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Eugenia Hunt’s advice on having a happy marriage

September 10th, 2017 Comments off

[From Eugenia’s steno pad dated November 2, 1952. The photo is from the 1940s ~ Sperry Hunt]

Judge Hunt and Jeana 40sRestaurant

Marriage is a  remarkable institution. It’s full of more fun and trouble that you can imagine. But if you make up your mind to have more fun, you’ll have less trouble.

Make it your business to keep him happy and you know what[?] He’ll make you happy. Worry him good and plenty and you’ll reap your reward.

That’s my best advice.

 

[Click below for scan.]

Jeana Advice on Marriage

 

 

Jeana’s conundrum: Take a husband or paints to France.

November 25th, 2016 1 comment

qe-2

In 1975 Jeana wrote:

Dear Ones. The terrible week of decision. This has happened many times and I have yet to come out of ahead. What to take on an extended trip to a foreign country, where I really want to work. Of course the first selection is whether to take a husband. This is an impossible decision. He will go. I will enjoy him. I will not get as much done as I would like to. The second selection is paints. I go to a country where there are thousands of artists. Last time I went to France I decided to leave my paints and other supplies here and buy a small, fresh supply there.  Paris is immense. It was icy cold and my French is always scared, so the supplies I purchase were to say the least inadequate. So I shall take them with me. On the ship going over the weight will not matter, but we are flying back. So, I shall take an adequate amount and use them up and only return with the finished products. Voila! Then comes the clothes. We go over on the Queen Elizabeth which is sailing on the 21st of July. We dress for dinner every night. Then we will be in the country in France where it will not matter so that means an extra suitcase of clothes, which they will weigh on the plane when we return. So I have decided to take caftans which will serve as dress-up clothes and country clothes. I will fix those French for over-weight. I think that they should count the weight of the person.  Wilmer [husband] certainly should not be allowed as many pounds as I, who have so systematically shed so many pounds, that soon I have to have y face lifted.

I have made Daddy [husband] a caftan out of blue denim and it makes him look like an old sheik. All he needs is a wrapped white turban above his white beard. It was like making a tent. I have sewn seams and sewn seams. I think he needs a girdle.

Love and kisses,

Jeana

[Eugenia Howard Hunt]

My Daughters – A poem by Eugenia Howard Hunt

November 12th, 2016 Comments off
Lalu Robin and Malcolm in Alpine for Grainger and Barbara's wedding

Lalu Robin and Malcolm in Alpine for Grainger and Barbara’s wedding

My Daughters

Out of the jeweled shadows

Of my tumultuous, exquisite childhood,

And the velvet of my teens,

Came my first borns.

They are the image of my

Ephemeral yearnings,

The flesh and bone of my poetry.

the strength of my faith.

Like the willows irredescent

Movements

By a clear brook,

Clean and gleaming,

Sinuous, eternally young

And wholly expectant.

February 1, 1961

Jeana’s poem for Jennie

November 6th, 2016 Comments off
Jennie Kiesling (right) and the 1976 Yale Crew Team

Jennie Kiesling (right) and the 1976 Yale Crew Team

Jeana (Eugenia Howard Hunt) wrote this poem in 1978 to her granddaughter and namesake Eugenia Kiesling, who is currently a professor of military history at West Point.

 

To Jennie

Holding the Banner

When they trailed

The dry dust

Making bread to

Feed the Spirit

Knowing the shadows

Are filled with light

Braced when faced

By defeat’s scarring

Face but radiant

Each dawn for

A fresh renewal

Never bitter over

That galling flavor

Of the trailing

Insignia

Believing the battle

More worthy than

The defeat

Saluting the endeavor

Morning & Evening

Are God’s gift

From the Glare of the Day

Sept. 1978 E. Hunt

 

Photo: ESPN article on 1976 Yale Crew Team

Eugenia Kiesling is a professor of military history at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Professor Kiesling earned her BA at Yale University, her MA at Oxford University, and her PhD at Stanford University. She wrote a curriculum while assigned to NATO forces in Kabul for the National Military Academy of Afghanistan in 2007. Professor Kiesling has many publications, including Arming against Hitler: France and The Limits of Military Planning (University Press of Kansas, 1996); and “The Oldest ‘New’ Military Historians: Herodotus, William George Forrest, and the Historiography of War,” in Herodotos and His World: Essays in Honour of W. G. Forrest (Oxford University Press, 2003).  (Source: Article on Onnassis USA )

A sister takes a moment

September 14th, 2014 4 comments

Lalu Wedding

It must have been around ten forty-five in the morning or so on a mild, sunny Saturday as I recall. December 22th, 1955.  My oldest sister was getting married in a little over an hour, judging from the clock in the left picture above. I was seven years old.

