Friday, August 3, 2012

Her name was Helen

 She was my aunt, my mother's oldest sister, my grandmother Nellie's oldest child. She was my number one Nellie's Cottage fan, and was so excited I was restoring the old family home. I will miss her.
   Born in 1923, she was a teenager during the depression when they lost their home and had to move to a garage with dirt floors. I can only imagine my children doing such a thing!
Helen at her home (Nellie's Cottage) about 1939

Aunt Helen (right) with her best friend at high school graduation 1941
Look at that TINY waist!

She was 27 when she married, a war bride who spent the next 2 years praying her husband home from war. She was 20 years older than my mom, more a mother than a sister, and so she was more a grandmother to me than an aunt.
   Aunt Helen survived the loss her of youngest child who was only 14. She lived through the depression and several wars. She built a house, she was a bookkeeper, extremely thrifty, and she loved watching baseball:) She could cut a piece of a plant stick it in the ground and it would grow into a beautiful new plant. I did not inherit that ability:(
   My Uncle Leonard was wholly devoted to her for 61 years and feels her absence most keenly. As she was battling cancer, she was so gracious to those who cared for her, expressing gratitude for the tiniest service.
   I am so glad I had the chance to get to know her better in the last few years. I saw the twinkle in her eye as she told about how immature she thought Uncle Leonard was while they were growing up. I saw her face light up at she remembered and sang for me a childhood song. I saw the excitement in her face as she began to see the restoration of Nellie's Cottage. I saw the gratitude in her heart every time I made the small effort to visit her. 
Aunt Helen & Uncle Leonard with their grandchildren
Aunt Helen is telling the family about how the family started a new
life after the depression and how Nellie's Cottage came to be
Holding my grandbaby Annabelle
My Aunt Helen was the essence of a sweet Southern woman. She lived 88 years on this earth, truly a life well lived. I wonder if we ever really realize how much we take out loved ones for granted until they are gone. She loved her family, was kind to all, and I knew she loved me and in the end that is all that really matters.


  1. Thank you, Kimberly, for so sweet a post about Mom. Some of the pictures may have been ones that I never saw before. You are a good cousin and friend. Ty Aldrich

  2. Kimberly, this was beautifully written. What an amazing tribute. You are probably so right in that we often miss what is right in front of us. I cherish the memories I have of my grandparents and wish so often that my children could have known them.

  3. Beautiful tribute. Small world, I graduated with Leslie.

  4. Kimberly, no truer words have been written. Thank you for such a great tribute to our mother! She was indeed a wonderful person, loving wife, caring mother, and helpful sister. Great job cuz!!!
    Paul Aldrich

  5. Kim, so very sorry for your families loss. I only met her the one time, but I remember her very well. She was a sweet lady and I felt that immediately! Hugs to you and your family. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady.