Lou Anne Bastian – In Memoriam

Starting today I will be traveling and working away from home and will also be away from my computer for a while. That is one reason why I made a number of new posts in the last several days, because it will be some time until I am able to resume my posting of new topics here. It is also why I am making this post today, rather than next Wednesday, the date I would have chosen for this post.

I realize this post is unusual, and that it is a departure from my normal range of topics. Nevertheless, I have been thinking of posting something here in remembrance of my beloved wife, Lou Anne, of nearly 34 years. She passed away five years ago on February 22, 2007, following a six month struggle with pancreatic cancer.

I could write many words about what a wonderful woman Lou Anne was; others that knew her were blessed, as I was. As a wife, Lou Anne was an example of what constitutes a very happy marriage, dang near to the point that a man can’t legitimately or reasonably expect more from any woman. All my friends used to tell me how lucky I was to have her. She was very supportive of my devotion to fly tying, fishing, and hunting. As a mother, she excelled with love, devotion, and fairness, as her two daughters, Kimberly and Lyneah, will surely attest. She has four grandsons, Michael Joseph or “MJ,” Gabriel, Benner, and Andrew.

I am about to make a strong statement, but it is how and what I feel on this matter. It is a shame she passed away prematurely, and it is a shame that many people in this world also die before their time. But more than that, her death was just plain wrong; and it is an unfairness of this life that Lou Anne was taken prematurely; being denied the opportunity to meet her grandsons, to know them, and to love them. She would have made a significant impact on their lives. Those of us in her family miss her very much.

Lou Anne enjoying a cup of black coffee during a boat ride in England, 1995. That smirk of a smile captures a tip-of-the-iceberg view into her great sense of humor.

Lou Anne and me at a Fly Fishing Show, back about 1997 when I used to sell materials and stuff. Also when I was a lot younger. Lou Anne was a great asset in the regard that she was so friendly to all our customers and visitors. Her charm was disarming and she made people feel comfortable. (I know, besides being younger, I was a few pounds lighter).

Lou Anne and our Cocker Spaniel, Abigail. She bought the dog for my 50th birthday, but she loved Abigail. And I was usually second choice for a lap companion whenever Lou Anne was around.

Happier times, 2004. Left to right: Lyneah, me, Abigail, Lou Anne, Kim at the Bastian cabin.

Lou Anne Bastian

July 17, 1954 – February 22, 2007.

“She loved the cabin and the singing of the wood thrush.

These words are on her memorial marker at the cabin, not far from the house and near the pond in the special garden spot we created for her, and where her ashes are scattered. Last weekend while there with my friends tying flies, on a few occasions when I stepped outside to just to get some fresh air, stretch my legs, listen to the wind whirring softly in the pine trees and woods that surround the house, or to gaze at the black night sky full of brilliant stars, or to listen for the barred owls, occasionally I could hear the wind chimes in her garden…..softly tinkling, faint, almost inaudible; yet reminding me still, of her love, charm, beauty, wonderful character, and companionship. I love you Lou Anne.

Carrie Stevens Collector’s Edition – Set No. 2

Carrie Stevens Collector's Set No. 2 - The "Charles E. Wheeler" Set, featuring the three patterns designed by Carrie Stevens and named for her friend and fly tying mentor, Charles E. Wheeler, of Stratford, Connecticut.

This is the second set in an expanding series of Carrie Stevens Collector’s Edition streamer patterns that I am offering for interested collectors. This Set is now available for purchase on my merchandise page at: http://www.myflies.com/Carrie-Stevens-Streamer-Patterns-Collectors-Edition-Set-No-2-P690.aspx

All orders placed at MyFlies.com for my merchandise are processed and shipped by me personally, so your order will receive my personal attention. Any additional requests may be included by adding a note to the order form at MyFlies.com.

This Set No. 2 features the three patterns named after a Stevens family friend, Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler. Each set comes with a letter of provenance listing the patterns, written on 24 lb., 25% cotton, Fine Granite watermarked paper, and is signed by me and numbered with a number 2 pencil.

The top photo illustrates the interior packaging. These sets come in a very nice white enameled gift box with a raised interior display panel. The inside is customized by me as shown, with gray card stock cemented to the panel, using acid-free cement, and then the streamer mounting cards are cemented as well. The flies are wired to the cards in the same manner that Carrie Stevens wired her flies to her packaging cards, at the hook eye and bend. Each set is consecutively numbered; I am pleased that Nos. 1, 2, and 3 are sold, interestingly enough to a decoy collector in Ohio. The reason for that is that Shang Wheeler was very well known as a decoy carver. He won the amateur division of the International Decoy Makers Contest, held at the National Sportsmen Show in New York City, for twelve years in a row. Mr. Wheeler is still highly-respected among the fans and devotees of waterfowl decoy carvers.

Don Bastian's Carrie Stevens Collector's Edition Set No. 2 Top Exterior Carton Label

Charles E. Wheeler Streamer, size #1 - 6x long.

These flies are all dressed on Gaelic Supreme Rangeley Style Streamer hooks, hand-made in England, and designed after hooks that were custom-ordered from Allcock in the 1930’s and 1940’s by Carrie Stevens. Check this link to Gaelic Supreme Streamer Hooks:  http://www.belvoirdale.com/Hooks.html

Charles E. Wheeler streamer - head, shoulder, & cheek macro. I like this fly because of the compound shoulder of teal and red duck breast feather, though I used Whiting American Hen Cape dyed red.

Shang's Favorite, size #1 - 6x long

Shang's Favorite - head, shoulder, & cheek macro

Shang's Special - head, shoulder, & cheek macro

Now I have to tell a story; if you look at this recent post: http://donbastianwetflies.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/fly-tying-weekends/ you will see the information that I tied these flies, 2 dozen in all; eight of each of these three Charles Wheeler streamer patterns at my cabin last weekend. I was with some of my best friends; we relaxed, hung out, tended the fire, enjoyed some libations (a balanced liquid diet of selected beers, Chianti and Chablis wines, and a little Jack, conveniently having at our disposal some beverages from the three liquid food groups: beer, wine, liquor. (Thanks to Sharon Butterfield, owner of MyFlies.com for that beneficial description). And we ate good food that we prepared ourselves. And yes, we tied some flies, all four of us.

The Shang’s Special as you see, according to Carrie Stevens’ original recipe, which I have followed, has a red head with a black band. Somehow I neglected to notice that fact while tying eight of them, even though I have tied this pattern previously, though never as many at one time as I did last weekend. Perhaps it was Jack’s fault. Nevertheless, when I started to take these photographs yesterday, I checked the Carrie Stevens…book for the recipes to type with the initial post, and suddenly realized I had messed up. Big time. I dressed the heads black with a red band. What to do? Well, after some thought, I took the first fly, placed it in my vise, and using my super-sharp mini-sized Swiss Army knife, I carefully sliced the head on one side, then peeled off the rest. I then re-wrapped it with red Danville Flymaster 6/0 and finished it with a narrow band of black, same manufacturer. It worked pretty well, so I was at it for an hour or so, repeating the process to repair the heads on all eight flies so that they would be correct. After all, these streamers are being specified by me in the promotional information as tied to “exacting specifications following the original recipes,” and it just wouldn’t do to have the heads wrong. Three coats of clear head cement later, and they were transformed.

Shang's Special, size #1 - 6x long

This is fun!