Posted tagged ‘old aunts’

“We are a noisy and blessed little family”

November 4, 2014

Today is the perfect fall day, sunny with crispness in the air. It is 57˚but without any wind it seems warmer. I have no front lawn just a bed of mostly pine needles and some yellow leaves. Even the front steps have disappeared. Many of the oak leaves are hanging on but have turned brown. The sun slants a different way so the shadows have changed position. Fall is ending and moving slowly toward winter.

When I look in the mirror, I see a face with wrinkles, laugh lines my aunt used to call them. I see my hair far more grey than brown, but I like it that way. If I’m not wearing my glasses, I see a blur. I am getting older.

I keep thinking about the old aunts for that’s what we called them. They were my mother’s aunts. I’d see them at some family parties and most times had to identify myself as Margaret’s oldest. Nobody called my mother Margaret except for them and my father’s mother. To everyone else she was always Chickie. One old aunt played the piano and everyone would stand around and sing. That’s how I learned the words to so many songs. My family wasn’t shy about singing. I can still see them standing at the piano each with a glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. My grandmother would sit in the comfiest chair and watch. She wasn’t a singer. My grandfather with drink in hand would be chatting with one person or another. My grandmother always kept an eye on him.

My mother’s family loved to party. Everyone lived close to one another so they all showed up for the festivities. I always felt lucky to be so close to my aunts and uncles, especially the old aunts.

“The fireflies o’er the meadow In pulses come and go.”

August 1, 2014

Summer mornings are lovely. I sat outside today with my papers and coffee. Gracie was sleeping on the deck, birds were flying back and forth to the feeders, leaves were being gently blown by the breeze and the sun was glinting in and out of the branches of the trees beside me. I didn’t hear a single voice. I could have been the only person left in the world.

When I was around ten, I used to dive off the high board in the pool. I’d stand to the side of the board, aim my hands and dive. I’d go deep. One time I hit the bottom of the pool and slammed my mouth on the concrete, split my lip and broke a piece off my front tooth. I got a ride home that day from one of the life guards. I think I looked worst than I felt. My lip was all swollen and there were tooth marks on my bottom lip. It was a long time before I dared to dive off that board again.

I love the ocean especially at its fiercest during a storm when the waves are white caps crashing against the shore. I can feel the energy of the water and the wind blowing and whipping the sand. The gulls circle and make a raucous noise. I walk on the hard-packed sand close to the water. I walk with the wind.

Fireflies light up my backyard. When I was really little, I thought they were garden fairies, cousins to Tinker Bell. I’d watch them flit and blink between the trees and branches. They were magic. When I got older, I caught some in a jar with a lid that had holes so they could breathe. I never kept them: I just watched them for a while. Even though I know why they blink, I still think they have a bit of magic about them.

My grand-nephew Jack was born this morning. He weighs seven pounds and is 19 and 1/2 inches long. I got a short video and can attest to the power of his lungs. Both mother and baby are fine.

“Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!”

June 11, 2012

Today is a perfect morning. The sun is shining, it’s cool and the birds are loudly singing their homage to the day. It’s quiet in the way weekday mornings are when people are at work and kids are in school. Gracie is asleep on the couch and breathing so deeply I know her tongue is probably out the way it always is when she sleeps so soundly. The cats are lying in the sun. Today I need to fill the bird feeders and go grocery shopping, one of my least favorite chores, but I really don’t have much choice. I’m just about out of everything-the list is long.

My niece had her baby yesterday. Declan weighed 9.2 pounds. Sarah, my niece, is a diabetic so the doctor knew the baby would be a big one. He has been watching her closely for the last month or so and knew it was time for Declan to meet the world and his family, all of whom were there. In the picture with his father, Declan is screaming and looks enormous for a newborn. I half expected to see him standing tall and maybe even saying hello. The best picture is of Declan being held by his cousin Ryder who is almost six. On Ryder’s face as he is holding the baby is the most wonderful look of awe and joy at finally meeting his cousin.

I am now the old aunt. I remember my old aunts. They were my grandmother’s sisters and were at most of our family parties. Aunt Madeline played the piano and everyone stood around and sang. My family was always great for singing. My uncle fancies himself a Bing Crosby. When I was in Africa, my sister sent me a tape of music she had recorded from the radio. I was listening to it when right in the middle I heard my uncle’s voice singing to me. He had commandeered the microphone, and I loved hearing his voice. It was a huge piece of home.

My mother always sang while she worked in the kitchen. She’d put on a CD of Tony or Frank and sing along. I have the best picture in my memory drawer of my mother working at the counter and singing as she mixed and stirred her ingredients. That kitchen was always where the singing seem to start at my parents’ parties. People would be sitting on the benches at the table or standing in front of the table their arms sometimes around each other’s shoulders. When I close my eyes, I can still see them all.

I dearly miss those parties and the singing in the kitchen. They are just about my favorite memories of my family, of all my family, of aunts and uncles and most especially Mom and Dad.