It’s time for a story about my aunt Nancy. Aunt Nancy has brown hair. This is important because the other five sisters have blonde hair or the appearance of it anyway. Although, my own mom’s hair is now a silky gray color which incidentally looks very nice. The Aunt Nancy I remember visiting as a young girl was a mailman lady person. She lived on a tree-lined street in a house that felt warm and cozy while also managing to feel impressive. It was filled with dark colors and items that were from a culture I was not familiar with. I’m not sure if these were items she had found while traveling or what. I was only about eight or so years old, and other than my own house which had a lot of paintings and nicknacks from my parents’ time living in Europe, I mainly only saw houses filled with regular items like a lamp bought at a department store in the mall or a figurine bought at a boutique.
Anyway, in her backyard my Aunt Nancy was growing a ton of plants, mostly herbs. To this day I still have a clear image of that garden. The plants’ growth seemed to be chaotic, but yet after Aunt Nancy took us around to smell and touch several of them, I realized how organized it actually was. I especially remember the catnip she picked and gave to the cats. I had the oddest, magical feeling when we cooked marshmallows over the fire in the backyard. Fire in the backyard? I usually only experienced camp fire feelings when I was camping, and they were always coupled with climbing out of a dew filled tent in the middle of the night to stumble into the pitch blackness and pee while putting the coyote sounds I heard earlier out of my mind.
Anyway, I was wearing overalls that night.
Just because Aunt Nancy went out of her way to give Erika and me a special vacation away from our Mom and Dad centered world, doesn’t mean I didn’t find a way to be unhappy. Having temper tantrums isn’t uncharacteristic for a kid, but I think I was an odd child. I know I felt odd. When I informed my mom that I’m aware of being weird, she laughed and said, “Oh come on Emily, stop kidding yourself; you’re normal.” I should have been comforted, but I was just disappointed. When you feel weird, you’d rather it be affirmed, so you don’t have to begin thinking that your feeling weird is weird, making you feel as though either you or everyone else is wrong.
I digress, so at Aunt Nancy’s house I was unhappy at some point. I do not recall why, but what I do remember is that to let out my intense anger, I stepped on my baby dolls head causing it to cave in. As soon as I deformed her in this way, I was horrified. My stomach dropped and I immediately forgot about my anger, feeling only an intense sadness and guilt. My baby doll was my prized possession. Other than a brown maker spot that somehow appeared on her head and became, with a concerted effort on my part, an accepted birth mark, she was kept in excellent condition. I never took out my anger on her or abused her in any way until that day.
I couldn’t get her head to pop back out. I’m pretty sure I ran to my Aunt Nancy with horrified eyes. Or maybe I was balling my eyes out and she came to my rescue. Anyway, Aunt Nancy fixed the head, and the baby looked exactly the same as before. Phew, life could go on.
Thanks Aunt Nancy, baby doll savior and magical house extraordinaire.
This is a photo taken about eight years after my vacation to Aunt Nancy’s house. She married Ian when I was in junior high, and I specifically remember that all of us cousins forced him into a very tight space, could perhaps be called a closet, during the reception of their wedding in order to grill him on how well he knew the family. We told him it was a test, and he would only be allowed to marry our Aunt Nancy if he passed; apparently we didn’t fully understand the importance of the order of wedding events. Anyway, we were all a little disappointed when he didn’t even stumble in the slightest. He feigned complete confidence and acted as though this interrogation had been scheduled weeks in advance. But now that we know him better, we are fully aware that his ability to hide his true feelings is just one of his many talents. I just KNOW his armpits were sweaty when we asked him how many kids our grandma and grandpa have.
P.S. The next post is new also