Tuesday, July 11, 2017
I briefly met two of my husband's aunts and and an uncle on his father's side. I did not know them enough to be able to write about them. Most of the aunts and uncles on his mother's side were gone by then so I did not know them either.
Then there was Aunt Tony. She was Mom's older sister. Mom was the baby of her family. Tony was a nickname but that is how we all knew her so I will not bother with her real name.
Aunt Tony was a real character. From what I have been told she and her husband Jack loved to fish. Their usual companions were another aunt and uncle. My sister-in-law has told that they were all very close but on several occasions Aunt Tony and the other aunt would get into physical fights. I can almost picture them rolling around and pulling each other's hair.
They always made up immediately and were best friends again. I have many photos of them showing off the catch of the day.
Aunt Tony had no children. I heard a rumor that she had a baby out of wedlock way way back in time. If it is true she gave it up for adoption. But it could just be a rumor too. I do not know.
Aunt Tony married Jack. I believe he had children from a previous marriage but I never met them. He was not liked by many in the family. I did not know him well. He died shortly after my husband and I married.
Aunt Tony worked at the same factory as my sister-in-law Shirley. They were both hard workers and highly thought of.
Jack did not have an outside job. With Aunt Tony's earnings he purchased three apartments buildings. They were all in a row. Jack and Tony lived in the first floor of the first building. He saw to all repairs and managed the tenants.
Family hated that Jack was a huge baseball fan and attended the World Series every year. He saved all his tickets, score books, and signed baseballs from each one..When he died each nephew was given a signed baseball from the collection.
That was also the year Aunt Tony gave each family a nice 8x10 picture of the two of them as a Christmas gift. I still have it. It is a good picture. Some people were offended by it. I think she loved him so much and wanted the rest of us to feel the same way. It was a piece of herself she gave. I appreciate her for it.
She liked to cook and to entertain. Several times she invited us newly-weds for a meal. We would sit in the kitchen and talk to her as she cooked. She was good company.
Aunt Tony also liked to drink. As far as I know it was only beer but she often overdid. Mom often clucked her tongue and said things about Aunt Tony "high stepping" when she walked. Mom did not approve of drinking. Too many of her family died as the result of alcohol.
We went back to visit one year when our two oldest sons were very little. Of course we went to visit Aunt Tony. She proudly gave them each a quarter. My husband looked at the boys and said, "Now what do you say?" My oldest son looked at her and said, "Where is my penny?" She laughed and went to get them each a penny too.
Aunt Tony was generous. Her husband had been frugal with her money and invested it well. She was careful about spending because that was her habit. But she liked to buy things for others.
Once my husband and I were visiting from the big city. She invited us in for the afternoon.
When we got to her house she insisted we walk downtown with her. She bought several small items for us. None were expensive and she chose them. She also chose cowboy hats for us. They were the most costly of her purchases.
Aunt Tony had been keeping company with a nice man. She cared a great deal about him. She was telling us at that visit that he was taking a driving trip through Colorado and Wyoming. If she paid her own expenses he wanted her to go with him.
She was agonizing about whether to spend the money. I finally told her that she should go if she wanted to. That is what her money was for... to enjoy her retirement.
She decided in the end not to go. She was worried about spending the money. He went alone.
Two weeks after he came home he died of a heart attack. I think the lesson is to take your opportunities when you can. She could have had memories of the trip with a man she cared about.
Aunt Tony died. She still had the apartments but they had run down a bit. There were all sorts of treasures found in her attic when they went through her things. My mother-in-law was her beneficiary.
The buildings were sold and are still being lived in. She was a giving and loving woman.