Saturday, March 2, 2013

Remembering My Dear Aunt Frances


Farewell to Thee! But not farewell
To all my fondest thoughts of Thee;
Within my heart they still shall dwell
And they shall cheer and comfort me.
Life seems more sweet that Thou didst live
And men more true Thou wert one;
Nothing is lost that Thou didst give,
Nothing destroyed that Thou hast done.
Anne Bronte (1820 - 1849)

Last Saturday morning, after a fairly short illness, my dear Aunt Frances died.   In the last eight years my mother, father, and my Uncle Jack have died. Aunt Frances, my mother's only sister, was the last of her generation on my mother's side. Our family matriarch is now gone.  There will never be another one like her!

Months ago, Tom and I had decided that we would visit my aunt on the Eastern Shore of Virginia after visiting Tom's father in Florida.  However, as Aunt Frances' health declined, we decided to visit her before going to Florida.  So two weeks ago we drove to the Eastern Shore.  Boy, are we glad that we changed our plans!  Had we waited, our visit would not have been possible.

I have so many fond memories, both as a child and later as an adult with my own family, of visiting my aunt and uncle. What fun times we had when we were all together!  I have spent some time today going through all photos and slides trying to find some photos of my aunt.

The first photo is one Aunt Frances sent me a couple of months ago.  She is on the left, and my mother is on the right.  Mother was only 1 year and 20 days older.

I don't know how old the girls were in the next photo.  My mother is the one on the left.  You can see how Aunt Frances had outgrown my mother in just a few years, just like my younger sister and me. 

Here is a photo from one of our trips with our children to visit my aunt and uncle.  Here they are with our son who was about 9, our daughter who was around 13, and me.  (I hope my children don't "kill" me when they see this photo.  Look at Stephen and those short shorts and skinny legs! I don't know what is going on with my nose--it looks like I'm wearing a red clown nose, but I'm not.  Perhaps it is part of that dirty slide.)

Hmm--another dirty slide that I couldn't get clean, but I wanted to show you a photo of my uncle and aunt with my father and mother.  (The spots on my mother's face are really dirt on the slide and not on her.)

I love this photo of my aunt and two of my cousins.  They always seemed to have so much fun when together.

And here is Aunt Frances just a few months ago with her two oldest great-grandchildren who also live on the Eastern Shore.  There are two more great-grandsons who live in Minnesota.  A fifth one, Jack, was born just 19 days before my aunt's death.  How wonderful that she was able to meet him and hold him!  A sixth great-grandchild, a little girl, is due soon.  All of these children are descendants not only of my aunt, but also of Mrs. Waddelow.

Aunt Frances loved to cook, but I don't think she could sew on a button or hem a skirt.  How she loved to cook and serve huge meals!  One time when we were visiting, she offered pecan pie for dessert.  Since we were full after a typical very large meal, we said no, we would have it later.  As we were getting ready to leave the next morning, Aunt Frances remembered that we had forgotten to have any pie.  To appease her, Tom said he would put it in his suitcase, which he did!  I've never heard of anyone else putting a pie in his suitcase, have you?

She was also very entertaining.   I loved to hear her tell stories.   I just wish I could remember some of the ones she told when she came to Cincinnati for our daughter's wedding.  We were almost rolling on the ground with laughter.  You always knew you would have a great time if Aunt Frances was around.

When we would visit, we would go off for long rides to explore.  She would tell Tom that he was taking her to places she had never seen even though she had lived on the  Shore all of her life. 

I'm so glad that we were able to have a very good visit with my aunt last April.  She told me family stories that I had never heard before, and we spent some time looking at old photos from when my grandparents were children.  And yes, we went off exploring some more.

Aunt Frances, we love you and miss you!!


Giovanna said...

My condolences to you and your family for this sad loss. What a lovely tribute to a lovely lady.

Annette-California said...

Oh Ellen you wrote a very very loving tribute to a remarkable lady. My condolences to you and your family. I love all the stories & photos you shared with us. I did laugh at your description of your sons skinny legs. Oh I think you will get some feed back from him:)
love Annette

C Street Samplerworks said...

What wonderful memories you have of your dear Aunt Frances! Sending along a big hug to you and your family, Ellen.

Peace & Love,

Marsha said...

So sorry to hear of your Aunt's passing but so glad you have good memories of her. My younger sister is much taller than me too. I love hearing family stories.

Marilyn said...

My condolences to you and your family Ellen.
She looks like a great lady, and glad you have fond memories of her.
Take care.

Margaret said...

I'm so sorry for your loss of your dear Aunt. I loved reading all about her and seeing the wonderful pictures as well. I can hear the love in your stories about her. I'm so glad you got to visit her before she died. Lots of hugs.

Jackie said...

Thank you for sharing your memories of your aunt, she sounds like a remarkable woman indeed. I love the photos you've shared - especially the two of your aunt and mom as children. Thinking of you and your family and sending you a hug.

Barb said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You have so many wonderful memories and your tribute to her was wonderful. What a full life she had. The photos are priceless.

Nicola said...

I am so sorry Ellen, we buried my Aunt this week at 97 years of age.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories of Frances.

Vickie said...

I am sorry for your loss. You have written a loving tribute.

diamondc said...

Ellen: How lucky you are to have such a wonderful and loving Lady in your life, she is positively beautiful.
Blessings to you and your family in this loss.

Charlene ♥ SC said...

You and the family are in my thoughts for the loss of your special loved one. These wonderful memories and many others I'm sure, will always fill your hearts with love for your dear aunt.

JoAnn said...

Ellen: What a beautiful Mother and Aunt you had. What fond memories you will be able to pass on to your Grandchildren.

The one subject you wrote about your Aunt that surprised me was "she didn't stitch". How could that be? Also, did the pecan pie survive the trip home in the suitcase?

Natasha said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It is so good to know that you were able to make that last visit. What happiness it must have put in her heart to see you!

Sending many ((HUGS)) to you!

The Inspired Stitcher said...

Oh Ellen, I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like Aunt Frances will live on in infamy through the wonderful memories you have of her. She sounds like she was quite a character.

valerie said...

Oh Ellen, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your dear Aunt Frances. She sounds like an amazing woman and you have many fond memories and great photos of her. My condolences to you and your family.

Stitcher S said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dear aunt. I came upon your blog through visiting other stitchers' blogs, and I was touched to read this poignant tribute. I too have thought lately about how many people I've seen pass away in the past several years. It's sad and difficult. She was a blessing to so many, what a wonderful legacy.