June 19, 2010

The Scandalous Life of Clara Laird.

It was 2am when Clara Laird was awakened by a knock at her door.  It was an officer, she was needed immediatly.  As Clara made her way into her office at the Pentagon, she immediatly noticed the somber moods of the 15 plus officers in the room.  It was 1952 and Clara had been summoned to type some pressing documents, centered around Balistic Missle Defense. She was surrounded by some of the countries highest ranked and most important military men.  Driven by habit and instinct, the young woman reached for the coffee pot and headed towards the group of heavily decorated officers. One gentleman stepped up to her and took the pot of coffee,"Miss Laird, right now you are the most important person in this room."

Clara was a beautiful, confident and independant woman. She was tough and dignified, known for working in military offices, starting right after her graduation from college during WWII and working her way to the highest position a woman in the 40s and 50s could ask to be in.  Clara was respected by many and was good at her job.  She was sassy and never intimidated by the pressure of working in the Pentagon, surrounded by men no less.  Her days in DC were exciting and full of adventure.  Sworn to secrecy about the projects she worked on, she took all that she saw and heard with her to her grave.

After several years in the military, Clara moved back home to Joplin, MO.  Clara went from working from an expensive desk in DC to the trenches of a social service office.  For the next few decades, she worked on behalf of families and children, spending every free moment caring for their needs.

Clara Laird was a spectacular woman, but I knew her best as Aunt Jeannie.  I learned several things from Aunt Jeannie:
1. A well styled bob is always a classy choice.
2. A packrat is only a negaitve term if you are not in LOVE with every item you own.
3. Stubborness keeps you living on your terms.
4. Generosity from a packrat (see #2) keeps your guests giggling.

My Aunt Jeannie never married, never had children of her own, but she was a happy woman.  She was stubborn and always spoke her mind, but that Laird giggle made it impossible to hold anything but adoration for her.  She was lovely and dignified.  Tonight, Clara "Jeannie" Laird passed into eternity.  I will deeply miss the influence my dear aunt had in my life. She inspired me to make bold and corageous decisions, gently waving aside the criticism of others to experience my own exciting ventures.  Thank you, Aunt Jeannie for your unconditional love, generosity, and honesty.  You made my life exactly what you worked to make your own, an invigorating quest of self-discovery and adventure.

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