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Friday, 18 June 2010

Andrew's Eulogy

By Nancy Leitz

We were all alone in the house. It was just four-year-old Andrew and me. All the others who were gathered for this Thanksgivinng holiday had gone to nearby Oak Park to see the Frank Lloyd Wright homes.

Oak Park, Illinois is home to the world's largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings and houses, with 25 structures built between 1889 and 1913. It was in our village that Wright developed and perfected his signature Prairie Style architecture emphasizing the use of interior light and open spaces in low, earth-hugging buildings.

His designs changed the course of 20th century architecture. Many of the Wright houses and buildings in Oak Park and River Forest are registered National Historic Landmarks.

My sister Jed had always had an interest in Wright's architecture and previously, Roy and I had invited Jed to go with us when we visited "Falling Water" near Pittsburgh. We were very impressed with that beautiful home that Wright had built over a cascading waterfall. It is a masterpiece and is visited by thousands of people each year.

So, it was perfect that Carol and Ray had invited us for the Thanksgiving holidays because, in addition to having a wonderful family get-together, some of us could visit Oak Park. It was decided that Carol, Roy, Jed and Ian would go on the trip and Andrew and I would stay home and wait for a delivery that Carol was expecting.

They had been gone about an hour and the house was as quiet as the proverbial mouse. I was sitting at the kitchen table doing the Chicago Sun-Times crossword puzzle and Andrew was very busy sitting at the counter doing his coloring and trying to stay inside the lines.

All of a sudden Andrew broke the silence:

"Nanny, he said, "Can I tell you something?"

"Sure, Andrew, what do you want to tell me?"

"When you die, I will be very sad."

I was completely taken aback by this and simply said, "Thank you" because I really didn't know what else to say. I waited a few minutes, regained my composure and said, "Andrew, why did you tell me that?"

He looked at me as though I were completely crazy and said, "Well, you KNOW, Nanny, when you are dead you won't be able to hear me so I thought I'd tell you now."

With that off his mind, he immediately returned to his coloring work and didn't speak again for a long time. And, needless to say, neither did I.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Hee, hee...Well, you have to admit, Andrew's thinking makes complete sense doesn't it? Oh the gems that come out of little ones mouths....they can't be matched.

The Frank Lloyd Wright homes are wonderful, aren't they Nancy? Yes, there is his collection in Oak Park...and many in the Chicago area in general. My daughter, Jenna, rented out the basement of one in Evanston for a while when she was a young student teacher some years ago. I got a chance to walk through the entire house one day...amazing. Sweet story Nancy. ~Joy

Nancy, another great story. I felt I was right there sitting across the table for you as Andrew spoke those precious words! I love the innocence of children and the way they just blurt out whatever they are thinking about.

Out of the mouths of babes. He is a special kid, Nancy.

I have always been a big fan of Wright, but the only places of his I have seen are Taliesen West and the facade of an office building in San Francisco. I would love to see everything he ever did!

Well written and so sweet. Children are constantly teaching us the joys of life. Perhaps we should all tell those dear to us that we love them "while they can still hear us." I love this.

Wonderful words of wisdom from a little sweetheart. You are so lucky.

How precious and priceless, Nancy. I know Andrew has made your day more than once.

I met a docent for the Frank Lloyd Wright house while visiting my son in the L. A. area. She took me through the entire house and I was thrilled beyond words. From an architectural standpoint it was outstanding, but not at all livable. Like they say, "A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."

I have also taken guests to Taliesen West and the same thing holds true for me.

My words can't express the beauty of that moment and your exquisite way of telling it.

Dear Nancy......what a great story. That kid is way ahead of himself. I'm just sitting here wordless with a smile on my face.

Dear Joy,

Thanks for reading the story and your nice comment. How lucky for Jenna to have actually lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Now, how many people can say THAT?


Yes, Out of the mouth of babes..I really treasure the things my Grandchildren have said to me.

Hi Judy,

If you like FLW,you MUST visit Chicago and the Oak Park and River Forest area. You will love all the architecture in Chicago. It is really spectacular. The city is beautiful and has the added feature of being on that big,sparkling blue lake. What more could you ask?

Hello A Peri,

Yes, the lesson to be learned in all of this is that if you love someone,tell them now while they can hear you. Can you imagine a 4 year old understanding that?

I know I am very lucky to have Andrew in my life..Along with 7 other grandchildren and two "honorary" Granddaughters. They have all brought great joy to my life.

Hi Darlene,

How lucky for you to have met the docent of the Frank Lloyd Wright house and being given a private tour.

I once met the caretaker of the Thomas Edison Homestead in Milan,Ohio and he was kind enough to give me a private "Behind the velvet ropes" tour. I know how delighted you were.
Glad you are home from California safe and sound.

Hello Mary,

Thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate your reading my stories and commenting on them.

Hi Mage,

I am happy that you enjoyed the story .. I followed your trip up the coast and envied you and G every mile. Your photos were wonderful and I am happy you had such a nice trip and,best of all, you took us along!

Quite wonderful. Andrew is definitely a deep thinker. Thank you for a marvelous story.

I got here later in the day than usual, but so glad I stopped by. Charming and touching story. Now how can I tactfully get my young adult granddaughters to realize that?

Thank you for this sweet and touching post!

I'm playing catch up so stopped by a bit late and so glad I did. Andrew is a treasure. What a wonderful moment to share. Thank you.

Hello Judy,

Andrew IS a deep thinker. He is now 22 years old and actually remembers saying this to me.He has said so many things over the years but none were as profound or memorable as this.


Oh, I think your granddaughters realize this;they just haven't said it yet but it is there in their hearts.

Hi Patty,

What a nice comment you made. I appreciate it.

Hello Brenda,

It was a memorable moment all right and Andrew is a treasure.
To read another story about him go to storytellers on this page and click the drop down box of names.Click Nancy and my stories will appear. Go to "The Ring" and read about Andrew's gift to me....

Nancy, I've been to Chicago, but I was 12 years old and not looking at architecture back then (more's the pity!) I'd love to visit there again, but it doesn't look promising.

You never disappoint Nancy. What a terrific story and what a special and thoughtful child.

"My" Andrew one day asked me if I would always love him even when he was older. Silly me. I said I would even if he were 100 years old. He replied something like...but grandmom you won't be around then....yikes!

Well, Judy, you never know.. Maybe you and Mr. K will go there some day.

Just think, somebody might call you to do the flowers for their
Chicago wedding.

Hello Claire Jean,

Isn't it sweet that your Grandson loves you so much and wants to be reassured that you will always love him back..You told him exactly what he wanted to hear...

Whew, I almost didn't make it here with grandkids and goats taking all my time. But, I am certainly glad that I got here. Two tales in one is always a good deal. Wonderful reminiscence of FLW and perfect Andrew story showing the depth of a child's thinking. You've go the gift of spin Nancy:)

It's a lot like the kids who wait to wave bye-bye until after you're out of sight. Why wave goodbye when they can still see you? Kids are so logical sometimes. We can take a lesson.

Hi Annie,

Thanks for your nice comments. I have been reading about your goats and think they will fit right in with the rest of your menagerie. I loved the picture of David and HER kittens.


You are so right about kids being logical. I told Andrew's big brother,Ian,when he was about 10 that in a few years he would be able to drive the car and could come to visit me. He looked at me and said,"Well, you know, Nanny, you are very old and by that time you might be dead."

Talk about logical!

Let's all take a lesson from Andrew.
The way we think it, plain and simple.

I like the way you think,Paula. No beating around the bush. I know one little boy who would have agreed with you....

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