The reply to my invitation was a handwritten note.
“We will not refuse the Queen’s invitation to tea,” it read. But opening the door to Sylvia, a vibrant 86-year-old woman dressed elegantly, reveals who the real queen is.
It was my first time to meet in person, but my friends were waiting. A longtime reader of my column at Pasadena Star-News, Sylvia mourned the loss of her mother and husband when we hugged her at the front door.
It was my friend Barbara who found the Queen. In fact, it was Barbara’s protagonist who put the unlikely scenario into action. The guest was looking for the house he lived in long ago.
The house turned out to be the one Sylvia had occupied for the past 63 years. In fact, when Barbara and her friend found the house, Sylvia was cutting the bushes in the front yard. After listening to them, Sylvia gracefully guided them.
During the chat, Sylvia said she was reading a printed version of Star News. Barbara said he had a friend who was writing a column for the paper to be published. bingo.
That night I received an email from Barbara.
“You should meet this woman,” Barbara wrote, explaining that she kept a house full of Sylvia books and a perfect house and garden. “And she loves your column.”
Who can resist it? So I invited Barbara and a retired librarian to tea. Such a good move. Such a fun conversation.
Not only did she make the stylish clothes she wore, she loved to sew and learned to make everything her own.
“I like to design and make second-hand clothes, and I don’t travel much so now I have a closet full of things I rarely wear.”
And when it comes to travel, Sylvia, the wandering habit she inherited from her father, is, well, everywhere.
“Not so,” she corrected me. “When it’s safe to travel again, I think we still have another trip.”
Meanwhile, she enjoyed her love of music with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra’s season tickets. Her pick-up and go attitude is one of the many things I’ve learned from her, taking her wherever she wants to go. Silvia is nonsense in class. At one point she was asking about the history of my antique sideboards. The next minute she taught me how to clean the scorched marks on my kettle.
Then there was a kitten, Lark, who appeared just as Sylvia wanted to see her, jumped on her lap and wrapped in her signature motor par. The cat has the instinct of wonderful people.
There are some people destined to meet because they enrich your life. Silvia is one of them.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Twitter @ patriciabunin patriciabunin.com
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