Today is my Aunt Sue’s 100th birthday. Aunt Sue is my dad’s aunt–my grandmother’s younger sister. My family is small, so I’m closer to my great-aunt than a lot of other people might be. My father’s father died when he was very young, so he and his brother were raised by my grandmother, my great grandmother, and Aunt Sue. I always felt like she loved me best because we share the same middle name. (Her first name is Mary but she goes by her middle name…so now I’ve confessed my own middle name.)
Aunt Sue loved the outdoors. She knew how to milk a cow and pluck a chicken. She loves music and used to play the piano and the violin (don’t dare call it a fiddle). She loved animals, liked to wear hats, and her favorite color has always been blue (which she passed on to me). Until she went to the nursing home, she never wore any other color except blue as long as I knew her. I never saw her wear pants in my life, though now all she wears is pajamas. She always kept kept a flower garden, until about 15 years ago. I always think of her when I see blue morning glories and blue hydrangeas.
Aunt Sue never married, and she never learned to drive. She lived in the same house all her life–by herself for nearly 40 years–until about a year and a half ago, when her health deteriorated and she had a bad fall. She hasn’t been herself since then–most of the time, she doesn’t make any sense at all. But sometimes, out of the blue, she come out of her fog and is as lucid as ever, if only for a little while.
This last picture of Aunt Sue (in the hat) is probably 15-18 years old. That’s my grandmother on the right–she died in 1995 at age 92.
When I think about the changes Aunt Sue has seen in her life, it makes my head spin. If I make it to 100, will the changes that I witness be as momentous?
You’ve had a wonderful life, Aunt Sue–happy 100th birthday!