I then I got to thinking about two of her older sisters...my aunts...who were also so good at making others feel welcome in their home.
My Aunt Mary and Aunt Anna are the two girls in the centre of the picture...having a tea party with all their cousins in 1926. The family lived in Neu-Schoensee, Ukraine and life as they knew it...including tea parties with cousins...was soon to come to an end. That same year my mother was born...and several years later the family fled Russia...leaving most all their possessions behind.
Fast forward some three decades...and I was a child who lived for Friday night visits to the home of my cousins. My aunts had a way of making us all feel special at their place. Aunt Mary...famous for her sponge cakes and hugs all around...managed to accommodate crowds in the little house on their farm. At Aunt Anna's we rode the pony...went for a swim...and had coconut macaroons.
The years flew by...and before she had a chance to get old...Aunt Mary was gone. In year 2000 my mom passed away very suddenly...and after that I went to visit my Aunt Anna as often as possible. She had stories...some I had never heard. She was hospitable to the end...wanting her visitors to feel welcome. The last time I visited her...she told me about the family heirloom...the only item of value that came with them out of Russia. It was a samovar...
(Aunt Anna with my sister and I ~ 2005)
Soon after that visit...Aunt Anna had her final tea party on earth...and went on to her eternal reward.
I don't think I ever thanked my aunts for the hospitality they showed...or the good role models they were. Today I know I was most blessed to have Aunt Mary and Aunt Anna...two wonderful women...in my life.