Friday, April 29, 2011
I have always been a big royal family fan. I remember watching Charles and Diana get married when I was in 11th grade. The cinderella story had me riveted. I feel a great sense of honor and excitement to be sharing my birthday with William and Kate. I remember, It was the night before my c-section with Kayleigh that the sad news of Diana's death was told to me by my aunt when I came back from a pre-birth dinner with my husband. I remember the shock I felt, and the strange sense of disbelief as I watched the news that night. I remember thinking, how sad, that she won't be there to see her beautiful sons grow up. How tragic that she will never hold her grandchildren. How truly sad I felt for those poor boys, who had just lost their only chance at having any kind of a "normal" experience of life.
I think Diana would be very proud of her sons. She left them with a legacy of love and kindness. But mostly, she instilled in them the sense of being normal boys in a world of priveledge. Two thumbs up for Wills, marrying a lovely girl, who is even more than his mother, "the people's princess" I wish them a lifetime of love and happiness. They deserve it.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Photo L-R Anna, Anne, Marie, Hank, Hans, Tony, Antone
She didn’t get her grace and elegance as the daughter of immigrant farmers., being raised on a ranch was not the charm school most would attend. And yet she grew with more and dignity and poise that any charm school debutante ever possessed. She was the family Fashionista. Loved the color blue, and never hesitated to tell you if anything you did was unladylike. She also never hesitated to tell you if the outfit you wore didn't look right, or ask if you had lost or put on a few pounds. I always made sure to "dress up" when I went to visit her. I got the most compliments when I wore blue (go figure)... I think she was born that way. A combination of solid grounded practicality, with an inner elegance and refinement no circumstance would alter.
Photo L-R Irma, George, Hank, Hans, Anne, Tony, Marie
I asked her recently what it was like to live during the depression. She said "We really didn’t notice it too much because everyone we knew was in the same boat. You just made do with what you had, or you went without. Everyone helped one another. You gathered together as a family and shared the burdens. Big family get togethers, barbeques and picnics with everyone sharing what they had. We were never hungry. We had a roof over our heads. We were so much more fortunate than others."
I love the story of her and her Sister Marie (my grandma) and a fur coat. It was 1931. Marie wanted this muskrat coat, but couldn’t afford it, so she convinced Anne to pay half and they would share it. Kind hearted as she was, Auntie Anne didn’t have the heart to tell my grandma that she really didn’t want the coat, (she thought the muskrat was kind of yucky) or even like it… “but Marie really wanted it, and so I agreed.” After a few months of swapping the coat back and fourth after church on Sunday, Uncle Francis asked her “You really don’t like that coat do you?” She admitted she had done it to make her sister happy. So he took her out and bought her a new coat, and Anne gave the coat to Marie and said "You keep it Marie, it looks so much better on you anyway."
Auntie Anne became my surrogate grandma when Gramma Marie died. At 26, I assumed my grandma would be there forever, and that I would have PLENTY of time to visit her later. Then she was gone, and I had so many regrets over not visiting her more, and spending more time with her, and really sitting down and listening to her stories. Auntie Anne helped me ease the loss of my grandma. She was my connection to her. Sometimes she would say something like my grandma would have said, and I would feel like she was there with us. I would visit with her, and she would tell me all the stories of when they were young. We would look at all the photos and she would tell me who they were, what they were doing, and little snippets of memories of the day. My most precious ones are the ones of her and an old boyfriend and a cousin and my grandparents at Russleman park swimming in their 1930’s era bathing suits… clowning around and making funny faces for the camera. On the back of a photo of my grandma in a bathing suit hugging my grandpa, it says “Marie and Ben had a fight” we laughed at that one, because it was very typical of them… and she says, "well, obviously they made up… they got married after that.”
She LIVED all 96.3 years of her life. Her family, her art, her dolls and her love are the legacy she leaves behind. Our tradition of playing We are Family at weddings and dancing around the bride just won't be the same without her sweet smiling face joining in the fun with us all...
Surrounded by love, her kids there with her, she layed down on the couch, freshly coiffed from her hair appointment, full makeup and dressed to the hilt, she slipped away peacefully, with the quiet and dignity she had hoped she would see in the end. I like to think that her big heart, so full of love, just finally gave out from all the loving she had done here on earth. God came while she was napping, took her by the hand and said "It’s time to go Anne." And she went, toward a light filled with all the love of her family that had passed before her, the sound of a harmonica playing Roll out the Barrel faintly in the distance and Uncle Bill hollering "Saddle Up Anne…"
The hole that her passing left will never be filled. I want to honor her memory the best way I can, by remembering her with love, and humor... She told her family when she moved herself back into her house after leaving the retirement home... "I'm not leaving my house again unless it's feet first..." And as usual... she got her way.