Memories of My Seven Aunts
My Seven Aunts
My mother and father both came from large families, so I was blessed with many aunts - three on my mom's side and four on dad's side. Throughout my life, I have been closer to my aunts than my grandparents whom I infrequently saw when growing up. In this article, I feature each one of my seven aunts and share with my readers what I remember about each one.
My Three Maternal Aunts
My Three Maternal Aunts
My mother who was born and grew up in Marshfield, Wisconsin, was the oldest of six children. She had two brothers - Raymie and Leo - and three sisters - Anna (Sissy,) Donna, and Mary. The following relates how I remember each aunt.
Aunt Anna (Sissy)
Anna is the oldest of my mother's three younger sisters. I first remember Aunt Sissy from the early 1950s when mom and dad used to visit Marshfield each summer. Aunt Anna married a World War II veteran, Lavern, and lived in a small cottage in the countryside outside of Marshfield. Aunt Sissy had five or six kids at the time, and my dad used to joke that she was going to have enough children for a baseball team.
As I got older, I didn't see Aunt Sissy that much until the early 90s when I would drive ma and dad to Marshfield each summer during my visits back at home. Each time we visited, Aunt Sissy extended great hospitality and we always wound up spending the night with her.
Aunt Sissy was also very gracious in letting my sister, Pat, live with her for two weeks in 1985. Pat was in vet school at the time and serving a two week apprenticeship with a local Marshfield veterinarian.
Aunt Donna is mom's second youngest sister who is about 15 years younger. I remember Donna as a big sister during the early 50s. How I remember her wedding to Uncle Joe in May of 1956. Mom and dad couldn't attend because they were busy on the farm, so they sent my oldest sister, Beatrice, and me on the train instead. On the way back home, we rode in Uncle Joe's Buick.
I also visited Donna at her big country house once in the late 70s and then a few times in the late 1990s. Once when we visited, Uncle Joe was showing us how he made his dandelion wine. I learned from Aunt Mary that Donna passed away due to a heart attack on April 11, 2015. She will really be missed by me and her loved ones.
Aunt Mary is my youngest aunt and 23 years younger than my mother. Whenever my folks visited Marshfield in the early 50s, I have fond memories of playing with my aunt in the field with a brook next to grandma's house. Occasionally I would write letters to Aunt Mary and jokingly say that I was her uncle. My aunt quickly pointed out that I was her nephew.
After moving to the farm, our trips to Marshfield weren't very frequent. I do remember, however, visiting in 1960, and then attending Aunt Mary's and Uncle Jim's wedding reception in 1963. Mary and Jim divorced in 2011 but they are now together again in 2015.
My Father's Family
My Aunt Laura
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My Four Paternal Aunts
My father who was also born in Wisconsin had two brothers and four sisters all of whom are now deceased. Dad had one older brother, Uncle Augie, and one younger brother, Uncle Dick. Dad's four sisters all younger than he included: Aunt Marie, the oldest; Aunt Laura, the second oldest; Aunt Helen, the third oldest; and Aunt Florence, the youngest. Although the paternal aunts lived close by when growing up, my maternal aunts seemed much closer. The following is how I remember my paternal aunts.
My first remembrances of Aunt Marie come from 1950 when she was living in West Allis not far from our rented apartment. Aunt Marie had recently had brain surgery and was getting ready to get married to Uncle Chuck.
Unfortunately Uncle Chuck died seven years later and I remember going to the funeral and reception in Marie's home.
All through high school and college, Aunt Marie would often come out to the farm to see dad. I will always remember how she attended my high school graduation and encouraged me to do well.
Three years later in the summer of 1965, she came up to Madison with her daughter (my cousin) Susie to visit me when I was attending summer school at the university.
2. Aunt Laura
Aunt Laura used to often visit my father in the early 50s when we were still living in the city. Actually, throughout her whole life, she visited more than any other aunt. One of the reasons is because she lived in a cottage near a lake about 10 miles away.
In later years, I would always visit Aunt Laura with my folks while home on vacation. I was surprised that she was a Burt Reynolds fan, and had a risqué pinup of him in her basement!
Aunt Laura would also often go on overnight gambling trips with my mother and father to different casinos in Wisconsin.
3. Aunt Helen
I probably knew and saw Aunt Helen less than Aunts Marie and Laura. She really wasn't that close to my dad because she was quite a bit younger.
Helen worked for the telephone company. I remember seeing her sometimes in the mid 50s when Aunt Helen still lived at home with grandpa and grandma. It was fun playing with her golf clubs and balls, and how can I not forget scaring her half to death when I jumped out of a cemetery as we were walking home from a Milwaukee Braves game in 1955.
I only saw Helen a few more times after that. Helen, however, thought of all her nephews and nieces, and she was the only aunt who left me a small inheritance after her death.
4. Aunt Florence
Personally I hardly knew Aunt Florence when I was growing up. I suspect that is because my dad and her weren't that close due to the great age gap. Florence eventually married, but like Aunt Helen she didn't have any children.
One thing I do remember is that for Christmas of 1954 both Aunt Helen and Florence presented me with a beautiful baseball autographed by all of the 1954 Milwaukee Braves players.
Each one of my aunts did something for me during my life which I will always remember. I miss the aunts who have already passed away, and I look forward to seeing my living maternal aunts again as soon as possible. Fortunately I still have contact with my youngest aunt, Mary, on Facebook.
© 2015 Paul Richard Kuehn
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