As soon as I finished my nostalgic New Orleans travelogue on the previous page, I quickly emailed it to Darrell, my son and webmaster, to upload to my website. Mysticplanet.com has happily made its home on OLM.net for almost twenty years with no problems whatsoever. That's longer than a lot of marriages these days. I hurried to place an order before midnight on Amazon Prime so I'd receive it in two days. I ordered a can of Cafe' du Monde's coffee and chicory. I almost added a box of their beignet mix to my order but knew it wouldn't satisfy my longing if I had to make them myself. I knew it was all about remembering the happy memories of New Orleans.
The yellow can arrived by USPS mail today, which surprised me because it's Sunday when they don't usually deliver mail then. It was waiting for me on the bench in my courtyard when I got home from Potluck Sunday at Seraphim Center, my spiritual home where I became an ordained minister in 2003. The recipe for the traditional cafe' au lait (which existed way before we added Starbucks to our vocabulary) called for half a cup of coffee and chicory and half a cup of hot milk. I don't drink dairy milk so I substituted almond milk. I immediately made a small pot of memories and found it to be a LOT stronger than I remembered. I'll try again with half as much coffee tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I really just wanted the yellow can of memories.
Rev. Randy Snow did a well-researched presentation today at Seraphim Center about the history of the holiday and the origin of some of our Halloween customs. It got me thinking about Halloween costumes my kids wore when they were little, and some Gordon and I wore when we were still dressing up for Halloween.
Halloween 1968 in Jacksonville, Florida.
This is one of my all-time favorites. My babies are all in their 50s now.
Left to right: Kimberli made a great robot but it turned out to be
an uncomfortable costume since she couldn't put her arms down.
Randall wore a fur collar taken off my mother's Persian lamb coat.
I'm not really sure what Darrell was dressed as, but he seemed happy since
all he really longed for was a store-bought "real" costume, so we let him choose one.
Cilla was four and just wanted to dress up in a beautiful gown and wear fur like Randall.
Fast forward to the 1980s when Gordon and I were newlyweds. We had heard about the annual Halloween Ball on the University of Florida campus and decided to go. Some people called it the "Gainesville Mardi Gras." It had been held on The Plaza of the Americas since the '60s and as the word got out that it was the happening costume party on the east coast, thousands of people from all over descended on the Plaza each year. Gainesville Green was the home grown pot of choice then and I swear you could get high just walking around the Plaza. We had no idea how outrageous the costumes would be or what to wear. We decided to keep it simple and go as M & M's Plain and With Nuts and made costumes out of brown 33-gallon lawn and leaf bags. It was the only UF Halloween Ball we ever attended. I'm glad we went but it was a little too crazy and crowded for us. The administration put an end to the "Gainesville Mardi Gras" a few years later because it was getting way out of control and they didn't want UF to be known as a party school.
In the other photo, I'm in my favorite gypsy costume. When I put that on, it feels so familiar. I believe I am dressed like that in a probable reality that is happening now in another focus than the one I call My Now. As for my Gordon, he has had many reincarnational memories, either as a warrior of one kind or another, or a spiritual leader. He loved this pirate outfit and won first prize for the best costume at the party we went to that year.
No Halloween pictures would be complete without this one of me and my mother, Olympia Lucille Simonetti Normandy. She was called Ida. Mom moved from New York to Gainesville when she got older and had her own apartment for the first time in her life at The Atrium. I've shared this photo in many places including on Facebook, because it was a night to remember. Mom was so happy to be able to play dress up again at 86. When I was little, she often dressed me up in costumes for no reason except for the fun of it. There was something so bittersweet about realizing our roles were slowly reversing as I dressed her up for the first and last time that Halloween. I think she made a great Momma Gypsy, don't you?