“ A HIGHLY CULTIVATED MAN OR WOMAN WHO IS SKILLED AND WELL VERSED IIN MANY FIELDS OF KNOWLEDGE, WORK, ETC., AS IN THE ARTS AND SCIENCES” – Webster’s New World College Dictionary
In Memory of Evelyn Neumeister Schmidt—My Aunt Dolly
She was a Renaissance Woman
If ever there was one;
Beautiful, blonde hair and blue eyes,
She could have been royalty;
She carried herself with regal ease.
Her father was enchanted with her tiny features
And winsome ways;
“She’s just like a little doll!” he said;
“We can call her Dolly” and so they did.
She took classes once her children were grown;
Her specialty was art—oils, charcoal—she could
Draw or paint—whatever captured her attention.
I hardly knew her when I was growing up and
Moved to California when I was twenty-one,
But came to appreciate her wit, talent, creativity
And vitality and her wonderful, gentle laughter
When I became an adult and my children were grown.
I was able to visit her home on North Bend Road
Many times, often with my sister, Becky, sometimes
With my brother Bill—a few times on my own;
She was the kind of aunt you wanted to have
All to yourself.
When she was recuperating from spinal surgery
In 2005, I was able to go “take care” of
Her for a couple weeks—and some years
Later, in 2012, I was able to go again to her
Home in Port Orange, where she had
Relocated, and I was able to cook and bake
My visit to Florida in 2012 would be the last
Time I had the opportunity to spend time
With this one-of-a-kind-aunt—who learned to
Bake at the elbow of my grandmother when
Aunt Dolly was only a teenager. She became
Our link between a grandmother who had
Passed away in 1959 but left a legacy of recipes.
Throughout my house there are some of my
Aunt’s paintings—but the one treasure most is a
Painting of my paternal grandmother, Susanna
Gengler Schmidt, that Aunt Doll6y copied from an
Old photograph of my grandmother as a young
As I was preparing to return to California in
2005, my aunt asked me if I liked that painting.
“Of course!” I repli4ed, “It’s one of your best
She asked if I would like to have it.
Like my aunt, the painting of Grandma Schmidt
Is one of a kind. It hangs over my fireplace
In Quartz Hill, California.
Aunt Dolly’s professional name was
Evelyn Neumeister Schmidt—but to all her
Adoring nieces and nephews—she was always
Today, May 10, 2015, would have been
Aunt Dolly’s birthday.
–Sandra Lee Smith