Monday, September 23, 2013

Lessons Learned From The Past Generation~ Love To My Aunt Alene and Aunt Della~

Aunt Della - Happy 100th Birthday~
This past week my dear Aunt Della turned 100 years old. I would say that is quite an achievement. My sweet Aunt Alene is 92 years old and has always been an inspiration to me. I loved watching these two elegant woman as they laughed and enjoyed just being together as sisters. My mother was the middle sister and she passed away in 2006 at the age of 90. My mother had written her own history  and before she passed a way I completed her history and my Dad's and was able to read it to her before her death. Thus my desire to do histories was born.
Aunt Alene and Aunt Della~
Aunt Della, Aunt Alene & Uncle Keith~
First let me talk about my ever endearing Aunt Alene. Growing up I spent countless hours in their home. Whenever, my parents wanted to take a trip; I often times stayed with my Aunt Alene. I loved being around my cousins. I especially enjoyed Mari and Mitzi  my two younger cousins. We would play house and dress up all the time. I remember well the little tea set used as we dressed up and pretended to share cocoa from a small table and chairs. We also loved to play with dolls.  I was the oldest of the three and we had wonderful fun together. The three oldest sons had a room in the attic of their home and I remember having a great time with all five cousins whenever I visited. We loved bouncing on the beds in the attic bedroom.There was a very large tree in their yard that we loved to climb. To me, my Aunt Alene was always a wonderful mother to her family. I'm sure I never heard her yell at her children; of course, I've said that also about  my own wonderful Mother. I probably didn't follow those examples.
My Aunt Alene is a hard worker and a great cook. I remember enjoying dinners and other celebration at their home. I loved the trips that my Mother and Grandmother would make to the small town of Monroe where my Aunt lived. they were always fun visits. My dear grandmother would make mention on the way home how she didn't know how Aunt Alene managed with all of those children. She would say: "Oh That Poor Little Thing". I also loved my Uncle Kirtley. He had  such a fun personality. He always had a story to tell and no one could top his stories. They both had beautiful voices and would sing in church, at local celebrations and for many funerals. I loved to hear them sing. As I grew older I always felt  close to my Aunt Alene. In some ways she was like a sister to me. I didn't have one, so she seemed to fill that role in my early teenage and adult life.

Aunt Alene and Uncle Kirtley~
Now a few thoughts about my lovely and amazing Aunt Della. I didn't know my Aunt Della very well while growing up. They lived in Washington and would usually make just one visit a year while we were living in Richfield, Utah. she and my Uncle Bill were always a delight to be around. Their son Billie, was the same age as my oldest brother Mac. They, along with my other brother John, would constantly tease and torment me, but I probably enjoyed the attention. I also remember that my Uncle Bill was a lot of fun to be around. Later in life, my Aunt Della and Uncle Bill moved back to Utah.  My Uncle Bill developed dementia  in his later years and my Aunt tenderly took care of him for over 8 years. She had to place him in a care center but never missed a day of being with him to feed him when he was unable to do so. She was an ever dedicated wife to her dear husband.
Bill and Della's 50th Wedding Anniversary~
Eight years ago we moved back from Washington to Utah. My wonderful mother moved in with us for the last few months of her life and passed away in 2006. After her funeral I began to make regular visits to my Aunt Della who lived close by in Bountiful. Eventually I asked her if I could prepare her life history and she said yes, but she couldn't imagine anyone being interested in her life. Thus began the best part of our sweet endearing relationship
I have been fascinated with her life story. She is so different from what I thought.
I have learned many lessons from her. None of these three sisters had easy lives. When they were born they lived in a little home on a small farm Their father passed away in 1922 during the flu epidemic.  My Aunt Della was eight at the time, my mother was five years old and my Aunt Alene just two years old. Both my mother and my Aunt told me the story of  grandfather Peterson's death. They remember going into his room to say good by and witnessed him talking to his mother who had passed away barely two months earlier. Thus their testimony of life after death was born. My grandfather had just sold his farm in Central, Utah and was moving his family back to Richfield; which was just a few miles away. Now my grandmother was left to raise three girls on her own. Later my Grandmother sent  my mother and Aunt Della to stay with other family members while she went to Murray, Utah to become a nurse. She took my Aunt Alene with her. Later she came back and operated some maternity homes and was the town's nurse for several years. The three girls had to learn quickly how to cook, iron and clean a house. The years were hard but my Aunt Della said; she never felt like they were poor even though they were.
All three sisters were seasoned with spunky fun personalities, a strong work ethic, and sprinkled  with a bit of Peterson stubbornness. They've each been remarkable examples of devoted mothers and wives. I learned many things about loving and caring for others by watching  them through the years. Each of them experienced difficult times with great fortitude and  grace. Life wasn't easy for them yet they persevered.
My mother, Leone, Alene and Della~
Alene, Della and Leone~
Alene, Leone, Della and my Grandmother, Dora~

