Aunt Helen used to spend some weekends at her grandparents’ home when she was young. When she did, she’d go with her cousin, Naida. Some weekends Aunt Helen and Naida would go, some weekends Aunt Catherine and Carol would go. It was sort of a double tag team cousin kinda thing.
I don’t really remember my great grandparents. Great Grampop Thomas went to California in 1963, four years before I was born. Great Gramma Mary Elizabeth followed in 1973 when I was six. I have only the vaguest of recollections of her and her cookie jar, in the upstairs half of their duplex that smelled overpoweringly of cedar. I’ve always loved that smell. Nobody else seems to remember that, though.
Before moving to North Carolina, I happened to rent half a duplex from my boss in a little town called Horsham. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was two blocks from my Great Grandparents’ home. The one that smelled of cedar and had a cookie jar and a red and white checkered tablecloth on the kitchen table. My Pop pointed it out to me just after I moved in. It’s smaller than I remember. I guess that’s because I was just shorter then. I wonder what happened to the big cabinet stereo. There was music without words playing on it back then. I didn’t know there was music without words, but I liked it.
Carol went to California in 1982. Breast Cancer got her. Aunt Catherine went to California just before Christmas in 2000. Breast Cancer got her, too. With Aunt Helen so very sick and packing her traveling things now, Aunt Mary has been trying to touch base with Naida, to let her know. She’d want to know.
Actually, Aunt Mary’s been trying to touch base with her for a few years, but that’s a story for another day. We hadn’t heard from Naida since about the time Aunt Catherine made her cross continental journey. I’d been wanting to meet her just to chat about her part of the family. In our little branch, I’m the armchair genealogist. I have the interest, and I’m the only one with the time, really.
Well, Aunt Mary finally got word back today.
It seems the grim reaper has gotten rather friendly with my family the last few years. Of course she’s not been visiting death on our family any more than any other, but it sure seems like the funerals are getting closer and closer together.
It may be that I’m just older and know more family members now than I used to, or it may be that I’m just more aware of such things being the unofficial family record keeper. Whatever the reason, she’s starting to remind me of a shark, circling closer and closer to me, just waiting for the right moment. She’s got very big teeth.
As I mentioned, Aunt Mary got a little note in the mail today. Naida died. July 31, 2007. Last week. She’d apparently spent her final years in Arizona with kids or grandkids, which is why we couldn’t reach her. As far as we knew, she was still in Pennsylvania.
At least she didn’t have far to travel to California.
Safe journey, Naida.
From whence came the art: