Monday, 1 February 2010

Starring role in a Russian novel

Our friends from the restaurant, aka the Johnson-Marcils, know no end to kindness. Whether it’s a fervent strain of the fabled Southern hospitality, or a cure for writer’s block, we do not know.

Will says it gives them bragging rights (“ah, yes, our friends from London are in town, I was up with them until eleven”, he must say to classmates), Chris says the Airstream looks cool in front of their house, and Coco likes playing mother to our two daughters, especially if she can hold Lulu. Grandmother promises it’s just fun having extra people around.

Julia, the ringleader, says a full house gives her the sense of living in her very own Russian novel.

Assuming that this – an additional grandmother, two parents, a preschooler and a baby – is a good thing, which Russian novel would this echo?

As we departed LA - having declined to stay another additional day - we went around the car, naming the way the family had been most generous to each of us.

Barbara said it was the time Julia spent showing her sights in LA (the photo at the Hollywood sign, the ride to nearby Larchmont – modeled on the Westchester town, apparently, the visit to the Hollyhock Frank Lloyd Wright house), shopping mall extraordinaire The Grove.

Daniel most appreciated the kids giving up their bedrooms to give us a bed to sleep in: the girls, he and I slept in Coco’s room on her bed and an air mattress; while Barbara had Will’s room. I think he also liked going to Julia’s art class our final evening (see attached illustration of beetroot).

Sophia thought hard and said it was the hand-me-downs (copious amounts of beautiful clothes and jewelry, much of it Not Pink) she most liked.

For me, it was Julia’s maneuvering to get me three hours on my own…and later the same day babysitting so that Daniel and I could go for a drink – our first time out together on our own since Lulu was born – yippee! So of course the cozy wine bar was called Lou, and of course we ended up becoming friends with everyone behind the bar and at it. Oh, and Grandmother’s insistence that I take a nap.

If Lulu could choose her own favorite feature of the Marcil-Johnsons, it would probably be the opportunity to live in a real house, with a cast of characters happily scooping her up and her very own doctor to give her a proper check-up. Julia said Lulu’s welcome to move in with them, something that may become appealing, especially if night feeds continue at the current pace.

Julia, who is photo-shy. This is the best we could do.
Coco and her princess protege, Sophia
Daniel's pen-and-ink rendition of the Johnson-Marcil house

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