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The Aunts ( And the Gifts that they gave me , which were not squandered)

Above are my three aunts (technically they are my great aunts, as they were my grandmother’s sister’s ) Spinster Aunts, one may have referred to them as , years ago . Not even close to reality . They led incredible lives …

I was born, and spent the first , almost 5 years of my life , living FT in a home where my Aunts also resided ( another long story) . I spent the first 26 years of my life visiting there quite frequently ..at least a few times a week .

From left to right ( and in age order …youngest to oldest ) .

 

My Aunt R..she was an OR Nurse at a very busy hospital in a city in Westchester County NY . She gave me the gift of compassion, and kindness for she was always kind . Her job did wear on her after a time as she was called out at all hours of the night to run out for emergency surgeries . My siblings were not crazy when Aunt R bought me my heart’s desire , a Siamese cat , which she had spent $30 on back in the mid 1960’s ) I named the cat Susie ..

My Aunt EG…what a pip ..and we share the same first name . This woman was a world traveler back in the 1950’s and 1960’s…diving off Mexican Cliffs, skiing in the Alps , Yearly trips to Puerto Rico ,,,she travelled to the Orient Forever ago . I do recall picking up my two youngest Aunts with my mom , at what was then Idlewood Airport, and my mom going absolutely bonkers  because we did see JFK at that airport that day ( and she was swooning) ..Anywhoo..Aunt G and I shared our first (legal ) names. As a child I felt that she hated me because she used her middle name …we were both named after her mom , who passed away at a very young age . I believe Aunt G was approximately 8 years old when this transpired (her mom’s death) It has only dawned on me recently that  perhaps my Aunt a) was referred to by her middle name at an early age to avoid confusion, or b) was pained by the early passing of her mom and therefore did not wish to use that name . I will never know but I guess maybe it is all about me ..thinking someone avoided their name because the found me so offensive , even as a child . Insecurity…ugh ..Well Aunt G was a fashionista and the gift that she gave me was a black belt in shopping and fashion ( my closet is beyond full as was hers ) She dragged me shopping all over Westchester County and NYC when I was a child …Bergdoff,s Saks , John Wanamaker, B Altman’s and what I believe was her favorite , and it became mine Lord &Taylor …She taught me how to dress and how to bargain shop galore . When you can find $300 Ralph Lauren skirts for $20 you snag them up, right? My closet is a testament to her ..she was also amazing in taking us other places …she taught me to ice skate by leaving me in the middle of a frozen reservoir , hiking , horseback riding …I recall when my older sister and I would accompany her to her best friend’s home. Her best friend was married to the CEO of Mallory ( Duracell Batteries) . My sister and I would sit in the parlor while the maid served us tiny finger sandwiches. her friend did tell her ..she told me this much later ..that she had never seen more well mannered children than my sister and I . Thank  you also Aunt G for the trip to the 1964 World’s Fair( she would later gift me with her beloved 1964 Impala , which was featured at that World’s Fair) ..the trips to Jones Beach and our little beach ( one of my favorite places ever in Westport CT) When my family moved to NJ people could not believe that my family had never been to the NJ shore . This is not because we were lacking , or trashy , but just because we went better places 🙂

Aunt N..my godmother( and fellow Scorpio) …the eldest sister who essentially gave up her life when her mom passed away at a young age . Years later I would find out that she was in love with the man who owned a shop across the street but she had given up her life to care for her father and her younger siblings. BEST COOK EVER .   And a hell of a Baker .I take no argument here . One of my cousin’s actually had a very successful restaurant in Florida which he based upon Aunt N ‘s recipes. The only time in my life that I have even eaten  fish, cold in the pan..out of the fridge …and it was amazing …she also loved, and lived for children ..

One , out of many memorable things about Aunt N is that she rarely left the home ..she was the caretaker . I recall my great grandfather with all of his pinochle cronies having parties, at the house ..the maitre’d (my grandmother’s cousin  …he was so handsome ) of the famed Stork Club in Manhattan was among the attendee’s. Aunt N gifted me with the love of children and the ability to cook . I spent many hours with her in the kitchen …we played gin rummy until the wee hours of the night , drinking blackberry brandy ( I may have been 11-13 at this point ) .

I learned much later that my siblings were limited as to where they could spend the night in T- town where as I was always trying to decide where I wanted to sleep …my grandparent’s ( by age 13 I had my own assigned room there) Aunts R &G ..large room , large bed or near Aunt N ( always an honor) ..wondering if she gave me brandy to make me sleep ( clearly I slept with her those nights that we stayed up into the wee hours ) . I was known to be a spirited child with a heart of gold …

It is funny in looking back that you realize that,  maybe ,you were everyone’s favorite child when you truly believed that you were completely unloved and a loser …when you given privileges that no one else ..when you are told that your heart is Golden …these women influenced my life more than they could ever know

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