My Aunt Georgette lives about an hour and a half from me. She, my uncle and their children have lived in West Virginia since the late 50's-early 60's when he moved here with his job at Union Carbide. Over the years we've visited from time to time, but I have never really spent a lot of time alone with my aunt. This weekend I traveled to Virginia for some storytelling events and family visits, and invited my aunt to go with me so that she could visit her daughter who lived in northern Virginia.
Why did I never think of this before? We had the best time together. My aunt is an interesting lady and for the first time I learned some of her family history, and more about my father's family too (she is married to my father's brother).
For instance, I did not realize that when my mother came to America after World War II, she was the same age as my father's younger brother. She moved in with my father, his parents and his two younger brothers, actually. And later, his oldest brother, wife and two children also moved in. What a motley crew they must have been! But post World War II there was probably a good bit of these types of living arrangements as soldiers returned and housing was probably scarce.
I also heard stories of my aunt's growing up years, about her uncle who was an early aviator and died before she was born (she was named after him), and about her two grandmothers, one of whom I remembered. So many memories, so many stories.
It was good to talk, to share worries, laughter, reflections, and news. The trip seemed to fly by. We stopped for lunch with my next-in-age sister Judy on the way down, again touching base and catching up. As I get older, these precious opportunities to see family mean even more to me.
I'll see my aunt again soon, when she joins my sisters and me to make fruitcakes (again, why did we not think to invite her before?). And again when I tell Christmas stories at my uncle's assisted living center. And I hope many more times in the months to come. It may be late in the day but I am very glad to be getting to know my aunt at last.
Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.