It's almost here...can you feel it in the air? It's the one night a year when even grown adults can don a new persona in the name of fun, and it's okay to experience a little fright. Halloween. For us, here at Aunt Lillie Bells, the night represents yet one more fun reason to get together as a family, to share a familial camaraderie- and perhaps a little mischief (in the spirit of fun). We trick or treat, enjoying the decorations, stopping for photo ops, adjusting costumes, and peeking in pumpkins to see what new tasty treats have accumulated in the hunt for the best goodies. There's a bit of whimsy and imagination present this night that sets Halloween apart from all other holidays. So, as All Hallow's Eve approaches, grab a broomstick, put on your fairy wings, a scary (or a sweet) mask, and enjoy the nectar of the season - candy corn - as you celebrate the fun with your little goblins!
Although this blog has been written from the perspective of Wendy, one of the owners of Aunt Lillie Bells, the actual author is me, her youngest sister, Amanda (Mandy). I fit into the picture as I am the youngest of four girls, and Lez and Wendy are my older siblings. My degree is in English literature, and I teach high school and college English courses. Like my sisters, I live in the country where my family maintains a small menagerie of animals. My daughters show goats, and we have horses, cows, cats, dogs, and a rabbit. Most weekends my little family can be found at an ag show somewhere in Texas; the friendships and the life lessons my children gain from their agriculture and FFA experiences provide such strong character building opportunities, that my husband and I both gladly traverse the country side looking for Jackpots and shows for my girls and their goats. Just like my parents and my sisters, I love creating, making crafts, repurposing junk into treasures, and I often go junking with my mom or siblings. My parents instilled in us all strong work ethics, so none of us spend much time relaxing; we work during the day and create at night.
I too own a small business, aptly named Aunt Grace's Charm, and although I do not own an online store, I am on Facebook, and I try to set up at a few shows here in the North Texas area a few times a year. My business is named for my Great,Great Aunt Grace (Aunt Lillie Bell's sister). My Aunt Grace was a school teacher and a witty woman. I loved visiting her very much, and I enjoy creating and searching for items to sell that possess a charm that, I hope, will appeal to others as well. Additionally,I love the notion that my sisters and I own businesses named for sisters. As Marion Garretty once said, "A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost." When the world lets you down, it is family who can pick you up. I love my family dearly and enjoy spending my free time with them whether we are in Las Vegas, working at Canton, sitting by each other at church, or cooking out on the weekends. Hopefully, through my blog entries, my love of my family, my roots, my faith, and my sense of adventure compel you to continue to read these short pieces and to check out the latest and greatest that my sisters' business has to offer.
Some of you out there may wonder how we came up with our company name. As my sister and I reminisced on our past, and on the present, we thought of the people and the events that shaped our lives. Like many of you, our family and its history have influenced us so deeply that its roots have taken hold of our lives and allowed us to flourish into our own beings while remaining ever mindful of our beginnings.
Lezlie and I grew up on a little street in Dallas, but we spent weekends in the country on land our dad helped farm and in the town our mother's dad helped build (literally as he was the town carpenter). When we returned to the city each week, we had the good fortune to share our neighborhood with our great aunt, Aunt Lillie Bell, or Auntie Bell as we called her. She was a wonderful woman. She loved having visitors, and when we arrived, she shared everything with us, from the food she had just cooked to her jewelry box that brimmed with rhinestones, which of course, appealed to us as little girls who loved to dress up!
Aunt Lillie Bell kept an immaculate house, but nothing was off limits to us. She shared stories of family as we looked at old photos, and she told of the lives of her friends and family as we looked at her volumes of greeting cards (she kept ALL of the ones people sent her). On Sunday afternoons we would all pile in the car to drive around, to find new places to explore, often picnicking along the way. At Christmas she pulled out her fancy crystal punch bowl that brimmed with a lime sherbet punch and served her amazing lemon cooler pie (she never would share that recipe). Not only did Aunt Lillie Bell keep a great house, she held down a job too! Auntie Bell worked in the hat department at a store called Tiche's -so she dressed in the latest hat at the time, and she always wore dresses to church on Sunday.
The memories we share of her embody all we hope that our company encompasses as well- a fashion minded business that not only focuses on looks, but on adventure, on faith, on family, on warmth and on the southern hospitality our great aunt always shared with each and every visitor.
From our closet to yours,
Lezlie & Wendy