Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HIDDEN TREASURE - LAVENDER & LELE

I had a maiden aunt, that's what we called them back in the old days. Lele was her name. One year when she found out how much I loved lavender she became very brave, for she was not a brave woman, and she put on her gray raincoat and plastic rainhat and took the bus into downtown Philadelphia to Wanamaker's Department store. Wanamaker's was famous for this HUGE bronze Eagle that sat in the center of the store.
People would always say, "Meet you at the Eagle." My parents met at the Eagle.People in uniform should have a longer courting time in regular clothing.

Anyway, I digress, Lele bravely and trust me when I say this was a BIG DEAL for her to leave her house and travel on a bus to the CITY.Lele went into Wanamaker's Department Emporium (I'm sure that's what it really was) and asked the beautiful ladies at the Perfume counters where she could find lavender. She wanted the dried flower buds.Today, we might have to go to a Natural Foods Store to find something like that but in those days people still used lavender to store their precious linens and such.She was finally directed to a "station" where the lavender was measured out by the ounce. It was put in a cellophane bag, tied with a ribbon, inserted in a flowered paper sack with the rippled edge folded over neatly, 1/2" inch.

I know this because Lele made it a point to tell me this story with all it's details.
Lele was impressed with the degree of attention her little package was given.
Lele was also exhausted from this outing and the idea of making her way back through the store to wait for the bus was too much, without a cup of tea.

Wanamaker's had a tea room.Lele debated while she sat by the Eagle about going into the tea room by herself. Ladies just didn't do that. You have to understand Lele. She was probably in her forties when she took this trip into the City. She never left home, lived with her mother, NANA a TYRANT. Nana probably was the original description of the word tyrant. I don't even know how Lele managed to leave the house to make this trip except that I know for some reason, she really wanted to make me happy and surprise me with this lavender. She wasn't even my "real" aunt, she was my step-father's sister.

She was soft, pastel, quiet, always smelled flowery and wore quiet shoes.Lele found her voice that day.She found her courage that morning.Lele found the tea room and had a cup of tea and some little cakes with flowers on the icing.Lele took the bus home and smiled.I know she smiled because she told me, later.

Lele gave me my little bag of lavender, packed in a cellophane bag with a purple ribbon for Christmas. To this day I can not separate Lavender from Lele, I love them both.



:)Bea
For some reason Blogger refuses to let me change this draft to today's date. It really is the 15th of July. To view the other participants in this Quest of Seth's for Hidden Treasures go to:
http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/2010/07/treasure-chest-2010.html There is a list of the participating blogs for you to click.

18 comments:

  1. The is a lavender lovely treasure of a story and made me remember my grandmother who would push the boundaries of her own comfort to show her big big love to me. Thanks for reposting it for us.
    Cheers !

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  2. Thank you Kim! I hope everybody has a Lele like person in their lives. :)Bea

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  3. Hi Bea,
    I love stories like this that show love & bravery. They're good for my soul!
    Happy days,
    Joanie

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  4. Thanks Joanie, you're right it's good to hear about being brave and facing our fears, especially when it's done out of love for someone else. :)Bea

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  5. Thank you so much for posting this, Bea! Very sweet. You bring Lele to life! I too love stories of bravery, facing fears, and generosity!!!

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  6. oh this is such a joyful story-glad you re-posted it! we should all make the effort to be brave...

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  7. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story!

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  8. that is a lovely, wonderful story

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  9. Thanks ladies. You know it makes me smile to think that I am sharing her story with so many wonderful people. It would have made her giggle and blush. :)Bea

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  10. what a brave girl LeLe was! Wannies was a huge store with very snotty employees so no woder she was a little undecided! but the crystal tea room was the place! so good for her and lucky for you! thanks for sharing a story that made me think of my many visits to Wannies while growing up!

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  11. What a wonderful story and how fond she must have been of her little Bea to be so brave. I bet that little present meant so much to you. Lovely.

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  12. what a lovely story. and how brave lele became!
    i love the detail of the story, as im sure you did.

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  13. I loved this story the first time around and it was just as fun again.
    xox

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  14. Aw, Bea, I love this post! I feel like I was on the bus and went to the store with her. She sounds like such a lovely aunt. I hope that despite her living arrangements with the tyrant that she had some happy and lovely times! Maybe this outing inspired her to sneak out a little more? I can just imagine Lele....

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  15. I had not read this before, so I'm glad you chose it for your Hidden Treasure post. It's such a lovely story about a lovely person. So glad you shared this Bea. Stories like this touch my heart because I have had people like that in my life as well and they will always be alive, as long as you tell their story.

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  16. What a sweet story and sweet aunt. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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  17. LOVE this story of Lele!
    I'm also hoping that she became brave enough to have some more pleasant outings. What a treasure of a gift for you!

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  18. What a touching story about Lele. I love to hear about life in other times, and the special care and loving ways things were handled. Everything seems so special and deliberate- rather than just automaitcally.
    A very precious tribute- thanks so much for sharing this.

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