I had planned another post for today. A funny little post about being caught out in my nightgown and being photographed from afar. The thing I least expected to be doing was posting another memorial tribute. This time to my aunt, my father's sister. My Aunt Betty. She would have gotten a huge laugh out of the story. My only regret is that I didn't call her this weekend before she died. I made a mental note to do that because I know Memorial Day is tough for her. But I got busy and she died before I could make that last call.
She was a second mother to me. Actually, more like a best friend. She used to say I was the little girl she never had, although she had two wonderful boys who were the best sons! And the best daughter-in-law a mom could ever hope for. But she and I were pals for life. My North, South, East, and West. The person I could confide in when times were good and when times were tough. And she always had the support and the answers. And the sense of humor to pull me up out of the dumps. We'd laugh about it all! We could take a long car trip and laugh all day!
The trips we took together and the things we did! When I lived in K.C., we'd drop Michael off at the all day pre-school and peel out of the parking lot on a mad dash out to the country antique stores. Antiquing was one of our favorite pursuits together. She lived in Vermont for a few years and I'd fly to see her in the fall and we'd head out on the leaf-peeper antiques road show. We had the same tastes in antiques and gardening.
She also loved the beach. How I wish I could have taken her to Isla! She would have fallen in love with it. I made an album of photos for her after every trip and collected shells and seaglass so she could travel vicariously from her armchair. I used to visit her in South Padre when she was wintering there. We'd spend hours beachcombing for shells. We'd get up before dawn to pick the olives (not the tree variety) as they rolled in with the tide. And that shrimp salad down at the Jetty Restaurant was the best thing we'd ever put in our mouths. Of course, we said that about everything we ate whether it was the prime rib in Shelburne or the shrimp and peel in Padre. And she had the sweet tooth too. She'd bring me creme puffs when I was little, and we'd go to Pie Day at Lori's Bakery whenever I managed a trip to Oswego.
Birds were her favorite hobby. She had an elaborate set up of bird feeders and spent hours everyday feeding and watching the birds. Orioles, woodpeckers, bluebirds, redbirds -- they all flocked to her backyard. I loved sitting in her sunroom watching the birds come to us. She had a beautiful view down over a hill. She called it an infinity view. When the river flooded below, she was lakeview. She kept binoculars handy and watched the deer, coyotes, etc... in the fields below.
So today's a very sad day. One of the saddest since my dad died. I'd been expecting this phone call for awhile. In fact, I had a premonition a few months ago and couldn't go to work until I made sure she was still there. Her health had been failing for the past few years. Her heart was bad and I know she felt awful, but when you talked to her on the phone, you could rarely detect it. Because she was one of the most 'with it' people I've ever known. She was such a life force! And how she will be missed.
Aunt Betty's the little girl in the oval on the top left. My dad's in the top right, with my grandmother and her sister on the bottom. These were tin ovals with mirrors inserted on the back.
She lived a long good life. We just weren't ready to see her go. She came into the world on Groundhog Day and left us on Memorial Day.