Lita’s mother and my paternal grandmother died on the same day, December 20th, but thirty nine years apart. Lita’s mother, Elizabeth Catherine Barnett was an extraordinart woman. Very bright, wise and gifted in so many ways. I’ve written about this remarkable woman many times. See https://paulluverajournalonline.com/weblog/2013/12/my-mother-in-law-elizabeth-barnett-1910-1995.html It was my privilege to have known her. She was very intelligent, wise and a great judge of people. I loved her like my own mother for her many qualities and her understanding. This is a woman who attended Holy Names in Spokane where she was taught proper table settings, good manners and social skills. She met Hollis Hall Barnett when he was attending Gonzaga and after they married he took this refined lady to Rainer National Park where he ran a small gas station. They lived in a small attic area above the gas station. Later they built and operated the Gateway Inn right at the entrance to the park. Betty was born December 5, 1910 in Butte, Montana to Merritrt John Devitt and Elizabeth McCarthy. Her marriage to Hollis lasted over fifty years and resulted in two sons Devitt. who died in 1974 and Hollis; daughters Barbara, Monica and Lita. It is unusual that Devitt’s son, also named Devitt, became an attorney. Hollis became an attorney and married an attorney, Patty. Lita became an attorney and married me also an attorney. We all graduated from the Universit of Gonzaga School of Law.
Betty loved poetry and literature. One of her favorite poems, which I read at her funeral, was by Sam Walter Foss: The House by the Side of the Road The poem concludes with words that I always felt represented how she felt about her fellow human beings. As the poem says: “Let me live in my house by the side of the road Where the race of men go by; They are good,they are bad, they are weak, they are strong; Wise, foolish – so am I. Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat or hurl the cynic’s ban? Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” That was Betty Barnett. In addition to loving poetry, whe wrote some herself. On of her poems is this untitled one that I like a lot:
“The snow floats gently on my roof tonight from mountain clouds of high, while stepping gently past my door the gentle deer goes by. The firelight flickers in this country inn, the pictures look down from the wall; the conviction is strong, but mournful too, each child must answer his call. Time rushes on severing the span of youth. Was it yesterday one of them said ‘if I say my prayers and brush my teeth, could I maybe sleep in your bed?’ From memory;’s halls of yester years a hollow echo rings; The pictures smile and prove again, Life and youth are born on wings. My fire is low and I hear the song lilting round a mountain high; Where the fir’s dark shadows paint the ground with a refrain pastel and shy. If walking tall through life’s circuitous path along the horizons rim; You smile as you meet each stranger’s wrath , the shadows of life will be dim” So, here’s to this wonderful woman who made the world a better place by having lived here. Betty died in 1985. May she rest in peace,
My paternal grandmother, Phyllis Flippa Luvera, born in 1870 died in Anacortes on December 20, 1946, Nonna Luvera, dad’s mother, was an Italian grandmother who looked and sounded like what an Italian grandmother should look and act like. She spoke little English, but she spoke through her cooking. She was a wonderful cook who was always feeding us children something whenever we visited. I’ve written about her before: https://paulluverajournalonline.com/weblog/2013/12/phyllis-flippa-luvera-1870-1946.html.htm In the photo is Nonna, my sisters Phyllis, Anita, me and my grandfather Nicola Luvera. She was always concerned about her health and dad took to our family doctor Phillip Noble. He soon recognized she was concerned about medical issues she didn’t have. With dad involved in the conspiracy, they put non medical placebo in medicine bottles she was provided. I remember her medicine cabinet full of these bottles. She and my grandfather lived in a small house on Commercial Avenue in Anacortes where they had rabbit hutches and a large vegitable garden. I still remember making a barrel of wine with Dad and Nonno by turning the device that crushed the grapes. I was privileged to have these unique Italian immigrants as my grandparents and I miss Nonna’s wonderful cooking.