Remembering Anna Jane....

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 June 28, 2020 

 

Today, I hiked to the top of Eagle Peak, Colorado, in honor of Aunt Janey. I climbed to 9,368 feet, 2.000 vertical feet above the Air Force Academy Cadet Area, to get as close to her as I could (elevation-wise) and to acknowledge all her years of teaching. It feels like heaven up there! I wore the same shirt I had on in the photo above and spent lots of time reminiscing about the impact she had on my life. I miss her, but I saw signs of her everywhere. From beautiful Columbine flowers, to a huge butterfly, to friendly chipmunks along the way, she was with me the whole time. Most poignant was as I reached the summit, there were two huge raptors that circled right above me (I think they were Golden Eagles). I couldn’t get my camera out quickly enough to capture the moment, but their graceful flight across the top of Rampart Range will live in my memory forever, and I will always feel it was symbolic of Aunt Janey and I. 

 

Aunt Janey was my kindred spirit across the miles! I found strength in her example every time I didn’t feel like fixing broken plumbing, doing laundry after a houseful of visitors, shoveling a snowy driveway, or dealing with any of life’s annoyances by myself. As we would say, “these things are sent to try us!” She always just buckled down and got stuff done, and like the Energizer Bunny, she just kept going! I have always tried to follow her example. 

 

Both when we were young and again as adults, she put tremendous effort into hosting Jil and I during the summers we spent on Nantucket. The energy she put into our visits was astounding! In our younger years, having two extra kids around for so many weeks was no small task, but she would always help us find summer jobs to earn some money, all the while cooking and cleaning and running us to the beach when we weren’t at work. She always wrapped us up in wonderfully warm robes after we dragged ourselves out of the ocean. I loved those robes! I have incredibly fond memories of bike rides and beach picnics; frozen grapes, lobster dinners, and her “best ever” chocolate chip cookies; the ghosts of 57 Union St; kadema and flying kites from the kite man, and when we were exhausted from all our activities, we took a nap in the hammock. Our days on Nantucket were always amazing! She always made us feel so welcome and made our vacations so enjoyable! 

 

For the past 20 years (at least), Christmas was made even sweeter when an abundance of Aunt Janey’s holiday treats arrived in all kinds of festive tins. Her famous chocolate chip cookies, Ma-Maw’s Mound bars, chocolate covered cranberries, snickerdoodles, and all kinds of other delectable delights were always part of Christmas! Even from afar, she added her special touch to the holidays. We thought of her daily as we added inches to our waistline. 

 

Aunt Janey was a loving, kind, generous, thoughtful, energetic person who will always live on in my memory. I could not have asked for a better aunt, and I am so grateful for the positive influence she had on my life! Here are the photos from my hike today, and she was totally with me in spirit 

Carolyn Stickell

Colorado Springs, Colorado

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