Aunt Della had just one son; whom she loves with all her heart.
Bill and his mother, Della~
I often wondered why she didn't have more children but eventually learned that his birth was very difficult and she was strongly advised not to have more children.
Her life took a different pathway; and she pursued it with energy and dignity. One of the things that I have admired about each is they have always strived to look their best. Each has made it personal standard to have their hair done and make-up on before leaving the house. Both Aunts are like that today. They always looks so nice with their jewelry on and ready to go.
They each exemplify the finer virtues of modesty, grace, humility, kindness and love. There isn't anyone that has known them that doesn't love them. They have had countless friends who have loved and cherished them. 
My Aunt Della was excited to make it to the age of 100. She had three Birthday Parties and enjoyed them all. Saturday was a Birthday Party with all of her children and a two of her grandchildren.
Front row: Aunt Della, Bill and his wife Mary Jo -
Back row: Della's Grandchildren; Keith, Julie and Chip~

Aunt Della's family: Back row: Mark, Julie's husband, Keith, Chip, Great Grandson; Jacob, Granddaughter Julie and Great Grandson, Zack~
During the past several years as I have come to know her better, I have grown so close to her. Both Aunts have eased the ache of losing my mother.
My Aunt Della is a great listener and has listened to my tales of woe; and my greatest joys. She gives sound advice when asked but mainly just remains a steadfast supportive influence in my life. 
Aunt Della's years have taught her much and as she has shared her life experiences I have gained such a love for her and her generation.
I have found that we all have certain stories we should share with others that can uplift and strengthen many.  These two sisters are treasured by me I have loved learning about their individual lives. I greatly value the time I've been blessed to share with them.
A special thank you to my Aunt Della and Aunt Alene; you both have enriched my life in endless ways. May you be blessed by your loving Heavenly Father with health and strength to  share more time with those you love.
More Birthday Pictures of Aunt Della's Family Party~
Front Row: Della and her Sister Alene, her husband Keith
Back Row: A few of Aunt Alene's Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren with
Shirley, and Dave; Aunt Alene's Son and daughter in law,
her son Jim and her daughter Mari~
Back Row: Della's Niece LeAnn (me) and Roger  -
Front Row: Della, Bill and Mary Jo~
I had the joyful moment of presenting to my dear Aunt Della
 her completed history at this birthday celebration~


Denise said...

Sweet, sweet post. Much love, and many blessings to them both.

Ceil said...

Hi LeAnn! Well, it's a good day to find your blog, isn't it? I get to meet so much of your family :)

My husband's aunt is 96, the only sister left of three. My mother in law died in 2010, the youngest of the three.

have to commend you for your tender love and care for the elderly in your family. I see what my husband (and I to a lesser extent) does for his Aunt. It's so important that these precious people are treated with love and respect.

I like you already! I hope you will come and visit me. Maybe you'd like to be blog buddies :)

singing/granny said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful post! I grew up with great aunts that were my grandmother's sisters. They were so close to each other, and so kind to all of us. I miss them! It was nice to read your similar to my own...of fun times with cousins. You have done a wonderful service in preparing a history for your aunt. I am sure she will treasure it as will her family. Keep up the good work! You are a pleasure to know! Melody

thomas family said...

Sweet stories! I wish I could have been there to celebrate. You are a very dedicated and loving niece. Love you, Mom!

The Adventurer said...

What a wonderful Lady...and a very Happy Belated Birthday. It is so wonderful that you have so many older photographs of your family, not something that I have as my family moves around a lot and we don't have the close connection. I admire your family for staying so focused on being a close family...If you are ever in MO let me know and maybe we can met one day:)


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