Random Blog A Musing Farf

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about my Mom, I also wanted to touch upon a few other women who have had a profound impact on my life – my aunts in general and my aunt Meme in particular.

My mother has three sisters and my father has one sister. (Actually, neither has brothers and among my cousins, the girls outnumber the boys 3:2 and none of my cousins’ children are male, leading Husband into minor panic attacks when he thinks of a future surrounded by only women - hence, the dog is a boy…) Anyway, growing up, I never heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but it was certainly practiced. The extended families spent weekends together, vacationed together and, often times, dinner was at the home of whichever aunt was cooking something good that night.

All my aunts are wonderful in their own way and, as an adult, I see the unique attitudes and outlooks that they bring into the family, thus enriching my own life. There is Fee, who could be one of the most giving people I have ever met with a sense of humor that is wickedly sharp. MFAS taught me the glory of shopping malls and I literally spent years wondering how her kitchen always looked so spotless (the answer, apparently, is to never cook), Autie (the youngest of the aunts) was always the fun one and the person to whom we felt comfortable asking the questions we could never ask our own mothers and driving in her car meant that the good radio stations would be playing. But, Fee, MFAS and Autie all lived at least an hour away (a lifetime to a child) and visits with them always held the magic of a holiday. Not so with Meme.

Meme, my mother’s oldest sister, lived 10 minutes from where I grew up and during the early part of elementary school, I went to school with her children. My cousins by Meme (Thew and Ado) were more brothers than cousins as Meme’s house was where my family lived when we were waiting for our new house to be completes, where I convalesced during a bout of pneumonia, a safe haven while my sister was hospitalized as a baby, and where we stayed on those rare occasions where a babysitter was not a feasible option. More than just an aunt, Meme was the second mother of my childhood.

Although Meme and Uncle M no longer live in the house I remember from growing up, I remember that house as well as I would remember my own. There was a spot, behind the dresses in the upstairs hall closet where I would hide with my blankie (they always had an extra one on hand for me), nestled in the carpet and imagine I was a princess in a castle. I can still smell the old dresses and out of season clothes when I close my eyes and inhale. I also remember the baskets hanging on the kitchen walls where Ado and I would stash our action figures and play underfoot until Meme would chase us out of the kitchen. And, unlike at the other Aunt’s homes, where visits were vacations, any punishment incurred at Meme’s carried over to my own house when it was time to leave. Not that we were punished often (with my siblings and cousins there was usually enough entertainment to avoid trouble) and generally any trouble we caused made Meme or my mother laugh to hard to inflict real punishment. (Note to Thew and Ado, having me eat leaves is not funny!) Besides, being at Meme’s was like being at home so it was perfectly acceptable to ignore everyone and watch TV or hide in a bedroom with a book.

Meme is also the person I call when my own mother is unavailable. Put hand soap in a dishwasher and have foam all over the kitchen minutes before a huge date? Call Meme. Want a second opinion on a graduation outfit? Show Meme. Need to feel good that someone actually checks your blog regularly? Email Meme. Want to say a belated “Happy Mothers’ Day” to someone who filled the role on numerous occasions? Write this post.

1 comment:

mom :) said...

This is the second day in a row you have brought a tear to my eye.