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A generation gone

My aunt Dolly passed away this week. She was the last of my grandmother's siblings so that generation of my family is now gone. It seems strange to think about. I remember spending a lot of time with my great aunt when I was younger. I guess that is the same situation Christopher is in right now with my aunt. They spend a lot of time together fishing and road tripping to Walmart or great grandpa's farm. I hope he is paying attention so that he can cherish the memories when he is older.

My aunt and her husband have sold antiques for as long as I can remember. They lived in two homes that I know of and both were exquisitely decorated with antiques that she liked too well to part with. When I was really little I thought they were so rich because they had a dining room table that stretched forever and the most regal looking chairs. The chairs at each end were particularly fancy and I always wanted to eat in that dining room. I don't think we ever did. Instead food was eaten in the kitchen at a marble topped soda fountain sort of table that my mom really liked. I thought it was just a silly, simple little table. My taste has always ran more towards extravagant.

My uncle called me Liza Jane when I was small and it just drove me crazy. I would cringe as I made my way up the walk, hoping desperately with every step that he would say "Lisa!!" but every time he'd holler "Well look Dolls, it's Lizaaa Jane!!" and I thought he must be so dumb. Now I think back and laugh. I bet she scolded him after we left for teasing me. I can just hear her saying "Dad! You shouldn't pick on her like that!" As I grew older, he stopped doing that and started being very serious with me. In recent years, he would talk about their lives as if they were about over and always said there was nothing more they wanted at the end stage of their lives than to have the younger family come for visits.

Emily loved to go to their house and listen to my aunt talk. She had a voice very much like Katherine Hepburn and dark brown eyes that would just snap if she was getting fired up. There was a fellow who came to the shop often and tried to talk my uncle down on his prices or make a crazy trade. She called him "the weasel" and if she had a story to tell about him, her eyes would change and she'd end each sentence with a firm jaw, forehead locked in a frown and she'd shake her head. I was always thankful she never got mad at me.

I am glad I have these memories but once again I am wishing I'd have taken more time to be with her when she was alive.

Aunt Rosetta, I know you will read this and probably cry a little. I wish you lived closer so I could see you more often but I think you know I love you soooo very much. Consider yourself hugged from afar. Maybe as you recollect your memories, you could email them to me. I love those stories!

Comments (2)


Our condolences, Lisa...

Your post totally reminds me of my grandfather. I only had the one, the other passed away when I was 2. He was my mom's dad, and I was the first grandchild on that side of the family. I never appreciated him when he was alive, I was always pushing him away, not wanting to be embarassed, etc. All the things that young kids are prone to.

He died in 1995, and it took me about 2 minutes to realize the opportunities I had wasted. I supposed I tried the best I could for my age and maturity. But looking back, I always describe him as the only person in the world who thought I was perfect, and that's something I'll never come by again. And I kicked myself for a lot of years for not appreciating him as I should have.

Years later, I know it wasn't really my "fault" in the sense that I was young and didn't know better. But I miss him something awful, and I have for years. Weirdly (but not really Freudianly) The Boy reminds very many people of him.

I have a cassette tape my grandmother found when going through his things of me and him playing with the tape recorder when I was about 7 - it's embarassing and at the same time the most amazing thing I'll ever have. I was just so moved that he would save such a thing, in a special envelope and the whole thing. Obviously I don't even remember making it. But you hear me telling really BAD jokes and him fake laughing to make me happy. It's insanely poignant.

OK, sorry for the babbling. Hope you're doing OK.