just wonderful. SO glad you decided to particpate and re-post this!

  8. That was a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. Lele must of been an exceptional woman in her quiet way.