Friday, January 20, 2023

The Purple Lady

It was 1986. We were living in the Seattle area at the time, and a travel group my grandparents were involved with did a trip up north to Vancouver, BC, Canada, to attend Expo '86. Seattle held the World's Fair in 1962 (before my time), and we have the Space Needle as a memory of it. Now it was Vancouver's turn. Being that I was 8 at the time (I turned 9 later that year), I only have a few memories of it. One was the sculpture of cars in the sidewalk. Another was when my glasses fell off and shattered. (Thankfully, I had a spare pair back at the hotel!) They had pavilions (the fair, not my glasses). There was a building shaped like a globe (which is still there, picture at the bottom of this post). 

Another memory I have is The Purple Lady.

As I remember it, we encountered her in the crowd. She was dressed entirely in purple. She had a purple purse and purple hair. I seem to recall her wearing a purple hat as well. As we were right next to each other, we got talking. She was very friendly. I don't remember the specifics of our conversation, though I do remember discussing the plethora of purple (even if I don't think I knew the word "plethora" at the time). She gave me a purple business card with her name and the title "The Purple Lady." (I had the card for years, but don't know where it is now, or if I still have it.) I love how she marched to the beat of her own drum. She stood out from the crowd, and she didn't care. That child-like attitude still inspires me.

A few minutes ago, in preparation for writing this blog, I googled "Purple Lady" and discovered some videos about one! She is around 80 now, which would have put her in her early 40s in 1986... I seem to recall the Purple Lady I met looking like she was in her 70s at the time, but as I was 8, my perception may have been a bit off. I don't know if this is the same Purple Lady, but Sandra Ramos lives in a purple hut in New Jersey, with a purple car, a purple bike, and just about everything else in purple. That's a long way from Vancouver, of course, but as it was the World's Fair (opened by Prince Charles and Princess Diana), there were visitors from all over the world. Maybe? Over the past decades, she has been an activist for battered women and homelessness, advocating for peace, and more, and is also very in tune with nature and making the world a better place. I think there's a lot we can learn from her (possibly two women, but maybe the same person) about going through life with a child-like (which is very different from childish) and purposeful attitude, with a determination to better everyone and everything around us.

Following are a couple videos about Sandra Ramos, The Purple Lady, one from four years ago, and the other from last year:

Expo '86
Science World/Getty Images

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