No time or interest in television today. As a young girls I used to look forward to watching Miss America or Miss Universe pageants with my mother. I would take a bath, wash my hair, dress in a pretty night gown early that Saturday evening. No TiVo or video recorders so this was going to be a long night with with many Clairol beauty product commercials.
My mother and I would set our hair in rollers, shape by rounding the corners of our nails then carefully apply finger and toenail polish. Creams for our face, hands and to soften our feet were applies during our version of a mother daughter spa date.
I enjoyed watching the 18 - 24 years "grown women" (at fifty-two now some people that age look so juvenile to me) perform dancing, singing opera, and ventriloquist acts in talent competition. There was a bathing suit competition as well as a question and answer session where each girl would compete to impress the judges. Daydreams of being a mature woman filled my head as I watched the beauty pageant to see who would be selected as the most beautiful girl in the USA this year. It was very exciting to see the look of shock on the winners faces. The other girls huddled around her then she took her walk down the aisle to begin her reign as Miss America.
Never did I have the delusion that I could be Miss America. I never had the perfect measurements, nor could I sing opera, nor would I ever be caught dead walking around in a bathing suit wearing stiletto high heels while judges assign a number to me. No, I dreamed of winning the title Miss Congeniality. I dreamed of being the girl who was voted by the other girls as nice to get along with. That title sounded most desirable to me.
Around this time that I watched beauty pageants when I was in the third grade at Sts. Simon and Jude School their was a classroom contest with a prize. Today I can't recall the prize, the contest or even who won. What I remember most was hearing my name, Carol Ann Rice, spoken above the noise in the classroom. A classmate, Patrick Raymond O'Donnell said, "I hope someone nice wins the prise like Carol Ann Rice." That was the beginning of a ten year crush and the realization of my self image as amiable by others outside of my family.
During my week return to Savannah it was my pleasure to introduce Jim, Kara and Chewie to people who were kind to me while I lived alone there for the past year. Along with breaking bread with my new friends, packing and seeing the sights of Savannah I was leaving part of myself behind.
To Robert next door, I left a piece of granite rock from the Ancient Lake Tonowanda http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacial_Lake_Tonawanda where I live in Clarence, NY. Robert is moving to Richmond Hill, Ga. today. Now a piece of NY Niagara Escarpment will make its home in Roberts tropical garden bed. In turn, Robert gave me metal coupling from the International cargo barges where he works on the docks in the Port of Savannah. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savannah,_Georgia
Chris the upstairs neighbor guy loves plants. He babysat my patio garden plants as well as fed the ferrel cats while I was in Clarence. He lovingly re potted my Mandarin Orange Hydrangea that the cats tore apart in my absence. It seemed appropriate to leave one of the plants with Chris who gave me a parting gift of a wisteria from his transplants for my garden. Every home I move to I plant a wisteria in the garden. This one from Chris will be a good pairing with the established one in NY.
Joan the delightful, exotic native of Savannah is a woman I met during my travels to galleries around town. Joan brought a spark of excitement and shear joy to my craving for adult companionship. She is a few years older than me so it was fun to talk about things without having to give a historical context. Joan gave Kara and I each a garment from her fabulous collection of vintage clothing. To Joan I gave the my wire shoes I created as an homage to Bettie Page http://www.popsubculture.com/pop/bio_project/bettie_page.html
Iona, fellow student in the Fiber grad program was a good fit with me from the day we met in orientation. Her work ethic is admirable. Her art is precise and her maturity made me feel comfortable in a program surrounded by girls many less than half my age. Iona left a small bird on my desk once after seeing my propensity to create nests. When I found the "Waving Girl" http://gosoutheast.about.com/od/savannahgaattractions/a/waving_girl.htm on my studio desk there was not doubt it was from Iona. In kind Iona was the appreciative recipient of my baked goods, studio art supplies and excess linens.
Along with phone numbers, email address, and promises to keep in touch. I received a nice note saying they wished all of their neighbors were as easy to live around as me. “You never really leave a place or person you love, part of them you take with you, leaving a part of yourself behind.” I have a strong belief I am going to return to Savannah soon.