Pride: I have always had tremendous pride in my mom, Lois; pride for her strength, her courage, her independence, and how she inspired her family to do more…with our lives. Did you know Lois has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Cincinnati in Fashion Design?
My Mom was a fashionista. She dressed for success, often in clothing that she made, everywhere she went. She wore off-white to her mother’s funeral; I remember her saying she refused to wear black that day!
Appreciation: I have always had tremendous appreciation for Lois; appreciation for the things about herself she could not change–her beauty, her determination, the color of her eyes! Did you know Lois had three different eye colors: grey, blue, and green?
While I remember when the other colors surfaced too, the best was green, because Lois’ eyes were green when she was happy to be in a place or with a person. If you personally ever saw Lois’ eyes green, you know she was very happy to be in that very place with you at that very time!
Love: I have always had tremendous love for Lois. Love for how she treated herself, how she treated others, and how she treated me. Did you know that Lois travelled to see me perform in every live show I was in that she possibly could? She even wanted to try to get to some impossible ones, like when we were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and she asked me, “How can I come see that show?” I told her to meet me in New York City on my birthday, so she did! She was standing right on top of the terminal building so she could not only see the ship sail in, but also so she could see me outside on the deck looking for her. I saw this woman standing there in this bright orange matching track suit waving wildly. I kept looking away thinking, “My mom would never wear that to visit me on my ship!”
I wanted to introduce her to everyone that day; let her watch rehearsal and a run-through of our shows; let her enjoy the chocolate candy the pastry chef made for her and my chocolate cake; but mainly this was the day I had chosen to tell her about my first long-term relationship, because we had just gotten an apartment together in October 1992, and I knew she was going to want to visit me there. Finally, I also wanted to give her a book to help answer some questions after I told her about myself. The book was written for the parents of gay children to help with the sometimes horrible transition to knowing who their children really are. At the moment I showed her a photo of Gary and me she told me, “Boy, I’m a modern woman. I know there are different types of relationships in this world. You’re my son and I’ll always love you!” I’ll always love you, too, Lois!
Aunt Vonnie was a beautiful person both inside and out! As she stepped in any room or place you felt her presence as she stood out dressed to impress always!! Aunt Vonnie had this great aura about her that I will describe as peace, love and ravishing energy that could change sadness into happiness! I know this because I felt it!! You see, Aunty stayed within walking distance to me and she would stop by periodically. One day after I was feeling down, God sent her and she knew just what to do to cheer me up–it was just her presence! So, I just want to thank God for Aunt Vonnie. 🙏🏽
Not only that, but everyone knows that this great energy she possessed was contagious! There was not a time that she didn’t take any pictures when she attended events, dinners or just stopping by. You had better be ready for a picture! This was who she was. That was her purpos–to share beautiful moments in everyone’s lives capturing what we will say today are our greatest moments!
Aunty may you rest in peace! Continue being creative and doing God’s work because now you have your wings!! Aunt Vonnie, you will be truly missed and I love you. ❤️
My Aunt Vonnie was a constant in my life! She provided and filled in key gaps/needs that my grandparents could not as they were older; that’s why she meant so much to me. Plus, she was a remarkable woman. I learned a lot from her.
I have so many memories, but one of my favorite things about her is that she was a pictorial historian capturing our lives, our family. I actually pride myself in emulating her in the sense that she took lots of great pictures, capturing the moments in time. And I’ve done the same thing since being a young adult because of her.
She used to make these family calendars and send them out. They contained beautiful pictures and dates of family birthdays and anniversaries, and other world happenings. And when it was my birthday, or as I got older and got married, my wedding anniversary, I looked forward to getting the calendar because I knew our pictures would be featured for that month! I’m so grateful for those calendars and all of the memories she captured, and her pictures taken through the years!
God’s got her now! Rest in brilliance and love, Aunt Vonnie!
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