Taelor Leavins, a popular waitress at Cuenca’s Sunrise Café for three years, passed away suddenly after a brief illness on March 4, 2020. She arrived in Cuenca with her family from Texas at the age of 15 and finished her high school education here. Her daughter survives her. The following are tributes to Taelor from members of the Cuenca Writers Collective.
By Franny Hogg, CWC Founder and Moderator
Taelor was a remarkably beautiful young woman, physically, but also smart, helpful, funny, and good-hearted. She remembered orders, argued with Frank, and gave good recommendations from the Sunrise Cafe’s menu. She was welcoming, teasing, and sometimes she was a smartass.
We loved her for that and always looked forward to seeing her. Then one day she was gone. It just didn’t seem possible or fair that someone so young and healthy could be taken from us and from her family. I’m still in shock.
By Ren’e Fedyna, CWC Member
Such a sad day. Taelor always greeted George and myself with a big smile. Our favorite memories of her were when we’d come to Sunrise Café on Sunday mornings. George loves the cinnamon buns, and Taelor knew he wanted it made into French toast. With bright eyes and a giggle, she’d joke that she wanted to sit at our table and share.
Our heart goes out to her family. She will be greatly missed.
Sincerely, Ren’e & George Fedyna.
By Jeremiah Reardon, CWC Member
“Good morning, Sweetheart!” Taelor would greet me from behind Sunrise Café’s countertop refrigerator.
“Buenos dias, mi amiga,” I’d reply, feeling special in her youthful eyes.
A family business, Sunrise prepares American Southwestern fare offered by Orlando Ortiz and his bilingual staff. From the U. S. South, Taelor excelled in speaking Spanish, a marvel to my wife and myself.
Belinda and I enjoy the warmth of the cafe’s mix of old friends and new arrivals. Ordering breakfast from a table, Taelor would brighten at the sight of us, greeting us in her “touch of home” voice, “How ya’ll doing!”
I’d come to know her well, over several years’ weekly attendance at Cuenca Writers Collective. Seated around three tables in the back room for up to three hours, we writers bend heads over rough drafts, making suggestions for improvement.
CWC is the sounding board for my literary projects. Sunrise’s staff facilitates this feedback. And Taelor played her role warmly over the years. As I edit this piece, now, I’m having my usual coffee which I’d order from Taelor, and she’d stop back to quietly refill it.
I wouldn’t be the writer I am without this “home away from home.” And our writer family is going to dearly miss Taelor. Good night, Sweetheart.
Photo credit: Richard Minkin, friend of Taelor who posted her GoFundMe page. https://www.gofundme.com/f/taelor-leavins-memorial