10.07.2010

Sibling Assignment #136: Ten Lessons Learned from Auntie Lila



The most recent sibling assignment was to write about an aunt. My brother wrote such a touching tribute about me which you can find here. Thanks Raymond Pert.

My Auntie Lila is my mom's older sister. We saw her at least once a year during my growing up years. During the summer I often walked up Michigan Avenue from my grandma's house to visit her warm, inviting home. I can remember times she babysat children, watered her lawn, pruned roses, picked green beans, and got dinner started all before the heat really settled into the Orofino valley in the late afternoon. I used to love to sit in the kitchen while Mom and Lila had coffee and chatted about people and events that dated back to when they were kids.  There were many lessons I learned during all those years. Here are ten important ones:

1) Night Owls Rule! I used to love to stay overnight at Lila's in the summer because she loved to stay up really late and watch T.V. , visit, and have ice cream. I loved being another West night owl.

2) Headbands are Cool! My aunt has never looked her age, but I always loved it that she wore headbands to hold back her hair which made her seem very hip when I was a preteen.

3) Surround Yourself with Reading Material.  She has book shelves in her living room, book shelves in her hall, magazines and magazines on her coffee table, a great stack in the bathroom, newspapers around,and probably more books in the back room. I always found something interesting to read at Lila's and we share a love for reading.

4) Cookies Help You Through the Day. My aunt had a cookie jar that sat in the same place on the kitchen counter for as long as I can remember. It was always filled with cookies... always. She had these yummy Sunshine storeboughts that we never had at our house. It was such a treat to dig into the cookie jar while visiting.

5) You Need Your Beauty Sleep. Along with staying up it was always fun to sleep in at Lila's house. She was never one of those up at five o'clock a.m. aunties. It was okay to sleep in while on summer vacation.
  My Uncle Bob, Lila, Grandma West, and Mom in 1955.

6) It is All About Family. Lila's family is the center of her life. Her walls are covered with photos, she tells stories, visits family, loved it when her grandchildren were born,  would wait for her son to drive by in the logging truck, hoped her daughter would stop by after work at the clinic, was happy when her other daughter drove up from Boise, and seemed to like us tearing around in the summer also.

7) Home Grown Vegetables Are the Best. Lila had an incredible garden. My dad would wander around picking up tips from Lila before he got serious about raising his own garden. Whether corn, green beans, or cucumbers... they all tasted better out of her garden.

8) A Yard Need Flowers. I probably have carried this lesson more than any others. Between my aunt and my two grandmothers growing flowers was instilled in me from a very early age. I remember thinking I could never grow roses because Lila's were magnificent and I figured that meant they were hard to grow. I loved the coleus, zinnias, and other bedding plants that surrounded her yard. Every year when I begin planting flowers I think of her.


9) Smile and the World Smiles with You. Lila is always smiling. She could have been baking a cake, boiling corn, and canning beans in the kitchen during a hot August day in Orofino, and she would have a smile when we came into the door.
 10) The Way To The Heart Is Through the Kitchen. Again,all the women in my family have surrounded me with a love for food, fellowship, recipes, dinners, birthday parties, and much time spent gathering around the table. She would bake cakes even if it was summer and hot. She perfected Swiss Steak with the best cut of sirloin from the Glenwood IGA and served it with buttered corn on the cob on the side. My brother shared the same birthday with my grandmother and here they are having a rare celebration together in the early sixties.


My Auntie Lila will turn ninety in June. Her lessons will continue to be passed down for many years to come.  The picture at the top was taken last summer at a family reunion by my cousin Michelle.She is one aunt to remember!

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