Leslie Nuss

 
 

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big week

A lot was going on this week. I'll start with a Eulogy for the husband of the woman who nurtured me when I was a child, Terry Weishaar.

The adult me has this to say about him: When I met Terry in the 70's, he was the first person I had met who had red hair and was completely covered in freckles. He had a big mustache and the word that comes to mind is unicorn. I was fascinated with his freckles. Laura was my friend/big sister/mother figure who took me in.

This is a polaroid of John the cat and me. Nice pants, huh?

 

 

I spent days and weeks at her house hanging out, petting her cats, Raider and John (after John Lennon) and holding, playing with and eventually babysitting her 4 children. Terry was often at work, so I didn't see him as often, and since my own father was a bit of a bear, I was inclined to be frightened of him.

This is me, a girl named Kelly (I don't remember her, though) and Laura's first born, Cory, named after a member of Terry's favorite band, Three Dog Night. Cory was the first baby I ever held! 

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However, he was a prankster and would often pummel me and grab my leg to hear me shriek, which would make him laugh and laugh. But he was incredibly good natured and, which seemed unusual to me, let Laura rule. He never seemed to override her wants, whether it concerned the house, the kids or her life. 

I took this picture of a picture from a board at Terry's wake/funeral. It captures his irreverence to life.

Laura always talked to me as if I was her age, which was great. She told me that Terry didn't really like his job, a job his father got him working in the same factory that he did, but he didn't let that prevent him from having fun. They didn't have an excess of money, but that didn't seem to matter much to them. 

It was sad to hear that he had died, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had metastasized, but he accepted it with grace and was able to have his children and grandchildren around him. Going to the wake and funeral was so good for me. I hadn't been in touch with Laura much after moving back to the midwest and of course realized how much I missed her. I told her, "I wouldn't be the person I am if not for you," and she reminded me that I had told her that when I was in high school. The first person at my high school to win a National Honor Society scholarship, I wrote my essay about her and she told me she still had the copy I gave her. 

She knew that I needed to get out of my house desperately and she gave me a place to go. What a gift that was. She was like the good fairy who tried to lessen the curses of my father, which made life bearable. 

In this photo: Laura drove my mother down to UIUC for Mom's Day Weekend and I am proudly wearing the only garment I have ever knitted!

When I saw her again, it struck me what a good person she is. After I moved back to Chicago in 2002 I sought out a psychiatrist because I was miserable and wanted to know what was wrong with me. After many sessions of him dispelling my latest theory, he finally said, "There is nothing wrong with you. I think you are a really good person who tries to do the right thing." Laura's influence is the nurture part of nature/nurture, and while my parents had goodness in them, they had a lot of dark shadows as well. Now, Laura isn't and Terry wasn't perfect, but she does and he did radiate goodness, which coated me, like a thick layer of salve. I am forever grateful for them letting me be me and helping me become me. 

I did so many things with her, with them. And while I could list them all day, the thing I go back to is that if Terry hadn't been so easy-going, that probably wouldn't have happened. Terry tolerated the chaos, he accepted Laura for who she was, and looking back I can't find any real sexism or misogyny in him, which is remarkable.

He coached his kids' little league teams and told them to play to win, follow the rules, don't do anything dirty to the other team or your own teammates and no showboating. Lessons for life!

He was loved, will be missed, and left behind good feelings. 

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I was in the studio with Josh yesterday, and resang, "Rainbow" but I think it's still not quite there. Too many words. Kind of a pain, but seems to be necessary. Ainjel sent me a track of "The Subway" complete with sounds of...the NY subway, that is ready to mix. Sounds great. I made a tote bag and wonder if I could sell more if I made them. I was going to post some photos on Instagram, but I think maybe I should do it on pinterest (but then that's another thing!) And then last night I started to work on pottery. 

Using the wheel is cool, but there are a lot of steps and it takes time. I had to switch to a wheel that goes in reverse because using my right hand as the dominant one just does not work for me. I'll post some photos on Instagram but have one for here, where you can see Amy, who owns/runs the studio (and is a huge Beatles fan) and Nancy on the right working on a formed bowl. If you look, you can see my green tote behind my cashmere wrap....

 

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