Memories of My Aunt
Aunt Camy - Tough as Nails, Extremely Dangerous, and More Venomous Than a King Cobra!
If there was one adjective describing Aunt Camy-it is M-E-A-N! She was not exactly the kindest, sweetest nor the most empathetic person around. In fact, she was the exact opposite of those words. She asserted proudly that she is a ruthless, heartless bitch! To her, kind people were pansified wussies. She once related to me that the world is a rough place, full of arduous twists and turns. She maintained that the world was not made for wimps and only the most aggressive, tenacious, and cunning people survive and succeed! She further contended that a person has to make his/her mark in life!
Aunt Camy was an earthy and forthright person. She had no use for pretensions and embellishments. She was a savvy and instinctually smart woman who refused to suffer fools gladly. She lived life wildly and dangerously with no apologies to anyone! To her, the average person was just a musselman and an automaton just barely existing, not actually living an individual life!
Aunt Camy was a tall woman, just two inches short of six feet. Her short dark warm blonde hair with light blonde streaks was usually styled in an asymmetrical bob. She was ivory complected untanned but when she was tanned, her complexion was a warm peachy tan. Her eyes were extremely feral and changed color from amber green to pale green when angry! Her looks were beyond description- in a positive sense! People constantly remarked about her astounding and breaktaking beauty! Her extreme beauty was matched by her prodigious intelligence! Her I.Q. was in the 160-170 range!
The word antiestablishmentarian was a complete understatement regarding Aunt Camy. She totally decried social conventions. If she was a woman in 17th century New England, she would be considered a fallen woman! She should be somewhat thankful that the year 2009 was a more enlightened time! If you could describe my relationship with Aunt Camy, it would be at the best merely cordial and at worst, abusive! My relationship with Aunt Camy was analogous to that of a king cobra and a mongoose. As you have guessed- Aunt Camy was the king cobra and I was the mongoose.
I am a quiet and nondescript person. I also am quite conventional and strait laced, leaning towards being somewhat ultraconservative. I am the typical nice girl. Obeyed parents and those in authority! Never had a period of teenaged angst and/or rebellion! Just say that I am the all around all-American small town type girl! Aunt Camy stated derisely that for the life of her- why was I such a goody two shoes? She simply did not understand my personality. To her, I was too introverted, always preferring to read rather than party and meet people. She always told my mother," Jenny, this girl is nothing like our family. Damn. she is a total wallflower! What a weenie-better get her out and get her some personality!"
My mother, of course, would totally agree with Aunt Camy. My mother actually thought I was abnormal because I preferred reading and other intellectual pursuits to the rough and tumble activities of my maternal cousins. Aunt Camy and my mother remarked that I was the lone wolf and oddball in my family. I was extremely happy being an introvert. My mother always derided my personality. She would often indulge me in completely useless and banal conversation while I believed that my time would be better spent, reading and learning something!
My mother constantly enrolled me in one activity after another from the time I was six until I was sixteen. My life, during that time, was a constant whirlwind. If it was not beauty contests and drama classes, it was an neverending circulation of parties. Totally insipid parties where I meet totally moronic self-absorbed girls whose main topic of conversation were fashions and the latest teen movie idols! I definitely had better things to do; however, my mother wanted me to socialize and gain some feminine graces! My mother like Aunt Camy, by contrast, loved to party and socialize. The worst thing to do to my mother was to put her out of social circulation. My mother believed that introverted people were retarded losers totally out of sync with reality! Well, I was out of touch then!
Aunt Camy always found something wrong with me in one fashion or another. I was always too good. To her, I was not a normal child. She maintained that as a child, I acted more like an old person. I was never interested in childish things. I grew up in an environment surrounded by adults thus I have felt extremely comfortable in the company of older people. My father, as another only child, understood this implicitly. My mother and Aunt Camy, who were two of twelve children, never can fathom this! They were always pushing me to be out and about while my father told them to leave me alone!
