My Aunt Carolyn

My Aunt Carolyn died today, at age 80. She was the best aunt anyone could ever hope to have.

My Aunt Carolyn

*Laughed. A LOT.

*Told me that if I ate bread crusts, my hair would turn curly. She got my cousin Carrie to nod in agreement too, and point to her curly hair. That’s my first memory of Aunt Carolyn, and of Carrie.

*Love love loved to read, loved to talk about what she read and what I was reading, and is part of the reason I became a librarian.

*Would get all of the 10 kids at a family gathering each started on doing a task to get dinner ready, while not missing a beat of the adult conversation and sipping a cocktail.

*Took us for rides in her convertible.

*Wrote letters–interesting, chatty, funny letters in a handwriting that was unique to her.

*Never let people slip out of her life, even after divorce and death changed family relationships.

*Was my dad’s big sister, so she could tease him and boss him around. My dad!

*Let me come stay with her for spring break my senior year, when I was high school yearbook editor. She went to work and I laid on her couch and read, and then she would come home and chat and have family over, and I healed from a year of intense stress.

*Bought me my first legal drink, in the state of Michigan where the drinking age was 18. Kahlua and Cream…mmmm.

*Took our tiny, shabby family cabin and transformed so that although it was still tiny, it looked out onto the woods and brought the outdoors in.

*Always remembered the names of my sons’ favorite stuffed animals.  “Hello, Iain. How is Splarchy?” “Hello, Alexander—how is Fing-Fong doing?” she would say.

*Showed me that if you cut an apple the right way, there’s a star inside.

*Had squash parties with her family so that everyone who was born in the fall got a birthday party together, where everyone had to bring squash.

*Even handled a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s with grace, and laughter.

*Got a tattoo of Picasso’s dove when she turned 80.

*Is gone too soon.

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