Lover of wide belts, pencil skirts, and high heels. AKA High Heel Eve!
She taught me love, sharing, integrity, grace, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, the gift of time, and that age is just a number. She lived by the motto: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” She had a passion for High Heels. She wore them even to clean; hence the name High Heel Eve!
Back in the 60’s when she had me, 40 was late in life to have a child. She kept up with the youngest of parents; chaperoning skating parties. At the annual school picnic, she was on the rides and everyone was at our table for homemade fried chicken and potato salad. When asked her age, she proudly said, half a century and then some.
At Christmas Time she gave all the cousins and neighborhood kids M&M candy canes. You wouldn’t think that would mean much to someone but it’s amazing how a small gesture can make an impact. When I run into these kids today (now adults) they say they miss Aunt Eva/Mrs. Young and the yearly candy cane. It gave them a sense of importance and she was consistent with that message year-in and year-out. At first it drove me crazy to be running around the month of December for those M&M candy canes (and yes, they had to be M&Ms) and counting on our fingers to make sure we had enough for everyone in the neighborhood. I would say mom, “they’re not kids anymore” and she would say, “it’s the thought that counts.” I learned from her it’s about letting someone know you care.
It wasn’t just during the holidays that she bestowed kindness on others. Throughout the year she made sandwiches for the trashmen. Kids in the neighborhood would want to spend time on her couch vs being out playing because she gave them the gift of her time. They ate cookies, drank hot chocolate and chatted. Friends would stop by just to get a pick-me up. She would tell them how sexy and sharp they looked. Except me - she would tell me I needed to wake up and smell the coffee. But that was okay because if you’re going to hear it from anyone it might as well be your MOM.
Everything in life cost $20 to her. Hey, I’ll treat to dinner…here’s $20. Or Maria let me fill your gas tank…. here’s $20. Hey, buy yourself a new outfit…here’s $20. We still laugh about it to this day. She was quick to give good beauty and health tips. As she would sit with us and watch TV, she would say “while you’re sitting there doing nothing, you should push your moons back.” It was her term for cuticles. Or keep moving, it keeps you young.
Getting back to the kids who got the Candy Canes, I know now how they felt. She gave me Daisies every year for my birthday. When she passed, I was upset I wouldn’t get the daisies anymore; but my husband picked up the torch. As I write about all these things, I noticed there’s a common denominator: consistency and simple acts of kindness. Not much to make someone feel special.
At the end of her life, she developed Alzheimer’s. A disease that takes away your short-term memory causing forgetfulness, but to me and those she touched along the way, she will always be…
Unforgettable High Heel Eve!