While sorting through a box of photos and other ephemera, I came across a number of photos of Flora; this was one of my favorites:
It seems to me to capture much of what was in this photo of her as a child:
but all grown up.
Born in 1913 to my grandmother’s older sister, Leposova — a woman whom I only knew as “Auntie”– Flora (while rather prim) was also very modern.
At a time when many of the young women she knew were getting married, she instead staked her future on a career, mastering stenography and working a series of jobs with every increasing responsibility.
And Flora, it would seem, thrived on being responsible.
Some of my mother’s more vivid memories of her cousin revolve around a bookcase that had a position of prominence in the dining room of Auntie’s home.
As a child, when my mother and her mother would go to visit Flora and Auntie, my mother would often go over to the bookcase and select a volume from the shelves. She would then present the book to Flora who was tasked with determining if the tome in question was “suitable.”
If it was, my mother could take it home to read. If it wasn’t, she would have to put it back and try again.
And while Flora did tend toward the prim and proper, she also had a playful streak, as evidenced in this mink stole she purchased and which inspired my current project:
Using the original as a guide and inspiration, today I finished what I believe is the world’s first vinx stole:
and, in case you are having trouble figuring out just how this accessory works, here I am in the summer heat wearing my favorite winter coat and the vinx stole:
The age I am now is a decade older than Flora ever got to be.
In 1959, the damage that a bout of rheumatic fever in her late twenties had done to her heart caught up to her, and after a period of time spent attempting to convalesce from the decline, Flora succumbed to congestive heart failure.
I don’t know that Flora got to do everything she dreamed of doing, but this vinx stole is meant to be a testament both to the life she lived as well as the one cut short.