Thursday, September 19, 2013

Taking Aunt Della

1965, 2013 The course and I have both changed and matured.
Our trip to the Solheim Cup in August also included a trip back in time for me, when we took a day to ourselves and played Hiwan Golf Course in Evergreen, Colorado.  I tried my best to remember the course from my only national level golf tournament, the  USGA Junior Girls Championship, held in July 1965 at Hiwan when I was 17 years old and a recent high school graduate.  I found an old typed information paper that gave a description of each hole, and I realized that we had played the course at 7,000 yards.  No wonder my boldest memory was of never flying the ball far enough off the tee shot to reach the fairway!  My fondest memory was that I putted like a champion, not well enough to qualify for match play, but I made putts back in 1965.  

While my brain puttered around looking for memories my heart thumped. Suddenly, I realized that my Aunt Della, my father's sister from Wichita, also traveled with dad and me to Hiwan in 1965.   Aunt Della, or Pheobe as dad had nicknamed her when they were children, loved chocolate
Aunt Della and Grandma 1947.
sundaes; dad and I loved malts, so every evening we treated ourselves to ice cream.  One afternoon the three of us went exploring the mountainside.  Finding an old abandoned lodge I watched with glee as my father lifted his sister, Phoebe, through an open window. Upon gaining her balance she walked over and let us in the door as if we'd made reservations. I giggled to my self-conscience teenage self, as I watched the two of them play and pretend like little children in this gigantic lodge.  Heavy white dishes lined the shelves, dust covered the kitchen, very little furniture remained in the living areas, and an occasional critter ran across the floor.  I didn't realize how sick and frail Aunt Della was until she died within the year.

Today while walking and playing like a child, picking up sticks, looking for sea shells, and watching the birds on the beach here at Hilton Head, South Carolina, and after forty-eight years passing, I realized that I'd taken Aunt Della on nearly every trip I've ever made since she died.  I'd never made that connection until this year.  After she died, I inherited a tiny diamond necklace that she had designed.  Della was always an artist at heart, and a great photographer who once studied under Margaret Burke White, and had known other artist in Taos, New Mexico in the 1940's.  I often wondered if she'd known Georgia O'Keefe, so I guess I'll just believe in my heart that their spirits were kindred.  

I looked down at the tiny diamond necklace that has traveled the world, and my heart thumped, once again.  I knew Aunt Della was smiling down and enjoying the view of the ocean, a rare treat for a girl who grew up in the heart of Kansas during the depression.  Della would have loved the beach, I know my dad always did.  As the years flow forward and Jack and I criss-cross the continent, I'll be taking Aunt Della,  storing up memories for another story, and taking pictures to share.  
Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Calibogue Sound at Sunrise and high tide. 


  1. Letty.....great story! Such a great memory and very touching! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Loved it Letty and I remember her. CS

  3. Enjoyed your tale! What happened to your aunt...if you don't mind me asking? MS

    ..She died in her late 50's. I think she was sickly and frail all of her life.