Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Southwestern Sister

My sister, Connie, was admitted to the Benson, Arizona hospital yesterday. Connie suffers with COPD and was sent to the hospital by her doctor because her oxygen level had fallen to such a dangerous level. We all feel she'll be fine and hope to see her back home in a few days, but it makes us think how quickly your life can change.

Connie moved to the southwest more than forty years ago. After all this time she still makes the claim that she is the only family member to pull up roots and leave New England. As far as I know she is correct. If I may summarize our family history, we came to this continent in the seventeenth century, settled in New England, and pretty much stayed there for the next 300 years or so, myself included. Connie, for whatever reason, moved to New Mexico forty years ago where she raised a family and built a ranch with her first husband. Two husbands and twenty years later she settled in the San Pedro valley where she lives today.

For a good many years Connie and her husband, Ted, were Rangers with the BLM, stationed at the San Pedro House near Sierra Vista on Rte. 90.

The San Pedro House is home to some of the largest Cottonwoods on the San Pedro River. We've hiked many of the trails on the San Pedro at three of the major east/west routes that cross the river (Rte. 82, Charleston Road and Rte. 90) and feel this is probably the best hiking and most interesting area.

One of the prettiest, lone Cottonwoods' about 20 minutes hike south from San Pedro House.

Over the last forty years I think my sister took on a southwestern, more native appearance.

This is how I remember Connie as a child. I was only about two years old when this photo was taken; she was 17. Later on, as I grew up, I figured out why my big sister had sooo many boyfriends.

What a hay stack!; on our grandparents' farm in Connecticut. Connie is on the peak; our Aunt Persis, from Norway, poses in the foreground. I won't even exist for another 10 years or so.

After 4 years with the BLM, and the death of her third husband, Connie supported herself selling her artwork throughout the San Pedro Valley. For more than a decade she attended local shows, exhibitions and flea markets until her health no longer allowed her to create the wonderful artwork she had attained notoriety for in southern Arizona.

A few of Connies' hand-painted gourds and carved walking sticks.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I can understand your Sister moving to the West. Had I known more about the West earlier in life I would likely have done the same thing. That's interesting about the San Pedro House. We were just there a few days ago for the first time. Nice story about your Sister's life. We wish her the best.