This is my aunt Mary, my mom’s sister. She passed away peacefully last night, though her health had been failing for some time.
At a time when women were running more homes than businesses, she owned a beauty parlor in a part of Buffalo that was beautiful itself back then, but is no longer.
She cut my hair there when I was little. I cut my own hair many times too, much to her bemusement.
She played piano, she sang in a choir. Her and her sister, my aunt Vi, were older then my mom, and protective. They approved of my dad.
She went on long voyages with my mom, Portugal, England, Greece, Italy. She was world wise. She had many suitors, but she never married. I never asked her why.
When she was older, I loved being at her house. Even as a bored, defiant teenager, I loved playing cards with her. She made chicken noodle soup from scratch, and served it in old, chipped china and silver coated spoons. I can still taste the noodles, the salt, the metal from the spoons.
Her home smelled of flour and powder sugar and dough.
After her sisters had passed, and she was all that was left, she moved to a retirement home where she ruled the roost once again, fit and young and active… comparatively.
She didn’t expect to live as long as she did, into her 90s. She didn’t want to. She said so many times, wondering aloud in her old age why the heck she was still alive. Why was she allowed to live on? She wasn’t unhappy, mostly, but just shook her head and clicked her tongue as if to ask the heavens what was taking so long for her to join my mom and my grandmom.
It had been a while since I spoke to her, she refused to wear a hearing aid and you needed to shout. Always defiant! I wish now I had visited one last time, and gone hoarse if I had to.
She wasn’t famous. You’ve never heard of her, but she was decent and warm, and treated people with kindness and an open heart. I’m sure you would have liked her had you met.
This is my aunt Mary. She loved me and I her. Rest in peace, auntie.