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The Pepper Pot House

The Pepper Pot House

Size: 8x6

After moving to Arizona this past April, a new grand baby born in July brought us back to MT for the summer. My husband’s, Aunt Elsie, opened her home to us in Missoula, which afforded a close commute to the new baby and summering in Missoula.

Elsie is 96 and has defied all the odds. She had a hip replacement this spring and is loving her newfound mobility. She is sharper than all of us, reads volumes of books, watches PBS religiously, and can tell you every historical fact about Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley. She makes the world’s best strawberry jam, zesty pickles, and a huckleberry pie you’d steal from your own mother.

Elsie was born and raised in Missoula. When I learned the house she was born in was still standing, a field trip was in order. The house is on the west side of Missoula, a quiet farm-like area. We visited her sister-in-law, Elaine (also 90ish), who lives on Elsie’s dad’s original plot of land. A house he built is nearby. Just up the street is the two story yellow house where Elsie was born in 1927. It’s nicknamed the Pepper Pot House and has a history of cards, women, and booze during prohibition.

In thanks to Elsie, I knew I had to paint it. It’s extra special because she just survived a week in the hospital after having sepsis. It’s been a set back but she continues to be forward thinking and proactive in her recovery. Here’s to you, Elsie, we thank you for such a fun summer!

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