It Was a Wonderful Life
I met my best friend Alexa when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I don’t actually remember our first meeting, but as my mother tells it, I started following her around when her mother was pulling her in a wagon. Alexa was in casts at the time and her mother would pull her around the playground in a wagon to get her outdoors and into the fresh air.
Being out of doors was an important part of Mrs. Lauber’s life. I remember seeing her out riding her bike, often with Alexa’s brother Cole in his baby seat on the back, and then later on solo like she was flying in the wind. I’ve never seen anyone exercise as joyously as Mrs. Lauber. Actually it seems like almost everything she did was done with joy.
Of the many, many memories I have about Mrs. Lauber, one in particular stands out:
Alexa and I loved to dress up when we were very young. We pretended to be princesses and fairies; orphans (with requisite evil step mother) and adventurers. For all these roles, costuming was essential.
Mrs. Lauber was always there to help us out. We would head up to the linen closet and she would take out a pile of her clean, perfectly folded towels and carefully pin them on us with the colorful diaper pins she had saved from when her children were babies. First she’d pin on the skirt so it would stay on our little hips. Next she’d pin on the cape. The finishing touch was the towels for our heads which was to be our long, flowing hair hanging down to our waists. If you were ever a little girl with a pixie or pageboy haircut, you will understand the desire for long Rapunzel-like tresses.
Here is a picture of one of our scenarios in action:
I believe the look we were going for here is accusatory and confrontational. Aren’t we a threatening couple of curmudgeons? So scary!
I’m not sure how many summers we ran around in Mrs. Lauber’s towels before we grew too mature for such costumes. What I do remember is that it never felt like it was an imposition. Each time we asked her to dress us up, she’d put down whatever she was working on and pin on our costumes, happy to send us out into the fresh air and sunshine to run wild in our little neighborhood.
Thinking back on all those golden summers of my childhood, I have to think that Alexa’s mom probably washed an extra hundred loads of laundry in her lifetime simply because it made us happy to play dress up in her towels. She also must have had to replace them a lot sooner than she would have if they’d only served their original purpose.
She obviously cared more about sending us out to play in our wonderful costumes than doing a few extra loads of laundry each week during the summer.
Mrs. Lauber passed away on October 19th joining her husband who died earlier this year. They were both wonderful people who made me feel as much like a part of their family as their own children.
Thank you Dorothy & Bob for letting me be a part of your family and providing me with one of the best and truest friends I’ve ever had.