AMAZON

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Aunt Dot

My aunt, Dorothy Hertle, died in 1995 at the age of 77. It would be undiplomatic to say that she was my favorite aunt; I can and will say that she was the most fun of my five aunts.

Aunt Dot, as we called her, never married. Maybe that’s why she spent so much time entertaining her nieces and nephews. She was athletic: she was the pitcher on a women’s softball team until she broke her thumb while sledding in a Louisville park with my sister and me. She took us on trips to amusement parks and “big” cities, such as New York and Chicago. She was musical: she played the accordion and the harmonica and, at times, an organ. She (along with my mother and sister) traveled to Germany to be with my ex-wife and me when our first son was born. Aunt Dot was a most important part of my life.

She was also an amature artist. The story, as I remember it was told to me, is that when she was in high school one of her teachers suggested that she study art. Aunt Dot’s German-born mother would have none of it. She was pragmatic, it was the middle of the Great Depression, and she compelled her daughter to study “secretarial skills” rather than playing around with her drawings.

Of course, she obeyed her mother, but spent all of her life drawing and painting. I have three oil portraits that Aunt Dot painted of three of her favorite people hanging on the walls of my house. These portraits are pictured below. The paintings are better than my photography.




President Dwight D. Eisenhower

President John F. Kennedy
Aunt Dot’s “favorite nephew”—me

21 comments:

  1. I'm very impressed. Those paintings are very good.

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  2. Those paintings are very good indeed. She was very talented!

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  3. She really accomplished something in my mind by being someones most fun person to be with. Sure, there are supposed higher honors, but I wonder if they are really higher than making a young one happy. My aspiration is much the same, to be the reason young ones laugh and have fun. ec

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  4. She was a good artist. Is that how you looked HOW long ago?

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  5. Excellent! The one of JFK is my favorite.

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  6. They're good. Of the 3 dudes in the paintings, you're the only one alive, huh?

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  7. thats so cool. And I have to agree - you are way up there with the 'good' presidents :)

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  8. excellent! what an artist....
    your description of her reminded me of a great-aunt of mine. Great indeed in so many ways. She never married either, having fallen in love as a young woman and knowing that for various reasons they weren't necessarily right for each other. So she made the hard decision to part, believing that the "right" one would come along. He never did, but she didn't let that keep her from living her life and enjoying it besides. I remember when I was in my early twenties she told me: "There are worse things than never being married: you could be married to the wrong person." I never forgot that bit of wisdom.

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  9. Oh, I forgot the greatest part: My aunt's name was Dottie. Isn't that amazing??

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  10. Nice one nick.
    A short story by Khushwant singh--A portrait of a lady--evokes similar emotions.

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  11. well bless Aunt Dot! She ranked you with Eisenhower and Kennedy even! oh, and those parents who preach at their kids to be practical, I know they mean well, but I'm a secretary trapped in a writer's body because, well, my father said that even though I won awards, writing will never make me a living. Poor Aunt Dot. She did big favors for you, though, and I'm sure she's on the other side (or wherever/whatever it is) still sending blessings your way.

    Great post. I heart your Aunt Dot and feel like I know her a little now :)

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  12. btw, Aunt Dot was one awesome portrait painter!

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  13. Very nice, Nick. The painting she did of you must be a special treasure.

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  14. Good painings! How does it feel you have a portrait of yourself haning on your wall? Where did you hang it?

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  15. I remember your Aunt Dot well from Salem.

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  16. What a wonderful aunt and a wonderful artist.

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  17. Wow, great! Very nice picture of you. She sounds like she was loads of fun. And very talented, too.

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  18. I always love it when talent emerges from unexpected places. The story of your Aunt was lovely--nice writing!

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  19. ur aunt Dot does indeed paint marvellously well!!
    i have seen JFK and the potrait looks exaclty like him the wrinkles and all.......
    and if that is u
    ua re a charming fellow indeed:)

    take care
    Ash

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