I see elephants everywhere, and then I think of her.



In the beginning, the elephants were about Barry Goldwater, and the campaign pin that he sent to her.

She liked his glasses.

Barry was the first elephant.

And then there were 488 more.

We liked to count them when we went to her house, trailing her from room to room, searching glass shelves and the top of the piano, listening to her clues.

Look up, she would whisper, extending a polished finger. There is an elephant on the clock.

Look over there. There is an elephant that is a table.




You’re missing one, she would whisper in the end, when we thought we’d found them all.

Oh where?, we’d ask, and her eyes would glitter.

Come close to me and you’ll find it, she’d say, and we’d rush into open arms.

There, we could see it — the elephant  dangling over her heart.





I miss her.

I miss her perfume and her elephant rings and her lipstick against my cheek when we’d say goodbye.

She would have been 88 today — and would have loved that for one whole year, she’d get those two numerals in a row. A  special year, I can imagine her saying.

It’s been almost a year now, without her.

In the end, her grandchildren each got to choose an elephant –  a reminder that could always dangle over our hearts.

“The little gray one by the fireplace,” I told my mother on the phone, “it’s always been my favorite.”

She brought him home to me.

Later, missing her, I turned the elephant over.

Come close to me and you will find it.

There, I found a love note from my Granna, who knew.

(1)  “Love you” wood elephant art, from FOUND. (About $290)

(2) Wall hanging from West Elm – in store only.

(3) White ceramic elephant from Z Gallerie, $49.95.

(4) Blue and white stacked lamp from West Elm, $249.

(5) Napkin rings, Z Gallerie, $19 for 4.

(6) Necklace from J. Crew, $68.

(7) White elephant hook from Anthropologie, $20.

(8) and (9) Tray and pillow from Pottery Barn, in store only.


By |2012-09-19T08:37:36-07:00September 19th, 2012|Style|4 Comments

Me for you, and you for me alone.

My Granna loved to count: 87 years, 7 children, 29 great-grandchildren, 34 grandchildren — 17 married and 17 not, and “some of them,” she told the nurse, with a mischievous grin, “should be.” (For the record, she was absolutely talking about me.)

She had lists of the elephants she collected — over 703, the countries she visited — something like 23, lists of the days she slept at home, and the days her marigolds bloomed (and how many), and the days she spent driving all over Arizona to cheer on one of her grandkids at a choir concert or school play or meet a brand new baby. She saved everything — tiny scraps of paper filled with her old-fashioned handwriting: scores from card games and check numbers and lists of how much milk cost in 1944, when she was married.

In her bathroom, I found a love note from me, and in a bedroom drawer: every letter my mother ever wrote her, saved in a neat stack of yellowing paper.

She died on Saturday, with her family around her — including my Grandpa, her husband of 66 years and 356 days, who offered a prayer after she had passed. “Heavenly Father,” he said, “thank you, for her.”

Their song was Tea for Two, and she liked for us to change the words:

We will raise a family,
four boys for you, three girls for me,
Can’t you see how happy we will be.

By |2011-10-11T16:49:08-07:00October 11th, 2011|Stories|0 Comments


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