|Self portrait in mirrored ball|
My Auntie Boo had one in her garden. It was blue. I was fascinated with it. I was also fascinated with Auntie Boo. She really wasn't my aunt, Mother told me way later, but just a dear friend of my mother's we called Auntie. Decades later I would meet my long lost cousin Judy, and she would tell me stories of her Auntie Boo, who really wasn't her aunt. All sources of more knowledgeable information were gone by then so we could never prove our Auntie Boos were one and the same people. But I like to think so. It isn't a far leap to imagine my Aunt Zelma, Judy's step-mom, and my mom and Boo friends.
When you are young full names and addresses never occur to you to horde. She lived in a very old house in an old section of Kansas City, and she had this garden she seemed on the edge of losing control of. And in this garden was a blue gazing ball on a pedestal. I was enthralled with how it distorted the world around it.
Auntie Boo's world was distorted too. It wasn't what I was being led to believe all futures for women held. She was unmarried but lived with a friend. Rather unheard of in that day and age. And Aunt Zelma was a divorcee married to my Uncle Ray, mother's brother. Both Boo and Zelma had jobs. Zelma managed a dress factory and Boo worked for Hallmark. My mother's job was being a mom. But Boo and Zelma made me think of my mother as unemployed. I loved listening to them talk about work.
I loved that blue gazing ball. I remember thinking I would have one in my garden one day in the house I would buy for myself with my money from my job. There have been a few houses I have owned, and lots of gardens but as of yet no gazing ball of my own. I think I would rather remember the kaleidoscope of images I saw as a kid walking around Auntie Boo's gazing ball in her garden.
I have no idea whatever happened to Auntie Boo, Judy didn't know either. Somewhere in my busy life of collecting houses and keeping jobs I missed the dying of Aunt Zelma too. Judy's passing was a shock but no surprise. Part of Mother's job as a stay at home mom had been the keeping of family histories. She died too early and too suddenly. She was gone before I had realized I was suppose to be keeping notes.
A friend of mine is into researching her family tree. My cousin Billy did the Hildebrand side of things and shared it with me. It seemed so dry and storyless. My sister and I toy with the idea of the Binford family line. But Auntie Boo was not a branch on the tree. I want to know if Zelma, Mary and Boo were high school friends, and the adventures they had. Only they could tell me and if they did I don't remember. I guess I should have spent more time listening to Mary (my mom) and Boo talk on our visits and less time in the garden with that gazing ball.
But I was always a gazing ball sort of child. I never could understand why Alice left Wonderland.