I Was A Spoiled Rotten Kid

She wasn’t a beautiful woman in my esteem. But she spoiled me rotten. She also had a heart of gold and meant the world to me. That was my step grandfather’s sister, Bonnie. To me, she was just Aunt Bon.

Grandfather and she could almost pass for twins. ? No woman in the world should have to look like that. Any man either!

Aunt Bon and her husband Leonard (Curly) Rush, took care of me between the age of 4-6. Mom had become ill and I, my 2 brothers and sister were farmed out to my grandparents until she recuperated.

However, that was just too many kids to palm off on anyone at one time. So, that’s how I ended at my Aunt Bon’s. She wasn’t able to have children and so selected me to come and stay with her, obviously because I was the best looking and smartest of the lot. Grandma didn’t want to give any of us up, but had no choice.

My grandparents lived in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. Pure hillbilly country, it was. Aunt Bon lived in Parsons, Kansas…not a whole lot of difference. Grandfather had worked on the well known MKT Railroad together, with Curly and that's how he came into the mix.


I SOON BECAME LONELY

Only one thing was wrong with this arrangement. I was now an only child. I was used to having three other kids around…and I soon became lonely. Aunt Bon compensated for this by giving me lots of toys. That helped, but didn’t solve the problem. But Aunt Bon spent lots of time with me making up things to do. She loved making ceramics and had a taste for loud and gaudy designs. She always included me in her projects.

She collected buttons, baubles and any pretty odds and ends to work with. Her favorites were vases. Simple ones made from any old bottle. Slap some plaster of Paris around an old bottle, stick some colorful buttons and doo dads on it and you’d have a vase or candle holder.

THE PHOTO SHE HAD MADE

ME AT 4 YEARS OLD
ME AT 4 YEARS OLD

SHE PLAYED GAMES WITH ME

She would also play make believe with me. Bon had bought an ornately designed tea set which she cherished. But once or twice a week, she would get it out of the china closet and make hot chocolate for us. That was very special to me. We pretended to be rich, snobby people where she would speak in an aristocratic monotone, which I found amusing.

During one trip downtown she took me to a photo studio and had a picture taken of me. Uncle Curly hung that picture in the hallway. Aunt Bon told me after I had gone back to my Moms’; Curly would look at the picture every morning and ask why I had to leave them. I loved living with Bon and Curly, I was a happy child. I never considered myself as being spoiled.

We always had plenty of cereal around the house. During the mid 50’s, cereal companies were putting toys in their boxes and I remember having all the little plastic boats Post Cereals put in their boxes. I didn’t care for cereal much though.

I suppose I can’t blame my siblings for thinking I would be a spoiled brat by the time I returned. Aunt Bon bought me almost anything I wanted. I had plenty of toys…in good shape. I remember Bon telling me my family was coming to visit and I should share my toys. That was alright with me. Why would she think I wouldn’t?

It seems everybody thought that’s the way I would be. Maybe it would have been better if I had been a stingy, spoiled little brat…they tore up my wagon and toys and treated me like I was anyway.

Then the day came for me to go back to Grandma’s. No one told me. We drove up into my grandparents’ driveway and it didn’t take long for me to see what was happening. As Bon and Curly got out to meet them I locked the car doors. I didn’t want to go back. I’ll never forget the look on my grandmothers’ face. I never meant to hurt her. But even at 6 years old, you know when you’ve hurt someone. I got out of the car and went and hugged her. I realized that was where I was supposed to be.

Aunt Bon passed away from colon cancer in 1978. Uncle Curly passed soon after not being able to cope without the love of his life.


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