Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Aunt Rose

Well I don't have a monopoly on this relationship. She was other people's Aunt Rose as well, had other nephews as well as myself, plus a few nieces in there. And she wasn't my only Aunt. But of my Mom's two sisters and three sisters-in-law, she was definitely my favorite Aunt. And I'm sure she was as well to my brother and many of our cousins.

Rose Hicks Lewallen was born November 7, 1921 and died February 20, 2010. 88 years old, would've been 89 this year. Her husband Gilbert, whom we called Gib, preceded her in death, and was favorite Uncle to many of us kids growing up. We lived 200 miles away from them, but Mom was very close to her sister Rose, so there were many visits over the years. And I had what I considered a special bond to them.

In 1954, right after having me, Mom came down with Thyroid Cancer. Mom was just 25, had been married only a year. Even though the Cancer hadn't spread, they weren't sure if she was going to make it. So during this precarious period, while she was being treated, I stayed with Aunt Rose and Uncle Gib. Literally cut my first teeth on Uncle Gib, a story he enjoyed telling for the rest of his days.

If she hadn't pulled through, I guess I'd have been raised by my Aunt Rose and Uncle Gib there in Indiana, with Dad seeing me as often as he could. I'm sure my Aunt and Uncle would've done a good job with me, and I'd have been even closer to my cousins there, all of whom I always liked anyway. But of course I would've had no memory of my Mother, and the heart-wrenching experience of only seeing my Dad part of the time. Plus, speaking of Dad, who knows as far as the possible stepmom and half-siblings down the road..

Mom had had a childhood ravaged by all manner of illness, from Rheumatic Fever to blindness, and the Cancer she came down with at the age of 25 was just a nasty cherry on top of that pathological cake. But she beat Thyroid Cancer, and as it turned out was disease-free her whole adult life. So I got my Mom back. But if I hadn't, then Aunt Rose would've been, in effect, my Mother, would've raised me as another son.

So I always felt especially close to my Aunt Rose, always enjoyed our visits, and the story goes even wrote to her as a little boy of 5 or so. The letter was addressed simply to Aunt Rose, Lebanon Indiana- and Lebanon being a very small town, actually made it to her!

And I've kept in touch with her over the years, at least the semi-regular phone call. Aunt Rose had a sauciness to her, a persnickety side that was more evident with the years, and brought out the occasional crass(or at least judgmental) remark or observation. The last time I actually saw her was in 2008 when I drove over to Indiana for a visit, and she immediately started in about the 'extra' weight around my middle. Usually in our phone conversations she'd dredge up some memory of me which was embarrassing or at least highly unflattering. Something I'd just as soon not remember. There was no malice in all this, but still I could tell she delighted in irritating me, in hearing me groan.

Persnickety. Well okay, the word is actually persnickative. But it's one of those permanently-bastardized words that we only know in its incorrect form. Like "Elephantitis"(elephantiasis). But she was persnickety.

I tried to complain once, about the fact that every time we talked she'd pull out a story that made me look bad, and she just laughed. Not a derisive laugh, more from the puckish spirit of one who loves to tease. So I threw up my hands at that point. We love our people despite these things, and sometimes all the more because of them. Aunt Rose was still my favorite Aunt. And I'm sure she'd have made a good Mom. But if she'd raised me as her son, as far as the embarrassing stories, she'd have really had some ammunition...

My Aunt Rose. I love her to pieces.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

R.I.P c.u.p

Well since there aren't supposed to be any accidents in the Universe, I guess it had to happen. And it had to happen just when and how it happened. I was in the bathroom, had it in my hand, experienced a butterfingers moment, it slipped out of my hand, fell against the porcelain surface of the toilet and shattered into two pieces.

I'm talking about my coffee cup. Not just any coffee cup mind you, but my favorite coffee cup. The one I always reached for here at home, the one that was always there for me(well except for the times the cleaning lady uses too much Palmolive to clean it and I've gotta soak it in water to get the detergent taste out). A lot of coffee has been poured into that cup over the years. It's served me a lot of cups of joe, morning noon and night, my sturdy Vessel of Java. And now it's gone.

Shattered into pieces in a mere second. Amazing how your whole world can change like that in just the blink of an eye. From being a person with his favorite coffee cup to a person without that fave kitchen utensil. A cupless eunuch. From day to night.

Then again, even though it was my favorite coffee cup, it was after all just a damn coffee cup for Chrissake. I mean, I didn't have a cute nickname for it or anything or take it to bed with me. It was just the cup I was, shall we say, accustomed to.

So the search for a new Main Cup is now on. I have other cups in the cupboard for the time being to cover, but it's just not the same. Just personal taste, but I like my coffee cup just a little bigger, more capacious than average. Gotta hit a store or two- probably Wal-Mart, which as I remember has a whole wing of such items- which should take care of this Coffee Cup Conundrum.

It's been long enough now since my cup fell and shattered. A day is probably enough time to mourn a coffee cup. I'm ready to move on. Rest in pieces, cher cup. You've served me well.