Yes, She’s Had a Life: Part II

guest writer Kathryn Wilson

Following Kathryn’s story on Monday, we’re continuing with Part II of E., One Intrepid Senior

E. worked as a model in post-war Manhattan for the Elizabeth Arden Salon and lived in the famous Barbizon Hotel in the mid 1940’s. This glamorous part of her life led her to meet Gloria Vanderbilt, Marlene Dietrich, and her first husband, D.      

After marrying D. and living in New York and Cincinnati, E. returned to her hometown of Louisville after the death of D. to start Louisville’s first finishing school. Once the charm school was successful, E. moved on to pursue her true love—art.  She and two friends started Talents Unlimited, a company that sold art supplies, taught classes, and specialized in unique Christmas dioramas that E. designed and crafted.  These wreaths were hot ticket items, frequently requested and often selling for more than $300 a piece.  Each wreath was highly specialized, electric, and musical, and featured detailed Christmas scenes.  E. even had one of her more elaborate wreaths, modeled after the Kennedys’ last Christmas in the Blue Room, accepted by the Kennedy Memorial Library.  The wreaths have been showcased in museums and craft shows across the country, winning many awards.

Eloise's wreath

E. has traveled to many exotic locales, including Paris, Hong Kong, Haiti, and Thailand.  She has had many adventures abroad, including meeting Maria von Trapp and, in a separate instance, nearly being kidnapped.  E. and I spent an entire day viewing slides of these beautiful trips to near and far.  She will soon be leaving for her yearly sojourn to her condo in Highland Beach, where she will wait out the icy Kentucky winter in the peaceful warmth and light of Florida.

In short, E. has had an amazing life, one worthy of transcribing and well-deserving of the title she’s chosen: Yes, I’ve Had a Life.  She is an admirable woman who has made the most of her life.  I have found myself inspired continuously throughout the process.  Yes, I hope my life will be just as exciting as E.’s, but I also hope to never forget the importance of each person’s life story.  I know now that these small anecdotes are always worth observing more closely, no matter how high the pile of surrounding souvenirs may be.

2 thoughts on “Yes, She’s Had a Life: Part II

  1. she sounds like an amazing woman. it seems like when we’re adventurous, these tragic things often happen in our lives… but that’s apart of life. she has lived because she took chances, made mistakes, and experienced the heartache… heartaches are apart of it. and, i guess that’s why ignorance is bliss. when you don’t explore and want to know… you are the living dead. but when you live such a life as this woman, you TRULY live. you earn the right to say “yes, i’ve had a life.” the author really gets that across. i’m touched really. it seems like something young women the author’s age should know these truths to life and like something older women should go out of there way to express to them. great articles.

  2. so wonderful that you have followed E’s steps thru life. I only wish I had been more interested in my elders life and ask a lot more questions – you see I do genealogy and wish I could have many times back again to pay attention to ‘the older folks’
    Life is wonderful if we take time to enjoy it thru our lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *