I’ve long been thinking about a series of posts on women, past and present, who have influenced my life. Wrapped up in that word ‘influenced’ ……… inspired, nurtured, loved, set the bar high, blazed the trail, lived with grace, risen to the task, used their gifts, modeled kindness, exhibited joie de vivre………..
I awoke this morning, the 113th anniversary of the birth of my Aunt Louise, determined to begin….
Born to Italian immigrants in a tiny mining town in Colorado, she and her younger sister, my mother, Theresa
(see post ‘Mothers Day: my definition…’)
were the first in their family to attend college, thanks to their older brother who sold his truck to make it possible. Both graduated from Colorado State Teacher’s College. Louise, after teaching for several years went on to earn a Master’s Degree at Columbia University as Teacher of Spanish
She studied Spanish in Madrid, fearlessly traveled the world as a single woman
Piazza San Marco, Venice 1930
taught high school in what was then the Panama Canal Zone, worked in the Spanish Embassy in Washington D.C., as well as the American Embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and La Paz, Bolivia.
Returning to the United States she taught high school Spanish for nearly twenty years, retiring in 1965 as her hearing was deteriorating due to an infection contracted while she was in Panama. Wanting to add to her retirement income, she brushed up her typing and shorthand skills acquired at Woodbury College in 1942 and went on to work several more years. In 1971 she traveled to Italy, for the last time, again visiting the Piazza San Marco
as well as the hometowns of her parents, Bosconero and Castellamonte.
Louise never married, never owned a car. Always ready to travel, she organized trips to Catalina, San Francisco, Monterey, Disneyland, Olvera Street and Knott’s Berry Farm when I was a child; often including cousins and her sister, Nota. At the end of the day, all piled into the bed that pulled out from the wall at Aunt Nota’s, ever the teacher, she would quiz us on current events as we drifted off to sleep.
A beloved aunt, she influenced and enriched my life in so many ways.
4 responses to “My women of influence…..Louise”
You come from a family very dedicated to each other . Your roots are deep. Sometimes I think I have no one that I really look up to, or, for that matter, actually have had any woman influence me. Then I think about my grandmother. A strong woman that carried an Irish family with determination and a quiet love. An aunt that worked her whole life, had no children of her own, but loved her husband and stood up and took care of him in the end when he needed it. And my mother. I always thought her weak. I thought she was swayed by my father’s restlessness, and his drinking into being a very complacent person. Having had her live with us for 17 years, I now know her strengths and realize that she is one of the few people who are wise enough, in their lives, to “pick their fights”. Your blog makes me think of a lot of different things. Thanks for sharing your life.
Karen, thank you for your always encouraging and thoughtful responses. Such a lovely realization about and tribute to your mother.
I am so glad my blog inspires contemplation!
A great blog that brought your Aunt to life for all to see. You are, as is everyone who met her the better for it. A well lived life.
Thank you for your kind words! So encouraging to be read by another blogger interested in keeping the stories alive!