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Although it may seem as though I have not been working, in truth things have been very busy. But some little moments remained to work on an oil painting, this drawing and another gourd that is not quite finished. This drawing is not for sale, but I do want to share it with you.

Eloise is Bob's Mom, and although Bob was her only child, she really had a very big family in all practicality. She was the eldest child of eight in Key West, and in the absence of her father she became the one that worked and brought home the bacon for them all. She worked for the Navy Admiral in Key West, and for Naval Intelligence during World War II. As a result, she could never speak about the high security activity that was going on at work, but it earned the salary to support her Mother Lula and her brothers and sisters as well... There was Thelma, Dora, Maude, Jack, Joe, Clarise, and Anna Mae.

Eloise was tough as nails and knew how to toss the four-letter words around, maybe in part because of the Navy, but I figure also because she had little time for niceties in her role as bread winner. But she had a very sharp mind, the memory of an elephant, and a dry sense of humor that could really make you laugh out loud. She knew a lot, read a lot, and would not let you get away with half-truths and other nonsense. She also very much loved her family - giving them everything she had. In the end when she passed away (1999), she had very few possessions but managed to make sure that all her siblings, and her son, had everything they needed to be safe and well fed. Without much fanfare and noise, she quietly made things right for them all. Wilhelmina Harvey, a many-term mayor of Key West came to speak at her memorial and referred to her as one of the "most important women in Key West". Without a doubt, this was a little-known fact, but nonetheless very true.

Eloise was one of those people that makes you remember how important it is to live your life to the fullest.

Margie Lopez Read