Happy Birthday Noni!

It would have been my grandmother’s 90th birthday today.

This photo was taken on my grandparents’ wedding day, in her dress that I’d have loved to wear.  My grandfather didn’t know where to look to find it, so I couldn’t, for my wedding a few years ago.  But I love that dress.

I miss her all the time, but especially right now, with my business.  She would have loved to see my work.

She was an entertainer herself – always throwing beautiful holiday parties, decorating the tree just so, and creating artful meals in her tiny (no counter space whatsoever!) kitchen.  It was in that kitchen that I learned to make bread and fold pasta and roll out cookies and snap crisp green beans straight from the garden.  When my parents decided to get married in my mom’s hometown (rather than here in San Diego, where they both lived), her inner wedding planner kicked in.  She planned my parents’ entire wedding for them, in a few months, including a beautiful cocktail reception in her backyard.  All without having a drivers’ license.  I look at the photos of that day and I know that if she were alive she’d want to be on the phone every night talking about the weddings I’m planning.

My mom says she doesn’t have a planning bone in her body (although she loves throwing parties) – when it came to planning my wedding in 2008 she only relaxed when she realized that because I planned galas professionally I had it handled.  My grandmother on the other hand?  A list maker.  Like me.  When we go to visit my grandpa we still find lists she made, hidden around the house.  Groceries, or packing, or Christmas presents.  She was a planner.

She also loved to decorate.  Her dining room was perfectly coordinated, always ready for a family dinner.  Her living room was set just so, ready for guests at any second.  And when I was visiting my grandfather last week I went down to the basement and happened to look up. And see five peach and pink crepe paper poufs.  Guess my love of them is deeper than I thought.

When I got my new headshots a few months ago, I was struck by two things – 1) I look a lot like my four-year-old self (the one on my website’s About page) and 2) I look a lot like my grandmother.  It’s in the smile.  I was almost in tears.  When I finished my website last month I had the sudden urge to show it to her.  She’s been gone for almost twenty years and yet I wanted so badly to call her up on the phone.

I miss her terribly, especially now that I’m an adult.  I wish I’d had the opportunity to know her in this capacity.  I wish she knew my husband, my future kids, the woman I’ve become, the fact that we used some of her jewelry in our Boho Glam shoot.  I know she’s proud of me, but I wish I could just give her a hug and tell her how much I love her.  Today on her birthday I just had to share.

Obviously all the photos are family photos.  The top one is my grandparents on their wedding day, taken by a professional photographer in the 1940s.  And my parents on their wedding day, taken by our family friend (and professional photographer) George.  The other two are strictly non-professional photos, and, I think, speak for themselves. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Noni!

  1. You do have her smile! I’ve been thinking a lot about my great-grandmother throughout my wedding planning process. I never met her that I remember, but things she loved keep sneaking into my wedding. The woman loved purple and white elephants. And even though purple, and elephants, weren’t in the original concept, they have crept in. She loved elegance and whimsy, and somehow managed to put the two together well. I’ve had the feeling that her presence is very much involved in this wedding.

    Fortunately, her presence stays out of my kitchen. She was not a cook. I am very jealous of your Italian lineage! I only just learned to make pasta with my future-mother-in-law a few months ago. So much fun.

    • ❤ I love that you've been able to see some of her in your wedding! I think it's so important to have a connection to the Ones Who Came Before. I am SO excited for your elegant, whimsical, purple, elephant-y wedding!!! It's going to be a blast!

      And pasta is a TON of work. I've only made it myself two or three times, because it's a daylong affair if done right. But it really is fun, and SO good. 🙂

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