One of my daughter’s and my traditions when we come to Weekapaug, RI is to take a day to go to Mystic, Ct. and poke around the shops. The tradition started with my mother. She always liked to end the shopping trip with egg rolls and chopsuey at Zhang’s. That’s the only part we don’t do anymore. It is too sad without her.
So there we were poking around in a beautiful store called Whyevernot. It is filled with art and jewelry and clothes. The Teen was looking at necklaces. I was staring at a painting. A petite woman came over to open the necklace case for the Teen. Still staring at the painting, I asked, “Was this painting done by a children’s book illustrator?”
“Was it the illustrator of Waiting for Gregory?”
“No. It was the illustrator of Red Sings From Treetops. It was me.”
I squealed. “You’re Pamela Zagarenski?” I squealed again.
She said, “Shhh…shhh…you’re embarrassing me. Stop.”
I muffled my squealing but I couldn’t talk because I was so excited.
The Teen explained, “You have to understand. Meeting you for my mother is like if I met Johnny Depp.”
I nodded, still unable to speak. Pamela’s eyes widened, understanding the analogy.
Finally, words returned and Pamela and I talked about her work, the painting that was worth every penny of the $20,000 price tag, and then the magical moment happened: she took me into the back room where she showed me some of her unframed prints (all the framed ones were sold).
Every one was absolutely gorgeous. The Teen and I chose five and then I bought the last signed copy of This is Just to Say, Pamela’s first book with Joyce Sidman. I felt rich beyond all imagining.
As we left the shop, I sighed, “That was pure magic. I love moments like that.”
The teen wasn’t so sure.
“But, honey,” I said. “In moments like that, it almost seems like there is a crack in the universe. All of a sudden, you’re meeting someone who you’ve only imagined. It feels like magic is afoot and anything is possible. Like Johnny Depp could have walked up behind us at that very moment when I was squealing and gushing, seen how beautiful that painting was and bought it.”
And just because I imagined it and said it, it happened in our minds right then.