Monday, May 14, 2012

how to honor a young friend passed (the new orleans memorial)

here's how suzanne monaco's new orleans  friends did it. the plum street house where she lived as a student. sold by her parents, the new owners graciously invited them in. 

The memorial in New Orleans was so Suz. I walked into the small room in the architecture building carrying her famous bean salad (which I had MAJOR anxiety making, because it needed to be just right) to see a table full of people and a gigantic projected picture of Suzanne dressed as a blue mermaid. We all spoke of Suz fondly, recalling epic adventures and the small moments - each equally important. It seems everyone's memories had a similar theme - Suz was wonderful, she really knew how to live her life, we should all take her as a model, and we all love her very much. People cried, people laughed, and people drank Jameson (among other things) in her honor. Then came the slide show full of fur coats, glitter, crazy hair, Mardi Gras beads, foreign places, bike rides, smudged mascara, smiling faces - blue eyes. She will always be beautiful.
Slowly people slipped out of the door and into the world, then suddenly the opening notes of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" came over the loud speaker - Danielle was the DJ. I don't know how it happened, but everyone ended up wildly dancing on the table in the conference room. Everyone was laughing, smiling, fist pumping, dropping it low, you name it - this time the projected picture was of Suzanne laughing hysterically in her fur coat with wild hair. We danced to all the classic Plum Street hits. Micheal Jackson, Gaga, and a few others that I have heard many times, but don't know the names of. During this time, I slipped out of the room, and found myself wandering around the architecture studio - to the confusion of some student stragglers. I came across a looming stack of library books on a student's swivel chair, and something told me to look. At the bottom of the stack was a book called, "Splendid Survivors" - a title that seemed fitting for the occasion. So I pulled it out of the stack to look at the cover - when I found the full title "Splendid Survivors: The architecture of downtown San Fransisco". It was too perfect, it was from Suzanne, it was for me. Soon after, the rain - which had been pouring from the sky for almost the entire memorial - cleared away and we biked for her.
First stop was Plum Street. We must have looked like a biker gang, rolling up to the house with at least 9 people. We knocked on the door and the couple who lives there graciously let us in. The house has been renovated and looks something out of the magazines Suz often left on our coffee table. The owners let us track our mud all the way to the back where we decided to shot gun a beer in her honor. We said our goodbyes and thank yous, proceeding to the Tree of Life, a 300+ year old oak tree in Audubon park. The sun had set, it was that magical time of the night when everything becomes quiet. Though I have been to the tree before, I have never climbed it - I knew this was my time. So we all climbed up into the tree at varying levels(..since at about 3 feet I slipped and fell from the branch flat onto my back, my homage to Suz's clumsiness). We sat there talking about the little things...knowing Suz was close by, probably higher in the tree because she can be. We all came down, pants stained, toes covered with bark and dirt. On to stop three - St. Joe's bar with a random detour at Slice...sharing 3 pizzas at the outside table, family style. No plates, no napkins. Sadly this is where my time with Suz's New Orleans family ended. But I will carry it with me forever - it was so Suz. I will try my best to live from this day forward as one of her "Splendid Survivors".

you can find many tributes:

and here are pictures from the chico memorial: