My great-grandma Beatrice, for whom I am named, came over from England at the turn of the last century, on her own I was told, at the age of 17. Family lore has it that she arrived at the port of Oakland, and, upon setting foot ashore, remarked at how San Francisco wasn't as grand as she thought it would be. (Whenever I think of grandma Bea's supposed response to Oak-town, I am reminded of Gertrude Stein's (in)famous quote, "There's no there there.")
Bea died, in her 90s, in 1975. I have no recollection of her, sadly. I do, however, have a pink baby blanket that she knitted for me when I was born. Also in possession is a wall mirror given to her from prominent, local attorney Melvin Belli for whom she had once worked, and a beautiful, wooden, side table topped with colorful tile dating back to So. California circa 1920s.
Here is a "cousin" table image I found online:
Among the heirlooms passed down from Bea are bits of language that our family used when I was growing up. It was not until I was out on my own, that I realized most other American folk didn't share these words. Chief among them is "surname."
Today, at HSBC, EMM and I filled out paperwork enabling us to open up a checking/savings acct. in London. Our "wealth adviser", or whatever his title was, graciously explained how to fill out said forms the correct way for the UK branch to process them. "Surname", we were told, meant "last name." I resisted the urge to blurt out, "I know!" "'DD/MM/YYYY' is how it's written in the UK," he further explained. I know that, too, I whispered in my head.
Having forgotten to bring both our passports and a bill with our names and address on the envelope, we're set to return tomorrow for more form-filling "cheerio pip-pip" sort of fun.
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