Alena hired me to work for her at Montgomery Ward in 1971. I was the tender age of 18. I was only going to work there a few months because I had plans to marry a guy in the Navy. Well, that didn't work out, so I stayed. In fact, I ended up working for that company for almost 25 years. Alena in a way was sort of a "second mom" to me. Being single and a gal who loved to party, I would drag myself into work some mornings with little sleep the night before. Sometimes she would scold me, other times she would send me get something to eat before I started work. My coworkers always told me that Alena would be so worried about me when I would go out of town driving long distances. Alena did not have any children of her own, so I guess she took me under her wing. The lady was a fabulous seamstress. She constructed some the most beautiful tailored clothing I had ever seen. Those were the days when it was cheaper to sew your own clothes rather than buy them. Often she would critique my own work, telling me ways I could improve on my sewing skills. Alena knew I would not eat Asian food, but took me to a restaurant that only served chinese and I had no choice but to try it. Need less to say I eat it all the time now. What both she and I didn't realize at the time, was that her influence was shaping my adult life. Her zest for life, attention to detail, strong work ethic and faith were rubbing off.
A few years later Alena retired, and I took over her management job. When I was married she played the music at my wedding. (also a talented organist and played right up until she passed) She was there to visit me after the births of each of my kids. We kept in touch often. Thru the years the contact was less often usually only thru Christmas cards. Or I maybe ran into her out shopping. A world traveler, Alena continued to travel until last year, it was one of her passions to see and experience all there was out there. Her husband died in 1993. It was there, at his funeral, that I witnessed her strong faith again. I hope she now knows what a remarkable impact that had on me. I was so impressed on how she handled his passing, as if he just moved on and she would see him later. Since then, I am no longer afraid of death, knowing my soul moves on to something more glorious.
So Alena, this is for you. I know you are basking in his glory, reunited with your loved ones.Until we meet again my friend!