Aunt Camy, as my mother, came from a blue collar albeit wealthy background. Aunt Camy and my mother were two of twelve children born on the outskirts of Tulsa, Oklahoma of Scottish, English, and Choctaw parentage. On paper, they could be classified as millionaires although by appearances, it could be assumed that they were just good old cowboys. They lived a life of extreme luxury and ease. Their father, William Robert McCab, known locally as Willy Bob, was an extremely extroverted man. He loved people and lived life to the ultimate max! His motto was no excuses and no regrets!
Aunt Camy is the oldest of the twelve children. She inherited the looks and characteristics of Willy Bob. In fact, Aunt Camy is the feminine version of Willy Bob. In his youth, Willy Bob was extremely blond and handsome in addition to being a hellraiser and a hit with the opposite gender! Wild and devilish are apt, descriptive adjectives for Willy Bob. He was quite a character! He imbued his seven daughters including Aunt Camy and my mother that being female is a nonissue. They were told that they are beautiful, intelligent, and successful; furthermore, there is no such thing as a man's world. They were also inundated with the attitude of achievement. Willy Bob said, " Girls, be ruthless if you have to- never settle for second best- y'all are winners- go get it!"
From early childhood, all twelve children were enrolled in various athletic and cultural activities. There was no time to be idle in the McCab family. Besides athletic acumen, there was emphasis on the children to be both intellectually and instinctually smart! Of the twelve children, four achieved Masters Degrees, three obtained Doctor of Medicine Degrees, two achieved Doctor of Dental Science Degrees, one has a Doctors of Social Work Degree(my mother), and one just has a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering( Aunt Camy). Aunt Camy was a wild child and teenager. She related that although she was a straight A student and student leader, she had a wild side. It was not unusual for her as a preteen to sneak high school boys into her dorm room. She was even expelled for a month when she was caught. Besides that, she would disguise herself as a college student when she was thirteen and attend fraternity parties! In school, she was a model student and student council president. On the weekends, she was what one would consider, a bad girl who smoked cigars, drank hard liquor, and surreptitiously dated college guys.
Aunt Camy's underground reputation as a wild preteen girl worsened as a teenager! She was quite popular at her high school-more with boys than with girls. She was also student council president thrice and head cheerleader. She did what she wanted and with whom she wished. She flagrantly disregard the social priorities of early 1960s America, especially in Oklahoma when good girls......just didn't! Well, she did and bragged about it! She had much, much mileage! After high school, she attended a local university and finished within three years. She left Oklahoma soon thereafter and moved to Los Angeles.
Aunt Camy never used her electrical engineering degree. Her beauty opened other doors. She was a lingerie model; subsequently, she worked in television first as an extra, spokesperson, and then a leading lady for a short-lived television series. Afterwards, she went into the business end of the entertainment business. She is currently retired from the position of media mogul. She divides her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Beverly Hills. During the interim, she married thrice and has one son, from whom she is totally estranged from. Here is the story.... the son was from her second marriage to an extremely eccentric movie producer twice her age! The marriage was a stormy one to say the least. They never loved each other- the marriage was simply a business arrangement to boost Aunt Camy's fledgling television career! She was an absentee and distance mother at best, she delegated a nanny and nurse to raise her son! She hardly saw her son during his formative years! When he was not in the care of the nanny and nurse, he was shuttled off to various boarding schools in France and Switzerland. To say he odiously detested his mother is an utter understatement!
During her three marriages, she also had ten extramarital affairs. As I have said before, Aunt Camy did not believe in societal conventions! Marriage to her was just an act. Marriage was not going to prevent her for having lovers if that is what she wished! One time, she had an affair with a married lover and his wife discovered it! The wife confronted Aunt Camy and threatened to ruin her career! Well, Aunt Camy hired a person with dubious connection and got rid of the situation......literally! She was not a person to be messed with. If anyone dared to mess with her-it is often at their peril! She had CONNECTIONS- and know how to use them! It was rumored that two of her lovers belonged to the group Cosa Nostra!
