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Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Lou Kiesling’

The Judge, Children and the Elbow Story

August 25th, 2017 2 comments
Lalu and her father at St. Anne's in Houston (c. 1940)

Lalu and her father at St. Anne’s in Houston (c. 1940)

Happy Birthday to my father Judge Hunt who was born on August 25, 1903.

Our father adored children.  Every kid who remembers him has a story. (If you do, please leave one as a comment.)  My dad would often engage one sitting at a nearby table. You can’t do this any more, but many times he handed a stick of gum to a passing tyke. His love of children and playing cards would sometimes lead him to engage older ones in a round of poker or gin rummy.

One of his favorite pastimes was leading a kid on with a card trick, a joke or a story.  My favorite was his tale about kissing his elbow. I watched him do this with dozens of two or three-year-olds. Here’s how it went:

Dad would sidle up to the child who was in the middle of say… eating pancakes.

“When I was a little girl,” he would say. “I put honey on my pancakes.”

The kid would freeze mid-bite, squint up at him and state the obvious with utter conviction. “You weren’t a girl,” she would say.

Dad would nod and continue. “When I was a little girl, I would pour so much honey on my pancakes there wouldn’t be any left for anybody else.”

The kid would roll her eyes, heave a heavy sigh and say, “You were a boy, not a girl.”

Dad would nod again and march on with his pancake story.

Exasperated, the victim would invariably pose the obvious question, “If you were a girl, how come you’re a  boy now?”

“I kissed my elbow and turned into a boy,” he would say as though everyone knew this is how gender was redetermined. He would then complete his pancake elaboration and turn away.

Onlookers following the ruse would then observe the child scowl as if deeply in thought.  After a moment’s contemplation she would seize her elbow and try to draw it to her lips, then stop and shake her head.

As to whether she chose not to kiss her elbow because she couldn’t or shouldn’t was left to question.

 

 

 

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

Eugenia Howard Hunt’s memory of Alpine, Texas – January, 1945

October 23rd, 2016 2 comments

All y’all.

I have a cache of Jeana’s journals. This account is from a steno book she wrote in San Francisco and Marin California in the early 1960’s. Sperry

Snowfall Alpine, TX 1946

 

 

It was in the middle of a dry, freezing winter we first came to Alpine. It was in Jan. of 1945. Robin and Grainger had been ill in Houston. Lalu was healthy excess baggage and Annie, our beloved housekeeper, came with us. Mother came along because we had been relegated to a wild, high, uncivilized spot. The fact that it was on route route of the South[ern] Pacific Railroad, highway 90 to California and had a state teacher’s college, had no bearing on the matter. Mother had never heard of Alpine. Mother [Nancy Flewellen Howard] had never seen Alpine. Those facts took it out of the civilized world. So along she came. Gasoline rationing for war times made five hundred and fifty miles too many for our gar ration books. We traveled by train. My father [Dr. Alfred Philo Howard] was chief surgeon of the Missouri Pacific. That lent further primitive attributes to this foreign spot. As the six of us alighted in the onslaught of a dust-laden Alpinian winter night. I though mother was going to turn “The Sunset Limited” around on the tracks and return us all to Houston. The wind lashed at us with an icy ferocity – and skin, mouth and eyes dried out on that moment.

Southern Paciic of the 1940s

Not a living creature was in sight. Our heavy grips, a round dozen of them, were sitting between the tracks. I can’t remember a lighted spot. I’m sure there was. Here came a car, a lovely Spanish-speaking couple alighted, and helped us to the hotel, just out of gracious kindness. But their Spanish accent terrified Mother who thinks anyone who doesn’t speak southern Texas is a suspect who is intent on immediate murder. Any foreign language spoken in her presence is a silly pretense. She feels they are shutting her out from something she definitely know. She feels the same way about scientific discussions. She will not put up with it. She makes fun of anyone who is interested in something she is not. She feels she is absolutely normal and that on one else should be otherwise.

She is adorable once you understand these facts.

[To read more of Jeana’s excellent letter click on the Read More link below:]
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