Susanna Salk



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Saturday, December 16th, 2017

At Thanksgiving we went around the table and shared a favorite memory of a grandparent. I knew that I wanted to share a story about my mother’s late mother, Anne Weld. Her unique style and confidence were dazzling to me but never intimidating, even though I was very much an awkward duckling to her swan-like being. She never wore makeup but was always the most beautiful woman in the room. She crossed her legs with the confidence of a general and drank a cocktail with the grace of Garbo. My love for baths, dogs and gardens comes directly from her DNA. One time I told her about a bad boss and she merely said with a sweep of her hand: “What an utter jerk,” and I never let the idea of him bother me again. When I was a child, I picked out the ugliest glasses I knew in hopes I’d convince people I wouldn’t have to wear them. She arrived at my door the following week to pick me up to go shopping, wearing the same pair. “Aren’t they fabulous?!” she said as we climbed into her Peugeot. To this day I don’t know whether she was just being kind or whether she really believed that they were fabulous but it doesn’t matter. But last week I shared the story – even though it was just a moment- about a dinner party at our house when I was thirteen. I had just gotten the new Vogue and I wanted more than anything to share my impressions of its exotic pages with her. Children were not part of the evening festivities but I wormed my way into the noisy, smoky dining room and stood next to her in my pajamas. She stopped immediately listening to her dinner partner and made room for me. We then turned the pages together as if the world had stopped. Relaying the memory last week, I burst into unexpected, persistent tears. My beloved young nieces put protective arms around me like doves’ wings. I didn’t leave their sides for the rest of the night. May we all realize who needs us to witness their days and may we remember to share ourselves with those who may look up to us. May we convince them they matter. The small moments bloom inside us over and over even when we don’t know the seed has been planted until much later.