Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Daze - y

A little over an hour ago, after a 35-minute conversation, I replaced my telephone back in it's base, stood very still and quiet for a few seconds, then at the top of my lungs I yelled, "Oh! My! God!"

Then....just dazed. Amazed. Stunned. Touched. Dumbfounded. Calm.

It was sorta weird. My cousin and I don't know each other at all. She doesn't remember visiting our family when we were children. Understandable since she was only about two years old at the time. That was 58 years ago.

I have no concept of how long they visited - a week or two, maybe longer. I remember vignettes from their visit.

My parents moved all five of us girls into one bedroom and arranged the newly emptied bedroom to accommodate my uncle (my Dad's brother), my aunt and my two cousins.

Aunt Donna would give my cousin Maxine a bath nearly every morning. It always amazed my 7-year old self, since we only took weekly baths.

My mother was a mediocre cook at best and by comparison, my Aunt Donna was an amazing cook. I loved watching her in the kitchen because she seemed to really like being there, even cleaning up. My fondest memory was her Prune Whip. I'd never had anything like it in my whole seven-year-life. She boiled prunes until they were very soft, mashed them to a pulp, then mixed them with sweet whipped cream. I can taste it to this day. Oddly enough, I've never made it.

Before bedtime, Uncle Lyle would sit on the bed with Aunt Donna and their 2-year old and 4-year old girls and talk to them before Aunt Donna put them to bed. I stood hiding behind the door jamb of my bedroom across the hall and watched the nightly ritual, envious of the relationship they had with their father and mother.

Wow...and the conversation. Sandy called from her mom's house, my Aunt Donna's. She's visiting her mom in Montana, helping to renovate her basement. We talked about the year since my uncle died, families, grandkids, family history - what we remember and what we don't. Then I talked to my aunt.

When I heard Aunt Donna's voice, I almost cried. It sounded exactly as I remembered - young, happy, vibrant with that distinct Minnesota accent - even though she is well into her 70's. She's sending more photos. I can't wait.

I learned more about my grandmother. She died in 1955 from a brain tumor. I was nine. I learned a little about her ancestry - Scandinavian and Pawnee Indian. I have the information to contact my dad's only remaining sibling and I'm hoping she will fill in the gaps.

This adventure has just begun.

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