I always blame my aunt for my credit card bills. Even though she has been gone now for a long time, she had great influence over me in many areas. Education. Behavior. The way I view my family. The way I view the world. And, perhaps unfortunately for me, the things that I like including clothes, accessories, and home furnishings.
My Aunt Red was the most elegant lady. She lived next door to me as i grew up. She was a fourth grade school teacher in a small elementary school in a county in northeastern Kentucky. She came from a county deep in the heart of eastern Kentucky. I’ve often wondered where she learned to be so refined, such a polished and stylish lady in a land where elegance wasn’t necessarily the norm. Survival was. I still can’t answer that question. But, I do remember seeing her reading Vogue Magazine years before anyone else around this part of the country knew what Vogue Magazine even was. In the 1920s, she was even a flapper girl!
Aunt Red was the definition of elegance in everything she was and did. She was dignified to a fault and graceful in her appearance and behavior. She dressed in a tasteful, yet simple, manner. But not cheap. Never cheap. Since she did not live in a place where designer clothes were available, she ordered them from nearby big cities. From stores like Saks. She started buying designer clothes for me when I was 12 and did so up until I left home at 20. Even after that, she would surprise me with clothes. The first designer piece of clothing she ever bought me was a black coat which I wish i had to this day. She taught me what to wear and what not to wear, lessons I remember still.
Do you see why I blame her for my clothing bills? Her lessons about appropriate, fine clothing are so ingrained in my head that I could not buy anything else if i tried and her lessons were taught to me 50 years ago.
But, Aunt Red was not all about clothes. She embodied elegance in many other ways. She was the glue that held our family together. Even more than my grandparents. After her death, I saw cracks start in my family. Cracks that have grown wider and deeper with time. Aunt Red helped people. She had many friends and, if it was within her power, she never let anyone suffer or want for anything. She took care of me, an only child, when my dad was working out of town and my mother couldn’t. She taught me to read at three years of age and put me in piano lessons at four. She was my second mother in every way that made a difference.
Aunt Red could go anywhere, fit in with any group of people, and look and sound like the best educated person in the room. She could discuss any subject and make any person to whom she spoke feel like they were the most important person she had ever met.
She passed away from a horrible, painful illness way too young. She never complained like the elegant lady she was, right to the end. The last thing she said to me, the night before she died, was to admonish me to finish my education. I loved her very much, as did everyone in my family. Every girl should have such a dignified, exquisite role model. I consider myself very lucky indeed. But i still blame her for my credit card bills! #amwriting #writing #amblogging #lifestyle
The Elegant Lady is a good story about an excellent role model. Your were fortunate to have her in your family. As for me, my role model was my Dad who would wear work clothes if doing a chore that called for such garb, but anytime else that he went anywhere he word a suit and tie, no exceptions permitted. But he had the advantage that he was a middle school teacher for many years, thus getting in the habit of suit and tie was not a problem. I enjoyed your blog.
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Very good Rosemary. I was fortunate to have to g mothers that a lot to offer and in different positive ways. Thanks for the reminder.