Saturday, April 20, 2013

MY LAST AUNT


Autumn fog has begun to appear, clinging to the hills which surround us...


At last, morning temperatures are dropping, and I can feel a chill on my face when I venture out walking..

I love Autumn, always my favourite season:
brilliant blue skies during the day, early nightfall and cosy fires at night.

My last Aunt died the other day.
Once I had five aunts, and one by one they have slipped away.
Auntie E was 90, a long life, mother of six and grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother to so many that I lost count!

Google images
Auntie E was funny and feisty, she lived on a farm and had the strength and resilience of many a farmer's wife.
I remember visits as a child, to a house without electricity - kerosene lanterns at night, a big wood-burning stove, making fresh butter by hand from cream from their large herd of dairy cattle.
The only time I have ridden horses was on that farm.

They were a family with six children, and so were we.
The noise and energy resounded in that little farm-house.
I really don't know how we all fitted in, but I do remember an arrangement involving pillows at either end of a bed, and feet meeting in the middle!


I flew north to her funeral, and met my cousins again, some after many years.  It was fun; a happy sad time.

Aunties are a bit like your mother, but not quite the same.
They can know your secrets and not tell, and sometimes can be very perceptive because they are just one step removed.
Aunties sent parcels at Christmas, full of cheerful little gifts.

Auntie E lived in the tropics, in the area where my parents once lived, and where I was born.  My mother used to tell the story that when she had me, her firstborn, she knitted an entire baby outfit in fine wool, including dress, coat, bonnet, and booties, and a large shawl!  She proudly dressed me to come home from the hospital.  It was December, the hottest time of our year, and after a lengthy car trip, they called in to Auntie E, already a mother of three, to show me off.
E took one look, and saw one Very Distressed little baby.
Without a word she pulled off all my finery, and lowered my overheated temperature.  She may have saved my life!
My poor mother, she had grown up down south in a much colder climate and did not know not to over-dress her baby in the tropics.  Especially in wool.


'Bye, E, and rest in Peace.

XXXX

23 comments:

  1. What a sweet tribute to your aunt. I didn't realize you were part of such a large family. The image of sleeping head to toe is oddly familiar. Your visits must have been so much fun.

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  2. Happy memories Beryl, and I loved the farm. Yes, I am the bossy oldest in a family of six!

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  3. Your aunt sounds to have been a very special lady for you to retain such a wonderful host of special memories.
    A lovely tribute to her from her niece.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary, I didn't know what to write, but it just flowed out! She was my father's sister, interesting and talented, with many skills.

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  4. Condolences on the passing of your aunt, Patricia. She sounds like a fine lady and it's lovely that you have such fond memories of her.

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    1. Thank, Kitty - it was the passing of an era. I am so glad I flew up north for the day to say farewell.

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  6. I'm so sorry about your aunt. It sounds like you have many wonderful memories of her that you can cherish. I love the story about her saving your life. You are the first person I have ever heard of whose life was endangered by wool! :-)

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    1. Yes, I always saw the funny side of the wool story. I am sure the outfit was beautiful, too. Poor Mum!

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  7. Such a lovely and loving tribute to your remarkable aunt, Patricia. You obviously have so many strong and happy memories of her and it sounds like you and your siblings and cousins had a great time together as children. I too remember being put to sleep head to toe with my sisters when we had family visits with lots of cousins. :-)

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    1. Thank you Perpetua, yes, lots of good memories of two families when we had hols together. It was fun to see the cousins again.

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  8. My condolences to you Patricia.
    At times like these, it must feel good to be a part of a large family.

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    1. Thanks Mette, large families are rather old-fashioned now, but it is a good feeling to know they are always there. My cousins looked happy to be reunited for the occasion, too, despite the loss of their mother.

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  9. So sorry to hear this news Patricia and such lovely reminiscences. Lovely tribute to E which she would have loved I'm sure.
    Patricia x

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    1. Thank you Patricia, fun to reminiscence!

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  10. I was touched by your tribute to your aunt. She sounds like a very special person and was very special to you. It's so sad to see the older generation passing on and know they were a special breed, the likes of which do not anymore exist. Sorry for your loss, but what wonderful memories you have to retain her in your heart and mind.

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    1. Thank you Sanda, thank goodness for memories - they become more special as life goes on. My Dad is the last surviving member of his age group in the immediate family, a record in itself.

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  11. Sweet memories of your Aunt. I was very close to my Dad's sister and the saying you printed really explains a lot about our relationship. Glad you have the chance to reconnect with some of your family.

    Darla

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    1. It was interesting finding those sayings, Darla. I only started thinking about Aunt relationships when I decided to do a blog, and I think they capture it nicely.

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  12. Such a lovely tribute to your Aunt and I'm so sorry for you that she has gone! She sounds like my kind of person! Suzy x

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    1. Thanks Suzy, it was the end of an era! xx

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  13. This is a lovely post you have written about your Aunt E.
    All my aunties and uncles , have long passed away.
    She sounds as though she was a lovely person and with so many children.must have been very happy.
    Funerals are sad..but then one gets to meet old cousins as you say.
    val x

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    1. Dear Val, thank you, glad you liked my post.
      Yes, I know she enjoyed her large family and they were very active in their community. Funerals of the elderly are both sad and happy, as we all meet up again and compare our lives, children and grand-children.
      P. xx

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