“Magenta…that’s what I call it when I get that way. All kinds of feelings tumbling all over themselves. Well you know, you’re not quite blue, because you’re not really sad. And although you’re a little bit jealous you wouldn’t say you’re green with envy. And every now and then you realize you’re kind of scared but you’d hardly call yourself yellow…I hate that feeling. Just hate it. And I hate the color magenta. That’s why I named it that. Magenta. No way to really explain it but, fortunately between friends you don’t have to.” ~ Blanche Devereaux, The Golden Girls
When I was little my sister and I would love to have sleepovers at my great grandmother's house. Big Mom-mom, or Bigsy, as we lovingly called her, would let us eat "sweet" cereals for breakfast, hide coins for us to find in her old purses and wallets we'd play with, clap along as we danced around the house to her cassette tape of traditional Italian music (think of the most cliche sound of accordions and mandolins and then turn it up, loud) and let us pile every pillow in the house onto our fold-out couch bed and pretend we were living in a cloud. I remember forgetting my pajamas one time and practically melting into a pool of little girl dreams when she loaned me a dark blue, satin night gown that I believed made me look like a princess...I am sure I actually looked as if I were wearing a blue tent with lace trim, but my imagination was pretty sharp back then. I also remember feeling faint when the next morning she told me I could keep it over said bowl of "sweet" cereal. If I close my eyes, I can still smell her home.
One my favorite parts about sleepovers with Bigs was once we were tucked into that fold-out couch bed; Belle and I snuggled together in our sea of pillows, Bigsy nodding off in her chair next to us. We would watch a variety of TV shows together before falling asleep but the one that sticks out most in my memory is The Golden Girls.
For one thing, the show (in my humble opinion) was ahead of it's time--Sex and the City for the 55 and older crowd before Sex and the City was even a concept in Michael Patrick King's mind. It is hilarious, sweet, authentic and charming. I have always found my best friendships are those in which a mutual love for the GG's is held. It's one of the many reasons I am so fond of B, too. Though he teased me at first ("these old biddies are floozies!"), he now giggles along with me when I put an episode on :)
And for another, I have always thought my great grandmother resembled Bea Arthur a bit. She was tall and strong looking with white/silvered short hair and had a similar deeper toned voice. She even had a throaty cackle laugh that mirrored Ms. Arthur's. I remember sneaking peaks at Bigsy while she snoozed in her chair thinking "she looks so much like Dorothea...I wonder if....no no, that couldn't be...right?"
Sometimes, when I am feeling a bit like being a grown up is a tad overrated, I sit and watch a few Golden Girls episodes in bed, squished between a mound of fluffy pillows. There's a comfort in watching this show; a spirit lifting. A settling into the Magenta until it passes.
Fortunately, I have built a network of friends over the years that don't need much of an explanation for these magenta moods. This is the piece of Dorothea, Rose, Blanche and Sophia I am most drawn to, still, years after those sleepovers with Bigs--the displays of (and power within) friendship and loyalty so specific to female dynamics is something I deeply cherish in my own life.
I am incredibly lucky to have the sisters I do.
And I look forward to growing Golden with them :)