My great Aunt Patricia died today. She was 83. She had the most amazing life, full of adventure and love. There is a picture in her kitchen, yellowed by the sun streaming in from the windows that overlook the Bay Bridge, of Patricia in her 30s, dancing on the bar of a Greek restaurant. She looks like Doris Day. If my memory of the photo serves, Uncle Bob looks on, bemused.
She was from Nocona, Texas, but she went to Stanford Law School. She had friends and adopted "children" from all over the world: celebrities, clerics, doctors, socialites. She and Uncle Bob traveled the globe, and even after he died three years ago, she kept traveling on her own. She cruised the South Pacific this Christmas. She was a brilliant, accomplished person with more verve than anyone I know.
When we last saw her in April, she took us out to an evening of cabaret, then we drove to a favorite restaurant of hers for a nightcap. When we pulled up to Firenze By Night, the parking situation was San Francisco laughable, as usual. When we suggested we should just have a nightcap at home because the parking was too bad, she said, imperiously, "They save a spot for me." And sure enough, as soon as they noticed Aunt P's car, a handful of strapping Italian men came out and began rearranging vehicles to accommodate us. The best-looking of the bunch, Paolo, who was younger than me, kissed Aunt P on both cheeks and said, "Where have you been, bella?" She and Paolo made teasing plans to meet in Milan for Easter. They treated us like kings in the bar.
When I am old, please let me be like Aunt Patricia. Hell, let me be like her when I am young.