Here are some thoughts about my last living aunt, who always had my well being in mind.
Thank you Auntie.
The Last Auntie
Recently I learned that my last aunt on my maternal side had died. She lived to a great old age, but my memories go back to when I was of a tender age.
My folks had picked up stakes and gone off to the Golden State in the early 1930’s. There they homesteaded a small one acre sandlot and tried their hands at various amateur occupations.
My Dad taught music, my Mom tried to raise chickens. Later when the War rolled around they were both employed for a few years at the camp where all the Pacific Theater soldiers were processed.
This was the main support of our family for years to come, as my Dad was employed as a boiler fireman at the base, and later transferred to Port Chicago.
During these years, my Mom had a few medical downers where she needed a helper in our house. I was about 4 1/2 when my Aunt Marian Nickerson came out from Michigan and took over.
She cooked, cleaned, and tried to make me wear a frilly white starched dress. I promptly tucked it into my overalls and went up the pine tree. I was used to doing things at my whim and fancy and used to terrorize my folks by climbing whatever high ladder was available.
Anyway, I remember my Aunt asking me if I had been climbing the pine tree, and after I answered in the negative, she had me put out my hands. There the sticky pitch gave the lie to my protestations of innocence.
I don’t remember what the punishment for that infraction was, but whatever it was, I deserved it and more. Children at that age have no conscience.
I remember the season, as we had matching Valentine aprons, and had our pictures taken together in front of the orange tree with a basket full of home grown oranges.
In later years, when she was living with her daughter, and we had some time to drive around to visit other relatives, she let out that she may not have agreed on religion with one of her other siblings.
She did not seem to hold it against my Mom for converting to Catholicism, but came to her funeral in 1955. They drove for four days to spend time with my Mom in the hospital. So now they are all gone, the seven sisters and two brothers. I only have a shoebox of photos and a red album of memories from the 1920’s to show my children and grandchildren.