I miss my aunt Evelyn. It wasn’t that she was an “Auntie Mame” type of character for me—my grandmother filled that role—but my father’s older sister who loved me.
Retired from being a bookkeeper, Evelyn would help me with our books in my first jewelry business. Twice a week, she would come into our New York studio from Long Island to pay bills, enter orders, and help with invoicing. You have to remember that at this point, both my parents were now in the business with me, so it really was a true family feeling at the studio.
As time went on, it became harder for her to come in to New York, and she retired from Jay Strongwater. Patrick and I would enjoy renting a car and driving out to see her. We would spend time first in her apartment, and then she would take us to a neighborhood restaurant for a Sunday night dinner.
For some reason every time we moved growing up, my mother would send furniture she did not want anymore Evelyn’s way. So those visits were like seeing old friends that I had grown up with! But there was this little area by her dining room where she had a collection of small framed mirrors on the wall. Carved and gilded, they all looked so charming together.
When she died, I wrapped all those little mirrors and brought them into my studio…hanging them on the wall as both an inspiration and a lovely reminder of Aunt Evelyn.