Susan's Blog

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Good Person

I just wanted to take a moment to honor someone from my family’s life who just died. This was Yelva Person, my father’s secretary for 10 years, but who remained a fixture in our family for decades. My dad was a principal at a high school in Fairfield, Connecticut, for years and years, and Mrs. Person (the unusual name is Scandinavian) served as that all important school fixture: the gatekeeper of the office. We all know a formidable secretary from our school. They are often tough as nails but soft on the inside.

Mrs. Person was an exception: gracious and kind on the outside and on the inside, but equally effective as the usual school office Cerberus. She was always smiling. She baked my family cookies every Christmas, my first experience with real Christmas cookies, a treat I have never been able to adequately recreate. We visited her daughter on our first trip Out West, when I was seven, and I remember it was fun. Mr. and Mrs. Person came to my wedding. They were just part of the family, that’s all there was to it.

Another thing about Mrs. Person is that she kind of symbolized for me the years in my childhood when we were this very strong, self-sufficient unit of four: Dad, Mom, Laura, me. Everything and everyone had their place in my universe. Dad was the king, no question. He was also the king at his school, I believed, and I think he was a beloved one. I felt like such a big shot, a little girl of 6 or 10, striding into Dad’s school and playing in his office. Mrs. Person had fluffy little school mascot toys that I played with. I know she spoiled me when I visited. I felt like royalty there. I was so proud of my dad, in awe and in love. Mrs. Person is one big piece of that picture.

Yelva and Eric were married for 66 years. My dad told me that she died just as she lived, sweetly and softly, holding Eric’s hand. I just want to say goodbye to Mrs. Person, you really were quite a remarkable person.


Lovely rememberance. When my dad passed away in 2001, I was six months pregnant with my second child. A woman who had worked for my father in the 60's told me he was the best boss she ever had. I had never met this woman before, but her words meant the world to me and still do. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 10:19 am

What a wonderful tribute. I'm very sorry for her family's and your family's loss.

— added by ASDmomNC on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm