Growing up, a picnic with the “immediate family” would be around 60 people. There were always a lot of kids. Lots!
I only have one surviving aunt and she was 100 years old last week.
Growing up with lots of family around was great. We didn’t lock doors because aunts and uncles lived on the same block. One cousin taught me how to drive a car and another to ride a bike.
Women didn’t work so there was always someone around to see what you didn’t want them to see. Anyone could scold you and that was ok. No one threatened to sue anyone or accused them of anything. In fact parents were grateful that other relatives cared enough to correct.
Those were very different times.
I had two favorite aunts among the group – my Aunt Hilda (my mother’s younger sister) and my Aunt Rose (my father’s younger sister). There were other aunts but I wasn’t as close to them.
My Aunt Rose died many years ago after a bout with Alzheimer’s disease. It was insidious as she didn’t know anyone at the end. She didn’t have any children but she was lucky to be taken care of by two of my wonderful cousins.
My last surviving aunt is Aunt Hilda. I have really fond memories of her and my Uncle George (her husband) as a child. I remember a very special shopping trip to buy a dress for Easter. It came with lunch in the city! Yes, it was a small city but still a big deal for a little kid from the country.
There was a road trip to Niagara Falls and lots of soda. My Uncle George worked for one of the large soda companies. She was a great baker so there was always good food.
There were Easter baskets and gifts at birthdays and holidays. Even more important than the gifts, was the sense of family that she gave me. She reminds me of my mother in that way.
There was an article about her in our newspaper with this photo. She is so beautiful! I hope to be as beautiful as she is — inside and out but mostly inside!