Friday, October 16, 2009

And Then There Were Two....

I have been meaning to post about my beautiful Aunt Arlene's life for a while. We tease in my family that I have no heart, but really I tend to keep a lot of my emotions close to my heart. I really love my Mickelsen relatives. Arlene Mickelsen Waters died on July 26. I know, I know, I told you I have been meaning to write. I really just wanted to share some of my favorite memories of her.

My earliest memories include going to see the Rose Parade as a child. Of course we stayed with Aunt Arlene and Uncle Ted. I remember thinking how warm it was at their house. I learned to love Pastrami sandwiches at the Hat, just around the corner from their house. I loved dancing and playing "Princess in a Tower" on their front porch smelling amazingly fragrant flowers. I remember calling their house incessantly when my mom was there recovering after surgery not long after she was diagnoised with cancer. I can remember so many long conversations with Aunt Arlene in her living room in California. I don't have very many trips to Disneyland without also having a visit with the Waters. How can you not love an Aunt who is linked with your memories of the Happiest Place on Earth?

One summer I went to live with the Gainey's when they were in California. Officially to help with their kids, but let's be honest, I am sure I was more hassel then help. I secretly think my parents were worried about a summer of me never leaving my bedroom like I spent the summer before. Either way, I had a great summer, even though I really missed my family and my Tara. (Don't ask to see the phone bill from that summer.) I remember going with Aunt Arlene and Lacey to get her hair and nails done and our many long talks of family and religion. I can think of the countless nights of chatting around the table or helping her in the kitchen. I can think of her showing me how to make General Authority Sandwiches (Anyone have the recipe?) and telling stories of all the different General Authorities who have stayed with them and things that impressed her about each of them. I alway love how those Mickelsen women tend to teach us gospel lessons without us even realizing it!!
During High School I took a trip to watch our football team play against a San Diego school. I went with Billy Pierro and he told me it would only take 3 hours to get there. Uhhh, yeah right. Not even, especially not with traffic. It was after 9pm when the game was over and close to 10pm after we have found something to eat. I was living with the Gainey's at the time and called Tonya and decided it may not be a good idea to come straight home. It was close to 11:30 when we pulled up to Aunt Arlene's with no change of clothes, toothbrushes, anything!! But she just hugged us and found us some new toothbrushes and already had bedding out and ready for us. That year I also flew down and spent a weekend just me and Uncle Ted and Aunt Arlene. President Hunter was in town speaking at their Stake Conference right ater he was sustained as Prophet. He had been the Stake President of the Pasedena Stake and my grandfather was a bishop during that same period. They got me tickets to go to Conference with them. Being with family was as much of a highlight as seeing the Prophet in such a close proximity. Even though I moved after High School and wasn't as good about keeping in touch, I always tried to visit the Waters when in Vegas (which wasn't that often). This June went the girls and I went to Vegas we had Sunday dinner with all the Waters. I am so glad that we took the time to go over. I keep thinking of Arlene watching my girls and laughing at their little quirks. In my mind I am imaging her going to heaven and telling my mom how much those precious girls have grown since she sent them down to me and maybe even teasing my mom that she got to hold them last.

Right before my mom died.

Mickelsen Women with cousins Karen and Roberta at my wedding.
I know this is long, but hey, it is my blog right? I was thinking about all my aunts and wanted to tell my Aunt Kathy and Aunt Margene how much I love them and what an inspiration they have been in my life. I wish I had done this a few months earlier. I don't have as many memories of Kathy since we both lived away from most the family when I was younger, but my first memory is going to my very first movie "101 Dalmations" at the Scera with them. We even got popcorn! I remember their neighborhood, which is now an apartment complex. I can't pass the intersection without thinking of their little trailer park. Once they moved to Provo permenantly, I was so excited to see them more. I have randomly just dropped by their house when visiting Tom's parents when taking walks or bike rides. I love having family so close you can just walk over! I have never had family that close before. I am so thankful for the help picking up our flowers for our wedding so it was one less thing we had to run and do that day. I still can't believe the trip I took to Chicago and ended up getting seated right next to Uncle Bill. I still get teased by co-workers for hugging a "random" passenger after that flight. We talked the entire flight and I really got to know about some of the beginnings of Bill and Kathy's marriage going through school in Chicago. I have so much respect for their hard work getting their degrees and struggling to get through school. I have always admired a picture in Aunt Kathy and Uncle Bill's house of the Salt Lake Temple. They gave me a copy for my birthday one year and it now hangs in my bedroom. I feel like it is still a connection with family.
I have always have a great bond with my Aunt Margene and Uncle Bob. I have spent the most time with her of all my family. Growing up we would visit my Hill Grandparents a few times a year and always stay at the Halls. This is also when I cemented my friendship with Lorilee. I honestly can't tell you my first memory of Margene, she has always just been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I love you! Aunt Margene was such a support for me growing up. She was the adult I could go to when I couldn't talk to anyone else about my mom and her cancer. After my mom's death, I spent several weekends in Utah with their family. She became somewhat of a surrogate mom to me. She was someone I could vent to when I was having family problems and retreat to when I felt no one understood me and I could feel like I was still unconditionally loved. When I graduated from high school, she was there for me, then helped me move to Utah. I lived with them for almost two years. Thank you so much for your love and generosity! No words can describe how grateful I am to you. I miss our late late night long conversations about anything and everything. We would stay up much later then was good for either of us. I can always count on Margene having great family stories, pictures, whatever you are looking for. I can't think of the the Jazz playing without imagining her in the kitchen intensely watching the game, yelling at them to go and getting frustrated when they were struggling. What a true fan! I am sure she still watches them, I am just not there to share in it anymore. Who says girls don't love sports! Aunt Margene's has always been a gathering place, not just for our family, but for all the Mickelsens. Everyone stops when going through because it has always been such a cental location.
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful legacy of amazing women. I hope I can be half the mother, aunt, family member and person that each of these wonderful women have been to me. I love you all so much and I will miss Aunt Arlene intensely (even if I don't always show it.)


Tara said...

You have a great family! I too love all of your aunts. I loved coming to visit you and staying at Aunt Arlene's. I especially loved being in her ward for the past few years. I often sat by her in Relief Society and chatted with her. Talking with her always reminded me somewhat of your mom.

Thanks for sharing all of your memories. And I think you are right about Aunt Arlene teasing your mom. I've always loved her and your mom's sense of humor.

Ben and Taryn said...

Thank you Greta for sharing those memories of my Grandma. She was something special and came from a great family and I'm so glad we have all been so close. Can you just imagine all the giggles in Heaven now :)

Lorilee said...

What a great post GHHH. I totally agree that we are so blessed to be a part of this CRAZY family. We are the next generation of these women and we sure have big shoes to fill. Good job we have eternity to work on it. According to Tonya we are still undecided as to where exactly we will be spending eternity...up or down? But the ride will be fun. I love your guts.

Erica said...

I loved your post! You are an excellent writer! You have a long line of amazing women's shoes to fill - and I think you are doing a remarkable job.