Tuesday, October 28, 2008

They're Special To Me . . .

I am blessed with two aunts — my Aunt Liz and my Aunt Ginny. They are the younger sisters of my mother who died when I was 14 years old.

My Aunt Liz has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. She has always been the best story teller, whether it be about camping with the retarded residents - by the way, she is the first female scout leader for the handicapped in Minnesota - or her ventures across the country with her friends or grand kids. She took me in to live with her family the year after my mother died and let me drive her car (I was 15, but had my driver's license) all over the twin cities! She allowed Pat and me to scrape out the last bit of lipstick that is in the tubes (you know, when it is down to the "flat" stage), melt it on the stove in a coffee can, and pour the mixture into the empty tubes, creating a new color! I would never have let my kids do that!! She agreed to make the groom's cake (cherry devil's food) for my wedding - something that she regrets to this day.

She loves to read - reads about 4 books a week! - no fooling. The public library in her village gave her permission to make a check mark in the back of each book she reads so she doesn't accidentally check it out a second time. Annually she makes about eight plum puddings for family and friends each December. In fact, last December her chiropractor came to her home to learn how to make the pudding so he can make it for his family! (I know, there are some of you who don't care for this treat. I happen to like it a lot!) She sews, loves to travel, and takes naps several times a day. At any given election, she will be one of the judges in her local area. She is often seen driving the golf cart - The Patty Wagon - around town. She's quirky, fun, and the "real deal." She has been and continues to be one of my best friends. Thank you, Aunt Liz.

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She's thoughtful, caring, strong, compassionate, never interferes or gossips - that's my Aunt Ginny. Like my Aunt Liz, she loves to read, and to my surprise, she likes reading mysteries. She's raised four beautiful kids and at times has nursed her husband. Though I don't see her as often as I'd like, we correspond by email and sometimes over the phone. My first big memory of her is the summer after my fifth grade. She and Uncle Allan lived on Long Island and Uncle Allan worked in New York City. No one in our family other then they had lived in an exciting place, and that year at the conclusion of their vacation to Minnesota, they said it was okay for me to ride back to New York with them. Wow! I don't think I had even been out of Minnesota prior to that. We drove on the turnpikes in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and then went to Valley Forge. I had never been to a place where a President of the United States had been! This was really exciting. Aunt Ginny made me feel just like I was part of their family.

The summer after my dad died, Aunt Ginny once again welcomed me into their home. This time they lived in a Chicago suburb. I got to stay with them for about 4 weeks. It was such a fun time. They were in the process of having a new home built in another Chicago suburb, and a couple of times a week, we would drive there in the evening to check on the progress. Our drive took us past Buckingham Fountain in downtown Chicago, and I loved going past there and seeing the fountain change colors. I really had fun with my cousins, but Aunt Ginny is the one who made me feel special.

When we lived in Joliet, they were about 30 miles from us. Sometimes we would get together for supper or dinner, but Aunt Ginny was always one of the first to come to visit at the birth of my kids. She really cared - and she still does. While she reads my blog faithfully, she prefers to comment by direct email, and I really appreciate that. In fact, just this week she wrote to tell me she is concerned about my sore foot (Plantar Fasciitis) and shared with me that she has had this condition too. She cares about my kids, and their kids, and even mentioned my grand-dog Brian's improvement following his ACL surgery, and relief that Heidi and the baby are okay following the car accident a week ago. I'll never forget where I was on 9/11 while the first plane flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center - - I was walking to work and having a conversation with my Aunt Ginny. She may not remember that. I know when she and Uncle Allan have their morning devotions and prayer time, they will be including me and my family. She is a true prayer warrior. Thank you for being so special, Aunt Ginny.


Anonymous said...

What a great tribute to Aunt Ginny & me. I am glad you wrote it now while we are still here to hear the good stuff!!!You are a pretty special niece too!! The pix of Relia are just adorable LOVE Aunt Liz

C. Randy said...

Thanks for sharing about your aunts Liz and Ginny.
I'm jealous! Well, not about the lipstick "remix" adventure, but much of the other fun, enjoyable, travel times that you had with them. Good times, good times....! :)