Growing up, my Aunt Rosie lived 4 houses down the street. Her house was my get away. The quaint yellow house became my learning playground. Crocheting, rummy, sewing, and the art of laughter. The sound of a good belly laugh seemed to pull me down the street and into a vinyl 1950s seat. Soon with a glass of Hawaiian Punch in one hand and a deck of cards in the other, my lessons would begin. She passed away shortly after seeing my high school graduation and I never got to tell her how influential those days were.
Our little Miss E, now in first grade, has developed a unique, memorable laugh. It’s a good thing in her short educational path that she’s experienced teachers appreciative of her giggly, rolling laugh. Aunt Rosie would be proud. When pregnant with E, I longed to give her a part of Aunt Rosie’s name as a tribute for her shaping my life. None made the cut. Little did I know, that she’s still around. Just hidden in my daughter’s sweet sassy laugh. Aunt Rosie would surely be chuckling at the little spitfire and I’m sure they would have tight.
A direction change – The task for my students this week is to write about a significant artifact. Describing an object important to his/her life. This year I’m attempting to write alongside the class and show a writer in action. I do think of myself as a strong writer nor do I call myself a writer. More than likely I fall into a “thought layer”. I view my writing as laying my thoughts down. But now I’ve digressed.
Back to Aunt Rosie. A year before her passing, she started the process of labeling her most precious items for her nieces, nephews, brother, and sister. See Aunt Rosie never married, so the nieces and nephews were her children. She had a small hand held labeler with bright red tape. I spent some weekends following her and labeling the goods. It was some of my most memorable days with her. Aunt Rosie filled me with history; of our family, the cherished pieces, and of her life. For items too small to label, she told who was to receive the goods. At the end of our adventure, I was to pick a treasure. Roaming around, I saw her sewing machine, where I first learned to craft doll clothes. No I couldn’t pick that. The machine was Aunt Rosie, I couldn’t imagine sewing without her by my side. Instead I chose a large, beautiful cedar chest. Today it holds doll clothes she once made for my Cabbage Patch kid, quilts crafted by hand, and many crocheted pieces big and small. My label still remains inside.
For helping sift through the house, she commented look around and find something else. As a newly minted driver, I had my heart set on her cinnamon brown car. That car, like the sewing machine, was Aunt Rosie! I vacationed to Traverse City in the back seat. I rode shot gun to my brother’s basketball games. Many memories lingered in the seats and smells. I wanted that car. My name, on the candy apple tape, was stuck in the glove box. It was still in there when the car was sold to my older cousin after my Aunt’s passing. No one wanted to listen a teenager’s teary plea. With the car, Aunt Rosie’s laughter and smell was gone.
I cannot recapture her smell that always seemed to calm my fears and warm my heart, but I’ve found the laughter. It’s living inside a sweet six year old who I tuck in every night under Aunt Rosie’s crocheted petal pink and white afghan. And I know that her spirit lingers on.