One hundred years ago, a darling, dark-haired baby entered this world. Her name was Elva, and as the fourth of eight children, she loved being a middle child. She lived in the middle of Salt Lake City, and the church was the center of her family’s life. Elva was always in the middle of something, always surrounded by loved ones, even when she recently passed away at 100 years old.
All her life, Elva was in the middle. Even her massive home with the beautiful staircase flanked by a parlor and a sitting room, was the center of activity. Known for fresh flowers and pretty china, her parties were legendary, and people swirled about Elva. She stayed socially active well into her nineties, still attending the Shakespeare Festival, the LDS temple, Book Club, Art Club, and water aerobics. Her home was always open for houseguests and Elva’s wonderful, healthy cooking. Her sunny disposition drew people like a magnet. Hers was truly a life well-lived, and thoughtfully lived. Many times she would drop me a note, just to let me know she was thinking of me. Who does that, these days? Only a remarkable, giving person with a heart of gold.
My father was her brother and, I’m afraid, a merciless tease. But I have never seen another family with such tight-knit siblings! They loved spending time together, long after they were elderly. Apparently she forgave my dad for the mice he used to frighten her with, and the countless pranks he played during their teens.
Aunt Elva was always so proud of her family, and with 144 descendants, who wouldn’t be? That’s the size of a small town! When I called her a couple of years ago, I found myself complaining that only one of my children had married so far. She said, “Well, you should have taught ‘em how to flirt!” Indeed.
Incredibly, Elva reached this amazing milestone still living in her home, still mentally sharp, still gorgeous, even. Surrounded by family, she slipped peacefully away. I picture her simply walking into another room, where she was greeted by all the loved ones who preceded her, having arranged a grand celebration party. And there was Elva, right in the middle.
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