Last night, I remembered my great aunt Marilyn. She was a single lady, never married or had any children. My grandma’s sister, my mom’s aunt. She lived to be 78 years old, passing away in 2012. I found the photo below, in 1986, camera around her neck. I guess you could call her the photographer of the family. She took many of the photos that I have had the pleasure of viewing. The photo of her and I was taken a few months later.
As a kid, I fondly remember going to spend the night with her and my great grandmother. They lived in a two story house that was very old and weathered. My great grandfather had passed away, I believe, in the 70s – so it was just the two of them living there. Below is a photo of myself, my great grandma and my great aunt Marilyn at Thanksgiving 1990.
When I was really little, a toddler, she would take me with her to her square dance competitions. I always loved going to visit her and spend the night with her, we would watch Golden Girls. She would make me cucumbers with salt and pepper on them, would always save the back of the Peeps containers for me and we would walk over to Sheetz for some Nerd candies. Her house always smelled like Lysol. She had the best most interesting handwriting and she always wrapped the money she sent for birthdays and holidays in tissue paper with ribbon. She loved birds – I remember sitting on the porch and watching the birds coming to her bird bath in the backyard.
This morning, I was looking out of my kitchen window. We have a line of pine trees in our backyard, one of my favorite things about where I live. I saw a cardinal in one of the trees. It bounced around branch to branch, tweeting its song. I thought about my great aunt Marilyn and wondered if possibly she sent that cardinal this morning.
Life gets hectic. Sometimes we need little reminders to remember the ones who cared for us when we were young. I never really thought so much about it until now, but her presence in my life was significant, even though we did grow apart. As I got older, I was busy doing different things; aunt Marilyn was getting older, too. I didn’t understand then but I think she probably suffered from depression. Losing her sister to cancer, then losing her mother to old age – possibly the two biggest relationships of her life, gone within 10 years of each other. She was somewhat isolated as it was. If I could go back, I would spend more time with her and show her how much I appreciated her. Unfortunately, that is not possible. So, I am writing this blog in appreciation of my great aunt Marilyn and the memories that she gave me that have stuck with me through the years – thankful for her presence in my life.