A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Tribute to Susan

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the death of my friend, Susan Lamela, at the age of 52, following a brief but fierce struggle against liver cancer. I wanted to dedicate a post to her, partly because she was such a unique person, and partly because of her contribution to my life.

I met Susan in the early 1990s. My (future) husband was working as an archaeologist with her husband, Hank Meals. Susan and Hank had already dealt with the issues of stepfamily and commitment that we were facing at that time, and served as mentors to us. Susan and her son came to our wedding, although Hank was away, because Susan believed that it was important for children to be a part of ritual.

Susan was a multi-talented and artistic woman, who loved to sew. She founded Haute Trash in 1983, a long-running fashion show in Nevada County, whose primary requirement was that all of the fashions must be created from recycled materials. Her fashionista name was Polly Ethylena. Ahute Trash is still going strong, putting on several shows a year throughout California; check out their website and attend a show for a rollicking good time.


Susan, modeling one of her Haute Trash creations. Posted by Hello

Susan was also an avid hiker, exploring so much of the back country in Nevada and Sierra Counties that she and Hank wrote a book about them, titled Yuba Trails. This news article from 1997 details their saga, and you can hear Susan's spirit through the words of the interview. In his period of grief after nursing Susan through her passing, Hank spent a year revising the book and Yuba Trails:2 is widely available in Northern California.

It is always difficult to lose one's friends, especially earlier than expected, and most especially when they jazz up your life as much as Susan did. I still miss her.... hug everyone around you today in her honor.


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8 Comments:

Blogger margene said...

It is sad to loose a friend. She gave you the wonderful gift of friendship and your tribute to her is lovely.

12:37 PM  
Blogger FaeryCrafty said...

I am sorry for the loss of your friend. She sounds like a fabulous woman!

2:28 PM  
Blogger Lynette said...

A beautiful tribute to your friend. She sounded like an intriguing person with a true zest for life. I read the article about the Yuba Trails guidebook and then promptly requested it at the library. I haven't hiked in those parts yet and am interested in what Susan and her husband have to say about the area.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Megann said...

What a lovely tribute to your dear friend, Susan. Enjoy those wonderful memories and hold them close to your heart forever. Oh, and yummy socks... it just doesn't get much better than that.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous caroline said...

thanks for sharing Susan with us all. What a beautiful spirit she has. I'll call a few of my far away friends today in her honor. Hugs.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Chord of Three Strands said...

Susan sounds like a great person with a lot to offer. I am sorry for your loss.

thanks for peeking at our pictures.

Amusement parks can offer lots of lessons in math and science (And economics)

7:44 AM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

And here's a special hug to a new cyberpal!! What a glorious tribute to a friend who sounds as if she made your life lots of fun - no wonder you miss her still (it doesn't go away, does it?)
((((hugs))))

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Colette said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend. The world is most certainly a better place for the time she spent with us. May her spirit and zest for life live on in her friends and family.

9:08 PM  

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