My friend, Gloria, died last week. She was my family’s au pair when I was growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. She lived with us from before I was born until I was five and then again a few years later. We have stayed in touch my entire life. It’s embarrassing how little I knew about her. It’s also lovely, though more on this later. I think she was from Maryland, though I could be making that up. I think she was adopted out of an orphanage (also possibly untrue). She came to work for us because my brother, then a toddler, liked her. What wasn’t to like? She was warm and kind and funny. She styled her hair like Rod Stewart. She used to wear roll-on lip gloss from a glass bottle covered in red flowers. I can still smell that gloss if I try. She never kissed you once, but in a series—little feather kisses—like she was snacking on the goodness of a kid (she was). She had a great laugh, a great smile (I think she had a bridge because I remember this little flash a silver whenever she opened her mouth). She could fill a room with her brand of joy and crazy. Children
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