The Princess Leia of Pastry

I have been trying not to say too much about job interviews, because you never know.  Even if the interview went well and you’re imminently qualified, you don’t know who else is walking into that office and sitting down with the staff.  The best thing you can hope for is that you presented yourself as the best you are.  Then you know that if you aren’t offered the job it’s because there was genuinely a better candidate for the position.

That being said, I have an interview with Scripps College.  In an effort to cobble together a definitive answer to “why Scripps, specifically?” (I didn’t think “because pretty campus, music” was good enough) I did a little digging on their website.  I learned that the Fine Arts Foundation is based there, an organization that my grandmother was instrumental in helping to run until she was diagnosed with cancer.  There is a memorial scholarship in her name, too.

I was trying to explain the significance of this to Brian, how we were such a tight-knit family that it was part of my childhood as well.  The only thing I could think of  to illustrate my point was the Saint Lucia lunch.  My sister and I participated several years in a row.  I was probably about ten.

“What is Saint Lucia?” he asked.

“It’s a Swedish thing,” I said.  “On the winter solstice, the oldest girl in the family dresses as Saint Lucia, in a white dress with a red sash and candles in a wreath on her head.  She wakes everyone up in the dark and invites them to breakfast.”

Brian started laughing.

“No, I mean it sounds a little silly, but I think it’s about returning to the bountiful spring again,” I said.

“So how does this fit in with the Fine Arts Foundation?” he asked.

“They used to have a brunch once a year.  There were about four of us who would dress up, braid our hair, and pass out hot cross buns on a silver tray. I was usually the oldest.”

“Like Princess Leia, but with baked goods?”

“Uhh, yes,” I said.

“That’s awesome.”

There were fashion shows sometimes, too, and other little events.  Still, I will always remember the suited lady in the banquet hall lighting the real candles on my wreath, blooming golden in the dark, tables scattered around.  They placed the tray in my hands, piled with pastry, and slid the doors open to the white reception room.  I was ordered not to walk anywhere until the candles had been blown out.  For a split second, I got to be Kirsten Larsen the American Girl, and invite them all to breakfast.  At the age of ten, it doesn’t get better than this.

Whatever happens this afternoon, Scripps’ history and my history are intertwined.  I doubt I’ll ever get to be the Princess Leia of pastry again, but at least I have the memories.

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Categories: History, Life | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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