The Suitcase Lady


January 15, 2008, 9:07 pm

A British author just wrote a book about the importance of aunts. I wish I had beat him to it.

I have been blessed with a trio of magnificent aunts, and they couldn’t have been more different personalities.

Aunt Jane was a nurse anesthesiologist who helped bring thousands of babies into the world. She never married, living with us all the years I was growing up. During World War II, Jane volunteered to serve and was sent to the South Pacific. She and her fellow Army Nurses (NOT WACS!) set up field hospitals right behind the front lines. When the bombers came over, she would haul her patients under the beds.

Aunt Jane was loved by the soldiers and the local people as well. One day an islander walked into the camp with a present for her… a live chicken!

My very stylish Aunt Vi also remained single. She was an office manager and an adventuresome traveler, crisscrossing America and Canada on the great trains of the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s.

Aunt Vi never learned to drive. One day when she was in her 80’s, Vi got a call from our local hospital that her brother had taken a serious turn for the worse. She immediately ran out of the apartment into the middle of her busy street causing all traffic to come to a screeching halt. Aunt Vi asked the first driver she saw to drive her to the hospital because “my little brother is dying.” The startled driver got her there in record time.

Aunt Peg married an Irishman and had six children. Her attitude toward life was simple and effective – get up, get working and keep smiling. Remarkably, she found spare time to become a first rate seamstress, upholsterer, community theater actress and unsurpassed thrift store shopper.

America has days set aside to honor mothers, fathers, grandparents and secretaries. I think a special day for our aunts is long overdue.

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