Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Today Was Mimi's Birthday

My friend Mimi Monette would be 98 today. I'm not going to rehash her whole life here, you can read the post I put up upon her death. I'm not really sorry that she's gone, since her world became smaller and smaller as she got older, and at the end even though she remained as cheerful and engaged as she ever was I could tell that she was ready for this chapter of her life, with health issues and home care and a lack of mobility to be finished.

What I do miss is the amount of fun I had with her.

In a way. Mimi was like Auntie Mame (although she might not like the comparison- Mame was a bit vulgar, and Miss Muriel Monette was never, ever vulgar..) in that conformity was something that she loathed. The social rules governing what women could or could not do, mind you, not the idea of manners or standards or taste. She didn't see any particular reason why she shouldn't take a couple weeks off to South America to study native fauna with a male friend and if you thought there was something dirty there, well that was really about you, not her.

One of the things I remember most about her was her love of Los Angeles, and of California, in the way that perhaps only non-natives (Mimi was from Oregon and moved here in her late teens) can have. We know where we came from and even may have fond memories, but don't want to go back. She had stories of going to UCLA back in the day when the stretch of Sunset between Crescent Heights and the Beverly Hills border was unpaved.

Mimi especially loved the coast, and would spend her rare free time painting the beaches. There was one particular painting of a guards shack that I loved and wonder what happened to. I hope her family has given it pride of place. I would have loved to have it, but I couldn't possibly have asked for it. It would be a breach of manners that Mimi would never comment upon, but I'd know.

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