Aunt Nora was born into the Crawford family in the early 1900's. I know very little about her growing up years other than the fact that she had an older brother Vachel, who was my first husband's maternal grandfather.
I have always thought that this high school picture, taken her senior year, is the most beautiful I've ever seen of a young woman of that era. Perhaps of all time. Except, of course, for my own daughter who through my eyes, is matched by none. But then, the same blood courses through their veins, and I'm told that my daughter's great, great Aunt Nora also had a head of beautiful auburn hair.
Due to finances, only one child could attend college. It was decided that Nora would go. She studied Art at the University of Kansas back in the 1920's; a time when college was not the natural progression of a young woman's post high school years. Somewhere is her drawing board where pen and ink sketches of hairstyles and fancy shoes still flow across wood.
She went on to teach Art at a community college and met and married Harlan Blachly. They lived in a small Kansas town all of their years together and were fortunate enough to travel and see the world.
I met Aunt Nora in 1982 when I was 20 and she was in her 70's. From the beginning I knew she was someone special. She was elegant and classy, loved KU basketball, playing the piano and all that was fair. I never heard a cross word or an ounce of gossip from her; she was a true lady in every sense of the word and a kindred spirit in a family where I sometimes felt I didn't quite fit. Though she wasn't really my family, she always accepted me as hers.
After my daughter was born, Aunt Nora gave her this pen and ink drawing done in college, somewhere around 1927. Having no children of her own and knowing our love for Art, it was passed down two generations so that when my daughter has a home of her own, it can hang on those walls. It will always be a reminder of this beautiful woman in her life; a woman she was just getting to know.
Today, June 9th, was Aunt Nora's birthday. She passed away a few years ago and is laid to rest beside her beloved husband in a quiet cemetery along the prairie. She left behind a legacy of kindness and compassion, a true Christian spirit of loving thy neighbor, and a radiant smile we will always remember.
Happy Birthday, Aunt Nora. You are missed.