Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Aunt Beth 1983

My mother's older sister by ten years and a twin, Aunt Beth lived in Colorado Springs with her husband and two daughters.  When my mother was a teenager, she would spend summers with Aunt Beth and her family and I know those visits were islands of happiness for her. Aunt Beth continued to be in my life throughout my childhood and adult years.  Once her husband died, with her daughters grown, she would often stop to visit while escaping the Colorado winters on her yearly trips to and from Arizona . She was a chain smoker and loved to talk.  I took this photograph of her while she was visiting me at my  home in Phoenix.  I wouldn't let her smoke inside, so she would go out on the porch when she needed to light up, which was often.  With the eternal cigarette dangling from her mouth, she would talk to me though the screen door, the screen inches from her face, never missing a beat.

The best thing I inherited from my Aunt Beth was her writing style.  She would write my mother long letters, terribly spelled, no punctuation to speak of, always typed and my mother would read them aloud to us as soon as they arrived.  I loved the letters.  They were streams of consciousness that let us see inside her mind--the mind of a lively and curious woman with lots to say.  Her letters taught me that it was important to say what mattered,  without fear of judgement, censorship, punctuation, or spelling.

She died of emphysema, claiming with her last breathe that it was the depletion of the ozone layer that caused her not to be able to breath--nothing to do with her multiple pack a day habit.  About 8 months later her twin followed, falling down the basement stairs while visiting her niece.  The only explanation we had for why she would have gotten up in the middle of the night and tried to go down those particular stairs was that Beth, missing her beloved sister, had finally lost patience and just beamed her up.

4 comments:

  1. Thank Holly! I love this.
    I too had special Aunts and can't imagine my life without them.
    Your writing, thanks to Aunt Beth or otherwise, is perfect.
    You let me slip in seamlessly and enjoy your relationship and Aunt Beth's personality!
    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. What a great lady and role model (except the smoking). I love the writing and can see her through it, vividly Thanks..Ginger Birdsey (I was a student with you at Arrowmont)

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  3. Our version of Beth was Aunt Alice. I love the random stories that accompany your paintings. Sometimes odd, always interesting.

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