Sunday, March 13, 2011

Aunts: Part Two

The other day I told you of my beloved Aunt Sis, the first-born of my Grandparents four daughters together. Today will be about the second-born daughter, named Phyllis. To the neices and nephews, though, she was always called Aunt 'Puddy.' From what I understand, she was dubbed this pet name when her youngest sister was learning to talk and couldn't say Phyllis properly. 'Puddy' she was, ever after.

Aunt Puddy was Mom's companion and probably 'best friend' while they were growing up. No one has said so, but I believe it was because there were only a few years between them, and greater distance between the other sisters. Anyway, they were 'thick as thieves' to coin a phrase. They were involved in the same church groups and double-dated in those years. They were married the same year, and Aunt Puddy was my mother's maid of honor. When I was going to join the family, so was Aunt Puddy's first son.

The two sisters remained close as the young mothers each raised three children, with me being the only girl among them. Aunt Puddy always had hoped for a little girl, but she was the Mom of all boys. She always said that if she had a little girl she would have named her Rebecca, after her grandmother (and her great-great grandmother too, as I have since discovered, though Aunt Puddy never knew that fact.) Rebecca was the middle name given to Aunt Sis, so that might have been another reason she liked it so much. Because she didn't have the chance to use her favorite name, I gave it as a middle name to my middle daughter...and since then, my granddaughter also was given the name as her first name. I'm sure Aunt Puddy would be pleased and would love each of those who bear the moniker.

Mom and Aunt Puddy accompanied each other to the American Legion auxilary meetings. They marched in holiday parades wearing their navy blue uniforms, with a red poppy on their lapels.
They went to weekly Bible studies together, learning even more how God would have them to live their lives. I was often a part of those meetings too, and though the women were a generation or more older than I was, as a young woman, I didn't feel out of place with them.

She had always been a good aunt to me. When I wanted to learn to paint, she said she'd help me, and she tried, but though her heart was in it, she hadn't learned a whole lot in her art classes. Truthfully, she wasn't very good at painting, but I was young, and I thought she was the best! Anyway, I appreciated her efforts in trying to help me, and liked spending that special time with her.

She really liked Shirley Temple movies, and sometimes she'd invite me to go to see one at the local theater. I don't know if she want me as company, thought I'd enjoy it too, or whether she would feel odd going to see a 'little girl' movie as an adult without a child with her! Anyway, I learned that I really liked those movies too, and have a number of videos, which I've shown again and again to my granddaughters, who enjoy them as much as we did in the theater.

Another entertainer that was a favorite of Aunt Puddy's was Elvis Presley. It was quite comical to me to watch her and Aunt Sis get all 'silly' over his movies or songs. Between the two of them, they had quite a collection of his records and they saw every movie he made. I liked him, but I was more interested in other artists than I was in him. However, if I was invited to see one of Elvis' movies with my aunt...or the two of them together...I'd gladly go.

Aunt Puddy was a Sunday School teacher and she got me involved in teaching a class, too, to little tiny three year olds. I don't know how much they learned, but it was a good beginning for me in sharing God with others. Each Sunday morning she would come to pick me up and drive me to the Session House, where we'd separate and go off to teach the children, her class a few years older than mine was.

When I was engaged to be married, it was Aunt Puddy who opened her home to friends and family, giving a bridal shower in my honor. When I was expecting the arrival of our first baby, once again she gave a party, showering me with beautiful, tiny garments and gifts for the new member of the family. She was so excited to have a baby girl to cuddle and love. I didn't disappoint her...I gave her four baby girls to love ...and a son.

A few months after my second child was born, Aunt Puddy became a grandmother to her own little girl! Oh, there was never a baby like that one...but she did not forget mine. She seemed to love them almost as much as her own grandchild. She ended up with another granddaughter and a grandson, too. She didn't get to spend as much time with them as she would have liked to, because she worked full-time in the office of a building contractor and land developer.

There came a time when my aunt needed to have surgery which would require her to take some time for recuperation. She invited me to take over for her while she was unable to work. It went well, and everyone seemed happy with the arrangement, despite the circumstances. When she was well again, she took her job back, and I got back to the business of caring for my children again, with a few dollars extra in the household. Sometime later, I worked at her job again. This time she didn't go back.

She had cancer...but I was not aware of it at the time. She didn't want anyone to know, and so I have no idea how long she had it before she entered the hospital at the end. It seemed that she wasn't there long before she faded away and went to be with her Lord at the age of sixty-two.