It's a given that your first visit to Ollivander's Wand shop in Diagon Alley will be memorable. You just don't want it to be traumatic for you, your mom, your great aunt and Ollivander himself if at all possible.
My great aunt Arnie who'd married an English wizard after attending Hogwarts herself was so excited to accompany my mother and I when I was 11 years old and due to board the Hogwarts Express for the first time in a few days. Her husband died in the first big Voldemort uprising, but she had stayed in England living in a little village outside of London. She's probably the reason I got my Hogwarts letter, having strongly expressed her desire for me to attend the prestigious school. Her sister, my grandmother, stayed in the States and attended Ilvermorny, as did my mom... but for my great aunt I know it meant a lot that I would be going to Hogwarts. But first a wand!
"This is so different, I can't get over it. Shopping for a wand?! Like socks?!" my mom laughed shifting the bag containing my school robes.
"I know, Virginia," Aunt Arnie said, "Ilvermorny has a whole ceremony at the school. And their ridiculous rules about not taking the wands out of the school? How is that practical?"
"Just takes one No-maj to ruin it for everyone I guess," I said, catching my chocolate frog before it jumped over my shoulder.
"Muggles, sweetie," Aunt Arnie corrected, "Here we call No-maj's Muggles."
"Right." I knew my mom and great aunt were worried about me being American and going to school in Scotland and saying everything wrong, but I was just ready to get my wand and get going already. I pulled open the shop door and ducked in before another lecture commenced.
No one was at the desk and the musty smell reminding me of our basement at home with my father's boxes of magazines he collected. We weren't in the tiny foyer of the shop for long before an ancient looking white haired wizard came in through a curtain.
"Ah, yes, Virgina Bennington Windsor," Ollivander said in way of greeting to my great aunt, "Chestnut, 13 inches, unicorn hair, springy I believe?"
"My goodness, that's exactly correct, sir," my aunt said pleased.
Eyeing my mother, "You posses a wand not of my making, madam?"
Clearing her throat, my mom nodded, "Yes."
"May I?" Ollivander held his hand out.
"Oh," my mom handed the shopping bags to my aunt and pulled her wand out and handed it to the wandmaker.
He turned it over, "Interesting... Elm wood, 11 inches, swishy... and is that White River Monster spine in the core?"
Ollivander handed it back, "A shame the wizard who could charm those creatures died without sharing his trick with the rest of us. A powerful core indeed." He turned his attention to me finally and I put the wizard card, Gilderoy Lockhart, in my back jeans pocket. "And now for the youngest witch, a wand is required. Follow me."
We all filed behind him to a room with even more wands, stacked from floor to tall ceiling. My aunt had explained how it would work, the wand choosing me after a few tries maybe with other wands.
Well. A few hundred.
I was glad we were in a back room, I heard the impatient customers in the front of the shop, and I was near tears. I'd set curtains of fire 3 times, caused 4 whirlwinds, made everything ring but the bell I was aiming at, and generally was causing Ollivander to slowly lose his patience or mind either one.
My mom was trying to be supportive, but my Aunt was freaking out, "Does it mean she's a squib, Ollivander?! I've never heard this taking so long, I had mine on the third try!"
"Madam, please," Ollivander said while balancing precariously on the ladder reaching up for another wand, "A squib, as you so indelicately put it, could hardly cause the structural damage my shop has sustained. Let's try this... one...."
I waved it: Boxes of wand flew across the room, but Ollivander still seemed dissatisfied.
"Let's try another approach, close your eyes..."
"Without opening your eyes, can you tell how many wands are on the counter in front of you?"
It was strange, I could almost see an outline of not boxes, but different wands, "Eight."
"And what core do they posses? What is inside them?"
I kept my eyes closed, "Hair... mostly. A feather in one... and something else like thread?"
Ollivander started laughing, "Aha! That is the reason: She's a wandtouched witch."
"What?" my mother and great aunt asked.
"She feels connection to some degree with all wands, but no clear winner will be easy to find," he said mounting the ladder, "Someday she may become a wandmaker herself, and will need to fashion her own wand. However in the meantime, I think this: Rowan, 14 and a half inches, unicorn hair."
And like Cinderella, the shoe fit. The bell rung and we all heaved a sigh.
After my mom paid him for my new wand, Ollivander pulled a curtain aside and revealed a door, "I suggest you follow me out of the shop. I am heading to the Leaky Cauldron for some fire whiskey. I'll deal with the mob out front later."
Sadly I was not allowed my own fire whiskey.