Wednesday, November 4, 2009
My great aunt Katherine (my mother's aunt, is that a great aunt? I used to know these things. Wow, the things you forget, as an adult!) passed away a few days ago & I feel a bit sad. I haven't seen her in many years, but I still remember summer trips to visit her, my aunt Dorothy, Uncle Pete & Peter & how much I liked their home in Illinois. My brother & I would go out into their backyard & catch fireflies. Most of the time they made us set them free, but we where usually allowed to observe them for awhile first. Of course, we always had to put holes in the jar, so the fireflies could 'breathe.' This was fun for us, since where we lived, California & Arizona, there weren't any fireflies, so these where unusual & maybe even exotic creatures. They where beautiful, when they lit up, at least from a distance & the science geek in me loved seeing the process up close.
One of the best things about their home was a full sized world map that covered one entire wall. I loved looking at all the different countries & thinking about what it would be like to visit, what the different cultures & lands where like. I don't think my brother was quite as fascinated with this, as I was, but we where about as opposite as two kids can get. I found a lot of things in their home interesting. I guess it was a simple home, but they had many unusual knick knacks & features that made it beautiful, to me at least.
Their home was in Illinois & I found the fields beautiful. When we visited Chicago, even though I had seen large cities before (LA, San Diego, San Francisco...) it had a feel all it's own & truly earned it's "Windy City" nickname. I loved the artwork in Chicago & this was my first taste of modern outdoor art.
I loved visiting my aunts, uncle & cousin, even if they weren't exactly aunts, uncles or cousins, because they where kind & interesting people. They had a home & not just a house. A couple of weeks ago my mother called me to tell me that they had moved Aunt Katherine into a nursing home & they didn't expect her to live much longer. The other day, my mother called again to say that Aunt Katherine had passed away. Now that she's gone, there's only one member of their little group left & that makes me a little sad. SAM