I know that Aunt Camy can be quite inhumane to put it mildly! I remember when I was six years old, visiting Uncle Beauford, one of my maternal uncles, at his Texas ranch. His oldest son, who was eight years old, maliciously pushed me into a mud pit! This act resulted in a skinned knee and a broken tooth! I was crying and bleeding profusely! When Aunt Camy saw me, she slapped my face a couple of times and cursed at me to stop crying. I remember the expletives she called me! I would never forget it until this day! However, a neighbor lady hugged and soothed me!
Out of all Aunt Camy's forty-five nieces and nephews, I was definitely the LEAST favorite one. Except for me, all of the nieces and nephews are extremely physically attractive, tall, blonde, and tanned athletic types. They were extremely gregarious and social. To them, partying hard and regularly was a normal part of life! They were all good old people. I was the total opposite to my cousins. I was extremely gawky and dark with light tan skin, olive green eyes, and blue black hair. I am not gregarious and athletic-instead, I am quite creative and artistic! I love to read and stay indoors. The very thought of going to parties make me nauseous! I take after my paternal family(Romanian) in terms of looks and temperament. My maternal cousins, aunts, and uncles considered me strange. They merely tolerated me at best, actually hating me! They would often remark to my mother that I was an ugly duckling among swans!
Let me correct the phrase least favorite of Aunt Camy's nieces and nephews- she usually blamed and scapegoated me for the most trivial reasons! When I was eleven years old, my Aunt Cissy( the third child) and her youngest daughter,Lulu, who was eight years old, visited me and my mother in Las Vegas! Aunt Cissy was an obnoxious spitfire and Lulu was the exact replica of her mother! Lulu was a school bully and malcontent- she enjoyed instigating fights and feigning innocence while others got into trouble! Well, Lulu fell down and started to Aunt Camy that I roughhoused her! Of course, this was untrue! However, Aunt Camy believed the little troublemaker as the favorite cousin! Well, Aunt Camy glared at me, shouting if I ever pushed little Lulu again, I would regret it! When I explained to her that I had no part in Lulu's falling, she called me a *&$%&! liar and reported the incident to my mother. My mother, of course, was partial to Lulu- blaming me for the incident! It was totally pointless for me to explain to my mother that I had no part in the incident. Lulu was the most favorite of all the family's nieces and nephews. She could do no WRONG in their eyes while EVERYTHING I did was wrong! To my mother, all my maternal cousins were favored over me- and I am her daughter!
You can see that my relationship with my maternal relatives was perfunctory to say the least. They hated me and I have learned to hate them. Aunt Camy contacted me only sporadically and that was when she was lonely and needed someone to talk to. I learned not to like her because she never cared for me although she pretended to do for appearances' sake. It is the Monday before Thanksgiving 2010 and Aunt Camy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, desperately wanting to see me. I wondered why would she want to see me, the black sheep of the family and not her FAVORITE niece, Lulu, now Louise. Well, I had to leave my apartment in Indianapolis to visit Aunt Camy in Santa Fe. When I saw Aunt Camy, she was sick; however, she was unrepentant. She still criticized me and call me a pejorative word for oddball.
I would have thought that as she was mortally ill and had only months to live, she would be nicer to me! I am being unrealistic here- being nice is out of character for her! Out of all her nieces and nephews, I was the only one at her deathbed. Not even her son would come to see her when he was notified that she had cancer! His reply to me was, " May the $%#%$ bitch die, it will be very dark and desolate where she is going! Let the c(*&$@t rot! I love you coz but my mother was rotten, especially to you who is the nicest person around! " She just laid there and glared at me. When she wanted something, she shouted, " Hey you ugly, retarded simpleton s, get me this, get me that!" Never a word of kindness nor a thank you! She remained recalcitrant until the end! Then at 3:33 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, I was awakened from my sleep. I had loud, curdling, and unearthly screams! I rushed into her bedroom. Aunt Camy's face was unusually pale and ashen! She looked at me and abruptly fell asleep, never to awake again........... I often wondered what did Aunt Camy see before she died! Well, karma is a bitch and what goes around, actually comes around!