Always last to be ready, my mother was still in her bedroom putting herself together, as she often said. My dad and I were in the high-ceiling, more glass than brick living room of our mid-century house in west Houston. Dad was almost certainly reading the paper in the wing-back chair. I was on the couch sulking.

I had two sisters in their twenties and a sixteen-year-old brother. I don’t know where my sister Robin was at that moment. Probably doing her makeup. (She was our blonde bombshell.) My brother Grainger was  probably feeding the snakes caged in his room. (A future biologist, he was allowed to keep non-poisonous snakes in the house, but that’s another story.)

My unhappiness on the couch was born of my disappointment at losing my sister Lalu, who took that name from me when I was two and couldn’t pronounce “Nancy Lou.” We were very close. Being sixteen when I was born, she evidently put me in her bed when I cried in infancy. She took me to movies, got me my first haircut, taught me to play chess and cards, etc. When I was six, she returned from Stanford, as promised, to teach science at a high school. I had started school late due to my mother’s misperceptions (a good story, that one). It was then that she discovered I could neither tell time nor read.  Lalu taught me these things in short order, which saved me further embarrassment at school.

Now, two years later, she was leaving again, and for good this time.  When, sitting on that very couch, I heard of her engagement, I tried to poison my future brother-in-law.

Sort of.

On hearing the news, my dad opened a bottle of champagne, an ounce of which was allotted to me as was the custom on such special occasions.  Something had to be done, I thought. Not waiting for my pour, I walked into the kitchen and retrieved a glass from on high. Into it I poured tomato juice, Worcestershire, my father’s beloved Mexican hot sauce, and carried the concoction to the couch where I handed it to the fiance saying, “Drink this. It’s poison.”

Silence.

After I disclosed the recipe, the others laughed – the fiance rather nervously. I did not.

What followed were months of preparation for what was to be a very large wedding. Everyone pitched in. A lot of money was spent. (My father offered the couple the same amount if they’d elope, which my sister declined, and my mother poo-pooed.) Hundreds of invitations were assembled in our living room. Licking stamps was my contribution, which I considered mildly heroic. (No one mentioned the use of a damp sponge until I began to gag.) And during the months that followed no one bothered to ask me how I felt about my hitherto doting sister’s impending disappearance from the house.

And so it was that I was brooding on our living room couch the morning of December 27, 1956.

Lalu walked into the room, looking beautiful in her white dress flowing all around her. My dad put down his paper and said as much, then talked breezily in his usual fashion about how boys are no damned good and offered to put the groom in jail if Lalu had changed her mind. (Dad was a humorist and a civil judge who very rarely put people in jail and then only for contempt.) My sister laughed heartily, as she still does. She kissed Dad, and declined both offers.

At this point Lulu looked down on her little brother and found him sulking once again. It was then that Mother entered the room. Seeing her daughter doing nothing but standing there staring at her brother, Mother suggested there must be something Lalu should be doing.

Indeed there was, Lalu said. She promptly opened the game cabinet and retrieved the carved wooden chess set and placed it on the coffee table before me. “I need to play chess with Sperry.”

And so she did. The game didn’t last too long, I’ sure. Lalu was very good at chess. But she was in no hurry. We spoke of things I can’t possibly recall. Only that we spoke only to each other for the little while she had separated out for me, her anxious little brother, a moment that stands out to me now as clearly as it did these many years ago.

A note about the images. The photos at the top of this post are of Lalu and Dad (left) and Mom and her brother, the beloved Uncle Philo. Below is a picture of Lalu and me a few years ago with Mt. Shasta in the background and, of course, the bride and groom with Lalu and Robin’s dear friend Jean Garwood.

Lalu and Sperry 2006Lalu and Roy