Friends through the years

Hello.  This is Celia Anton in New Mexico, writing about my childhood-through-high school-days with Lu:

From the getgo, Lu was illuminated.  Her energy was everlasting, her enthusiasm potent.  She went everywhere she might, did everything she could, and loved life.  I spent time at her home, a humble one with loving and giving parents, like Lu herself.  She told me once that it was an elderly woman in her neighborhood who whetted her intellectual life, inviting her into her home to read from her large and varied library, study her encyclopedias, and enjoy her sophisticated collection of classical music.  Lu attributes her true intellectual awakening to this woman who died about the time Lu went away to college.

I remember Lu always in motion.  The picture I carry in my mind is of Lu as a teenager with thick luxurious hair, barefoot and bareback on a small pinto horse that she adored.  It was a gift, but I don’t recall from whom.  Her quick mind and her laugh were her hallmarks, her wit sharp and fast.  She played the ukelele and sang silly songs with the same zest that she prepared for debate, at which she shone.  It was easy to love her, and altho we parted ways when she went into academia, and I into the Foreign Service, we quickly reunited when I suffered a massive tragedy in my life and, to my surprise, saw her walking across my yard in San Francisco, overflowing with empathy, and continuing on with our loving relationship.

She and her beloved Linda followed me to New Mexico, where we enjoyed the company of one another for several wonderful years.  I loved this unique woman as a child, a teenager, and into our old age.  I am devastated by the loss of her when, just this past summer, I was expecting a visit from her and Linda.  I know she’s gotten things buzzing in heaven; small consolation for the loss of her fine mind, fine wit, and fine creativity here on earth.  I will love her always.



One thought on “Friends through the years

  1. lumattson Post author

    During her years in graduate school Lu lived in a lovely little cottage in Ocean Park, but her commute to the University of Southern California brought her back to the neighborhood of her early childhood. Then as now, the area was a volatile mix: grand houses of former robber barons, some decaying into subdivided flats or fraternity houses; imposing institutions like USC and Exposition Park occupied by the elites of arts and education; plain stucco buildings housing those politely described as of modest means. It could be a precarious environment, especially for little girls, but there were unexpected treasures. One of these was a neighbor, a renowned piano teacher, who had a young pupil named Leonard Pennario. Lu remembered sitting outside the door to the studio listening to him play; when the lesson was over, the teacher invited her in to look at books and pictures—and to eat home-made baklava. This woman, an immigrant from Eastern Europe, was one of several mentors who inspired and encouraged Lu; in this case not only introducing her to art and music and literature, but to cuisine. One of Lu’s greatest pleasures was to cook a special meal and share it with friends she knew would really like to get to know each other.
    Helen Jaskoski


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