Monday, June 14, 2010

Did you have an Aunt Lou in your life?

I was 8 years old when I met Aunt Lou.

We had just moved and she was an neighbor.
(warning-long post for me)

When she found out it was my birthday, she baked a cake.

I think of her often but especially around my birthday.

I can see her in my mind although I don't have a photo of her.

She became a mentor although I didn't realize it for years.

She was an original and could care less what people thought.

She and her hubby ran their own race.

Every time she saw me outside, she invited me to come over and
I always learned something!
She and her hubby traveled a great deal and she loved to show
her photo's.

I think she knew I was "hard wired" for travel
and loved to visit these magical places with her.

As I grew older, she had me come over before dates so
she could "check out" what I was wearing.

She took an interest in whatever was going on in my life.

When I had an opportunity to become an exchange student
she was one of my biggest champions.
When I came home from Holland and told her I had
met a boy and he would be visiting for the summer,
guess who was outside waiting to meet him when
my family arrived home from the airport?
She was like a fairy God mother to me.

The picture above is a painting that she left me.
She taped this bit of information on the back of the painting.
She passed away in 1984.

Aunt Lou inspired me to go for it.

She and her hubby had gone to the Soviet Union
in 1973.
A very different time and not the easiest thing to do back then.

I loved Russian history and drooled over her pictures.
I shared with her that I would love to go.

Being Aunt Lou- she said "you must start saving your money now".
She gave me the incentive and the courage to go for it.
I went to the travel agent in town and did some research.
I made the trip in Feb. 1974.
ALONE. I was 20.

My dad was a little (o.k, he was REALLY) freaked out
but trusted that I could handle myself.

When I got my itinerary, I took it over to
Aunt Lou.

She advised me to hang onto it.
As you can see, I did.
When I look at it now, it is kind of shocking.

I took photo's, a lot of them.
My little camera was cheap but it served me well.

It was so cold but these men sat in the park playing chess.

Women shoveling the snow outside the walls of the Kremlin.

The Spire inside The Peter and Paul Fortress in Leningrad.

You could still see damage from the war outside
Yekaterininsky Palace.

Aunt Lou gave me so much.

Confidence, hope, and the importance of running your own race.

As I turn 56 (screaming in my head), I can still see
her walking towards me with a birthday cake.

Now, that is what I want to be like when I grow up.



Connie said...

What a SWEET post and tribute to your Aunt Lou, honey. I'm sure she's seeing it now from her perch in heaven.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a special lady-who obviously loved you to pieces. I didn't have an Aunt Lou, but I did have a Grandma and Grandpa Franks. They were my substitute grandparents when we lived in Indiana. I still remember the candy jar they kept filled for my brother and me, and the way they'd pull us onto their laps.

And good gracious you were brave, going off on your own! Even braver were your parents! I love your photos. That must have been a life changing trip.
Sending you a kiss on the cheek!

Elizabethd said...

What a lovely lady she must have been. What courage it tok to go alone to Russia back then....but what wonderful memories you must have.

C'est La Vie said...


Barb said...

I'm returning to moderating comments-yuck. Just had a slew of junk come in on old posts.

Spam people- please find something else to do.

Theresa said...

Oh what a precious story! I loved it that Aunt Lou meant so much to you and had such a big influence in your life:)

You know I was 56 on my Birthday in May! We are the same YOUNG!

Loved the pictures! Old pictures are the best!

Have a blessed day my friend! HUGS!

Pondside said...

Before I read the post I enlarged the photo of the painting and said to myself 'that's in Denmark' - and so it was!
It's wonderful to have a person like your Aunt Lou in a young person's life!

Debi said...

Absolutely amazed, that's what I am that you would go on your own to Russia at age 20. It took me till I was in my 50's to go with a group!! I bet that trip really shaped you. What an incredible woman Aunt Lou must have been! I'm looking forward to reading the book you recommended.


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

WOW BARB! THis is one of my favorite posts! Don't hold out on us have to have more gems like this one up your sleeve! Aunt Lou sounds like she was a special angel in your life; how fortunate you were. She sounds like nulle autre...what an impact. I wanna be just like her.....Anita

Deanna said...

Dear Barb, Thank you for stopping by my place...I was working on a post about going to the rock...published it and then saw where you had left a comment. You mentioned the ROCK! Awesome.

We're on the same page.

Your Aunt sounds like a gem. My Aunt Lou would come in the form of another sweet Mom. I hope to be an Aunt Lou type!

HaPpY BiRtHdAy to you! 56 huh? I turn 55 in about a month. Tis GRAND.

God bless,

My Grama's Soul said...

What a fabulous post to your wonderful MENTOR!! You were so lucky to have had her.



Kim's Treasures said...

Oh wow, what an ispiration she was for you! What a lucky girl!

Your photos are amazing! I don't think I would have been brave enough to go alone, not sure I would be now either. I think I need to dig deep and be braver.

I am impressed!


Charm and Grace said...

What a beautiful tribute to what must have been a wonderful person. What really got me, though, was your gutsy trip and that itinerary. Unbelievable that you did that at 20. Such beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.


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