Tuesday, April 4, 2017
I am skipping an aunt. There is a reason.
Aunt Carol is only 5 years older than I am. She is more like an older sister who liked to boss me around when we were children. Carol has a twin brother who I will write about another time.
Carol is enough older than me that I was an annoyance to her much of the time. Imagine a lovable child like me being an annoyance. I must admit I did a good job of living up to her view of me.
She used to ride a horse into town on Sundays to attend church. Our church was only a block form the house. My parents had her tether the horse in a different spot each Sunday. We needed no lawn mower there.
My grandparents had an attic stuffed with treasures. Grandpa's musical instruments were there. He could no longer play due to the arthritis in his fingers. His stuffed bobcat stood near the top of the stairs. Walnuts from the walnut tree were kept in a big box in the attic.
The best things were the old clothes we used to play dress-up and the paper dolls my mother and other aunts had played with.
On rainy days or cold winter days we would go into the attic and dress up in those old clothes. My aunt would hold tea parties for elegant women or we would be men off to work in the fields. We might strum the guitar or banjo. We couldn't play the fiddle... no bow.
Paper dolls were the most fun for me. My mother and aunts made their own paper dolls using models in catalogs as the dolls and clothing in the catalogs as the dresses. Carol taught us how to match the clothing to the model so it would look like it was made for each one. There were cigar boxes full of them and we added to them.
When the Singing Nun was so popular with her song Dominique we all sang along. It was much like Let It Go from Frozen is for little ones today. One day I heard my aunt having a heated discussion with one of her friends. Her friend had mentioned the Singing Nun. My aunt insisted it was the Singing Num. After all nuns were not allowed to make records.
Like all the women in my family (ahem) my aunt was extremely intelligent. She and another student had identical grades in high school. When it came to choosing who would be valedictorian they chose the young man. At the very least they should have been co-valedictorians but it was the late 1950's and he would have a family to support so he also had the honor.
My aunt married. She was like many of us and made a bad choice. Luckily no children were involved and divorce was relatively painless.
She married another man who has been her husband for around 50 years now. She has a son and grandchildren. Until recently her life has been good.
Carol has been fighting leukemia for a few years. There have been ups and downs but she has been coming out on top.
A few days ago she let us know that she has an advanced case of lymphoma. She has begun some intensive chemotherapy. If it works we will rejoice. It if does not work we will have her for 3 to 6 more months.
All of us have families. It seems there is always something that is a little scary. We are hoping for a good outcome.