The papers and tv channels are full of retrospectives of the first 10 years of the century–the noughties. Those who care for the official record can check out the decade in three minutes here but the Crone offers her own stand-out memories from 2000 to today–the ten years she has spent in the United States.
Arriving in a snowy Washington in February 2000 without a pair of boots. Moving into one of Washington’s best addresses and learning ” We’re very much a family at the Dresden”. Discovering the truth of this when three months later the building doorman offered to drive her to her new, permanent, slightly less than best address with the Crone’s queen mattress precariously balanced on his car roof, sans string: “Just keep a hold of her when I turn the corner”
The boon of bosom pals like Tom and Mike, and Judy, the world’s best realtor. Acrylic nails, mixed drinks, big skies and living 10 minutes from work. Picking up liquor for a party in a wheelie suitcase and dragging it up the hill in the days before the Caddy. Brendan coming to check that everything was ok and helping the Crone lug home her white goods from the awful hell that is Rockville Pike.
Discovering the joy of yard sales and crab dip and learning to love grits. The Crone’s father, stoic on the tarmac at Dulles when no-one else was flying in the weeks after 9/11. The Christmas when Paul and Anne came with the kids and Tom did American gift wrapping with bows on everything.
The life-changing arrival of a small girl in a striped dress carrying a trash bag full of other people’s clothes. The way she clung to the Crone in the pool at the Hyatt on day one. The Duck Tour in DC with P Weil. The trivet she made at pottery camp ” I love you Liz. You, and my Mom”
The 12 year old who thought he was grown. The boy who taught his sister to swim, even though he couldn’t keep himself afloat. The kid the Crone brought home from PIW.
The day Gretel threw a rock through the caddy’s windshield and tore up the lobby at Discovery. The day she won the gold medal for bowling at the Special Olympics and the Crone thought she would burst with pride. Birthdays and Halloween parties and Christmasses. The time Lucy mimed Titus Andronicus playing charades and never got any further than Tight Ass.
Hansel swimming in the sewage after Hurricane Isabel and ending up in the hospital. Hansel graduating high school. Hansel making it to 20 this Thanksgiving without an addiction, gunshot wound, or criminal record. Much to be thankful for.
Singing R&B songs to the mortification of tweens and teens alike. Trying and failing to make pigs’ feet to comfort two homesick and heartsore black kids. Remembering to add hot sauce to every recipe.
Rules to live by: Never fly Continental. Always have the hairdresser color your hair. Pay your parking tickets before the city comes to tow you away.
A trip to New Zealand for a job she didn’t take. Istanbul with Tom and Mike and Kursad, Andrew and Pol. Ireland, New Orleans, the Outer Banks and Provincetown with Tom and Mike. Bali with Rosie. Mount Vernon and New York with Hansel, Miami with P Weil and all the kids. A perfect weekend in the Mouse Hotel with Gretel. Baja, Mexico with Anne and Paul and Costa Rica with P. Weil. London this summer, catching up with everyone.
Seeing Ted Kennedy at the Kennedy Center on St Patrick’s Day. Getting a call from the Obama campaign office: ” The candidate would like to launch his tax policy at the Throbbing Temples” The Crone found herself able to fit him in. Working alongside Lee Hamilton and Sally Katzen and others who have changed the way the world turns. Learning to blog and developing a Lexulous addiction with encouragement from Jessica Lipnack. Falling in love with an iphone–and even answering it sometimes.
Dad embarrassed in a limo on his 80th birthday. Saying goodbye to Gran, and watching a brave family care for a much-loved son, brother, husband and father through a year of terrible illness, and then struggling to stay strong after he was gone.
Cars that blew up, plumbing nightmares, 3 changes of job, a Masters degree and a titanium dental implant that required a second mortgage. Diets that didn’t last for long.A coaching qualification and a whole new way to get into other people’s business. Fast scrabble on the porch with Ramadan Susie. The fun of lunches with Roger Wilkins. The deep, deep joy of coming home to Itchy Ankle, a house filled with other people’s china, sourced from junk shops.
This decade was better than the one that went before. This story is…to be continued.