Monday, November 5, 2012

Aunt Mary

Did you ever get homesick for a time in your life? Yesterday I had such a pang of homesick nostalgia for  one of my aunt's, who passed away about a year ago. She was 40 years older than me, almost to the day, and until the end of her life, when she passed from dementia, anytime she saw me she would ask, "How old are we this year on our birthdays?" and laugh.

She was ALWAYS dressed to the nines, in knee-high boots or a long leather jacket, and to this day, anytime I see gold shoes, I think of Aunt Mary. She ROCKED them.

It's not that she and I were particularly close, or any closer than my other aunts (I have a LOT of them - my parents each have eight brothers and sisters). For some reason, though, yesterday, Aunt Mary - and her house especially - were on my mind. It was a ranch style, and I always thought it was SO FANCY. She had light blue velvet tufted sofas, and big lamps on her end tables that were cut crystal. It was her basement, though, that came to mind. To get to it, you actually had to go into the garage, and then down the stairs to the basement, which had a bar and a fireplace, and linoleum tiled floors with a splatter pattern that looked like something you would see in a grade school. Not glamorous, by any means, but I remember spending so many family Christmases in that basement.

It was those Christmases that I thought about yesterday. I also remembered the time when I was 15, and our neighbor Jamie, who was 14 at the time, committed suicide. I remembered eating breakfast before school, and hearing my parents whispering about something in the other room, and they came in and told me about him. I had to leave for school, but was so upset about him, that mom called Aunt Mary during the day to come pick me up. At the time, she would have been 55, and I can tell you that today, at age 43, I would be terrified to spend the day with a teenager whose friend had just killed themself, but Aunt Mary got me, took me to the grocery store and let me pick out some things to eat (powdered sugar lemon cookies and vanilla wafers come to mind) and she bought me TWO magazines - something my own mom would never do in a bajillion years. I distinctly remember one of the magazines was a Self magazine with Paulina Porizkova on the cover. So strange the things that we retain, isn't it? We went back to Aunt Mary's, and I ate my cookies and laid on the sofa and read and cried myself to sleep, and knowing her, she probably came in and patted my hand a few times while I laid there.

I don't know why she is on my mind so, if it's the time of year - that she died - of the holidays that prompted my whole train of thought - if it's the sequins in my jacket (Aunt Mary LOVED her bling). I'm just glad, even though my memories are bittersweet, that they're still so sharp in my mind. I love you, Aunt Mary.

Jacket: Macy's
Tee: Hand me down
Pants: Target
Shoes: Target
Necklace: Urban Outfitters
Earrings: Design Spark



Sheree said...

I couldn't read the whole post 'cause I was getting too upset thinking of my dad!
Anyway I love the jacket,,like A LOT!
yeah my kids school is the only nature based program in NY (it's awesome) the only time they do not go outside is if it is pouring or a snow storm...gotta get them some warmer duds since it is already in the 40's here..YUCK!
Sheree xxx

Karrin said...

Sweet story and lovely memories. Thank you for sharing today. My mother is having open-heart surgery today, so it was nice to read an uplifting story of family support. Cherish those memories!

MerciBlahBlah said...

Sheree - awwww, I'm sorry to upset you!!! Sending good thoughts your way. Thanks for the info on your kids' school. That is really cool - I wonder if we have anything similar in my neck of the woods.

Karrin - Many good thoughts and prayers for you and your mom today as she goes into surgery. I'm glad you enjoyed what I wrote!!

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

What a sweet post.

I just lost a great aunt recently whom reminds me of your aunt Mary. She was so vibrant and had a jam packed house full of antiques and collectables. My Aunt Hilda always told naughty jokes and was hilarious, imagine a little old lady telling raunchy jokes. It's so sad to lose people that touch our lives in imperceptible ways and leave us with such poignant heartfelt memories.


this free bird said...

Getting old blows. Been thinking so much about my Aunt Betty lately. She's still here and I'm grateful for it. The woman was Elizabeth Taylor to a T back in the day. But only one husband.