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Grandma and the dear Marie outside Chez Pierre on Grandma's birthday. (2005)
Marie is one of Grandma's dearest friends. They met when Marie became a summer boarder at Grandma's old house in Chautauqua.
Now some other time I'll write a whole entry just about Chautauqua, but, suffice it to say, if you've ever seen The Prisoner, Chautauqua will freak you out. The reason this little gated (literally: you need either a Chautauqua ID or to pay a fare to walk in the gates — I kid you not) community will make you question your relationship with reality is because it is the closest thing to The Village I've ever seen. I guess the real location (oh, how I'd love to go there someday) of The Village would be weird, but it would still be nothing like Chautauqua.
The super-short version of Chautauqua is this: one-time rural religious retreat transformed over a hundred years to a culturally-diverse enclave for the wealthy. And no cars allowed!
Incidentally, one of the most peaceful days in my life was that August Saturday years ago when I had the house (well, the top floor) all to myself. I spent the day alternatively napping and taking strolls around the grounds. Wandered down to the lake to watch the large, black Chautauqua butterflies flapping high in the air, darting back and forth between and through the trees.
Anyway, Grandma bought this two-story house decades ago, got her sons to add a third story and rented out rooms in the summer (during The Season).
One day, this cellist for the Chautauqua symphony comes a knockin' and ends up renting every summer year after year after year. Now they're best of friends and have travelled the world together several times.
So when Marie found out that Grandma was going to be here with us for her birthday, she decided to fly down from Long Island, New York, for the occasion. Marie goes home tomorrow, but we've had a lovely time together. Today, Grandma, Marie and I went to the Tallahassee Museum (formerly The Junior Museum) together and wandered amongst the wildlife. And, of course, I got pictures.
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