Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Visit with Dad and Anny

Last Wednesday, my dad arrived from Maryland with his sweetheart Anny.

Anny is German-Bolivian, and speaks Spanish better than English, so my youngest daughter made a sign that read "Bienvenidos a nuestra casa, Anny and Abuelo!" (We practiced a few other phrases before they arrived.)

Sweet Anny jumped right in to befriending my children. One of my teen daughters was preparing for an All State chorus test, so Anny helped her by playing the practice piece on the piano.  This comes naturally for her since she was a music teacher in Bolivia for many years.

Dad kindly brought down a large framed print from his dining room that I had asked to have after my mom died last year. I hadn't had the room in my van to bring it home when we went up this summer for the Hess family reunion. This picture has been a favorite of mine for the longest time - "Hailing the Ferry" by Daniel Ridgway Knight. So pretty! 

My sweet Mom
What makes it even more poignant is that it hung in my grandparents' "Squirrel Hill" homestead in Pennsylvania for decades, and I'm guessing my mom grew up with it. My Aunt Nancy says she thinks it came from my Grandpa Hess's side of the family since he was so fond of it. I love heirlooms that span the generations. 

On Thursday, the kids were off school for Rosh Hashanah, so most of us decided to go to the scenic boat tour on the Winter Park chain of lakes. 

So many magnificent mansions on the lakes! I still like the plants and animals best, though.

(Mr. Rogers lived here on this lovely house on Lake Maitland.
I can imagine it is always "a beautiful day in the neighborhood here!)

After the boat tour, we stopped for lunch at The Coop, known for its southern cuisine. (It's owned by 4 Rivers Barbecue, so what can we say but "Yum!") We bought a bunch of chicken (served in a big tin bucket) with some sides and served it all family style around our table.

Our next stop was Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art on Park Avenue. It's the home of the most comprehensive Tiffany stained glass collection in the world, as well as a lot of other American art. My mother, a talented stained glass artist, loved this place. I still do. Photography is not allowed inside, but here's a shot from the back of the building. You can also see much of the Morse collection at their web site linked above. As I walked through the galleries, I kept thinking, "Feast! Feast! Feast!" That's what art is to me: a feast for the soul. I think I'll do a separate post on my This Mom Grows Up blog about my reflections on the Morse art.

That evening, we invited my wonderful German next door neighbor Marianne to come for dinner. She had a lovely chat with Anny in German, of course! Marianne has been such a marvelous friend all 21 years that we've lived in this house. What a treasure!

On Friday, we went to my daughter Julia's apartment for lunch, and my daughter Mary's family joined us, too. Mary's husband Ryan enjoyed a German chat with Anny, and Julia showed her photos from one of her own five trips to Bolivia. I loved seeing all four of my adorable grandsons in one place.

That evening we had a family dinner with eight of my ten kids and all four grandsons, and the next day after breakfast, Dad and Anny left for home. We all love Anny and we're glad we had a chance to get to know her. 

Grace and peace,

Virginia Knowles

P.S. Dad and Anny got married in November! :-)

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