Saturday, March 19, 2011

Aunts: Part Four

There was one more aunt in the family. She was my father's sister. Our familiess lived only five or six miles from each other, but we rarely saw each other. Aunt Esther was eleven years older than my father, and she married young, so they had little time to get to know one another as children. Her first three children were born within a few short years, and  she was busy with them, while Daddy was growing up. His neices were born when he was a young boy and I don't imagine he had a great deal of interest in girl babies when they would visit.

What I knew of Aunt Esther, I liked, but I must admit that I didn't know her very well. She would come to visit us occasionally while I was growing up. She was soft spoken, kind and she reminded me of my grandmother, her mother. In her middle age, the same year that two of her daughters gave her the first two grandchildren, Aunt Esther had her son. With the first part of the family being 14 years or so older than I was and the last child being a good bit younger and a boy to boot, I didn't know those cousins well either, when I was a young girl. However, as I grew older, I got to know them, and their children better and am in contact with some of them via Facebook. Those are the children of my older (first) cousins who have passed away. Their brother is still alive, never married, and has no children.

I digress. Aunt Esther was built much the way my grandmother was. She had the features of the Case family too. The last time I saw her, she was beautiful at 79 years old, with snowy white hair, like my grandmother's sisters had. Aunt Esther always had thick gray hair with enough wave so that she never needed to put a curler in it. I've determined that she and Daddy both got their wavy hair from Grandma, as Grandpa's hair was thin and poker straight.

This aunt of mine was as talented as the aunts on Mom's side, but in a different way. She was able to draw and paint quite well. I've determined that she and Dad both got that talent from Grandma, as well. I don't have any idea whether Grandpa had an artistic bone in his body, but Grandma drew pictures and painted with me, so I know that she did. When Aunt Esther had free time, she painted boats, the ocean. Things that she knew and things that she loved.

The ocean was dear to her. Her home was near enough so that she could hear the ocean if the wind was right. She spent much time walking on the beach, and when the weather was right, she swam in the strong sea. If the sea was too wild, she would opt for swimming in the bay. She knew them both well, and enjoyed them both.

I wish I had one of her paintings of the sea. It would hang in a special place in my home, but her son, and grandchildren too, will not part with her work for love nor money. I don't blame them, and hold no ill toward them for their decision. Still, it doesn't not quench my desire for one. When she died, in 1997 I believe, there were many of her painting surrounding the casket. It seemed a fitting send off, her family thought, to surround her with her precious art work.

Whenever I see the ocean in Amagansett, I cannot help but think of Aunt Esther, and wonder how it would have been if I had known her better. What would I have learned of her, of my grandparents and my father, had I had a chance to visit with her often? I can only imagine, and I'm left to wish that I had known that part of my family more intimately.

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