I didn’t think I had a shoot out this week – my 52nd weekly post and I was going to skip it. Then looking back of my past year, reflecting on my 60th year I re-read this post and decided that even though you may have read it before posting again was good for me. So A Final Salute to Luisa -
Monday, August 10, 2009
Luisa Mannchen - January 26, 1922 to August 4, 2009
My last entry the day after Luisa died was pretty emotional. I appreciate and thank those who left me messages of comfort.
I have spent the past 5 days since then helping her sons go through all the things a person leaves around their home, in the closets, the dressers and throughout the cupboards. Things that at one time or the other seems important, but to us doing the sorting is hard to see why? or what? or when it could have been important.
My first thought was, Oh-my-Gawd! but by the time I had washed and folded and bagged just her cloths, I had regained my respect for her. The white shirts where with the white shirts, the bright colors with bright colors, tee shirts were separate of satin shirts, winter was separate of summer and night wear of day wear. I would never be able to find anything to wear if my cloths were that organized but now I know how she could go back to her room and emerge 30 minutes later in complete makeup, all dressed up with color coordinated earrings, wrist watch and handbag. (She came to despair that she would never be able to get me out of my blue jeans and tennis shoes, with my one watch and always brown handbag that my camera fits into.)
I have met Luisa’s two sons, one almost 2 years older and one a little less than 2 years younger than I, only a few times over the past 20 years. One lives in Florida has been in Houston maybe 5 times that I know of in those years and the younger one lives here in Houston and has been to my home with his mother 4 or five times for Thanksgiving dinners and a few other occasions, but I wouldn’t say we knew each other just have mutual relationships to Luisa. But this week we have talked and laughed and compared notes on what we each know of her life. We sat and looked through shoe box after shoe box of photos of her and her mother, and aunts and pictures of the boys as children. I finally went to her computer and began to scan in some photos. (Which you are now enjoying)
Raised by a single mother and aunt, Luisa was very modern in her thinking. She was one class short of a degree in biology from the U of H, drove at 17, owned her own car while at university (a woman in university in the 40s), loved to dance and during WWII drove to Galveston to meet the soldiers on leave from Ellington AFB to “dance all night” and finally met Howard while he was stationed there for a short time.
Their marriage took place over a year later, children were not for 4 and 7 more years, “… so we had time to know one another first …”. Knowing who she was and what she wanted. Often finding it difficult to accept less. Former beauty queen, demanding the most from her friends, from her children, disappointed at not having any grandchildren, lover of books, and music, and lately internet searches.
87 years of life, of loving, questioning, traveling, fighting the norm, and just being true always to Luisa.