MY AUNT ANNA
My Aunt Anna was a no nonsense woman. From my earliest memories, that was the one thing that stood out. Anna didn’t mince words. Either she liked you or she didn’t and if she didn’t you were painfully aware of it. I knew she liked me. Probably because of the similarities in our dispositions. Strong and stubborn.
Anna never married and probably just as well, my Mother used to say. In an era where women either got married or were considered an old maid, she was the latter. Not that she didn’t have boyfriends although no one was breaking the door down to get to Anna. She had a steady man in her life when she was young.
That was Jim and they were together a lot. Jim was a quiet man, not unlike Anna herself. They would come to our house on Sundays and always bring ice cream or some other treat. So of course we kids liked them. They would usually sit and chat with my Mother while my sisters and I would polish off the treats. I always liked when they came, mostly for the treats. They would never stay very long and when they left my Mother would usually say, “they are a couple of strange ducks.” I never knew what that meant but I thought it wasn’t very good. But as long as they brought the treats I liked them.
Anna always talked in a gruff voice and had a strange sense of humor. She would laugh when no one else was laughing and she made a strange sound when she laughed. She did most of the talking when they were at our house and Jim would offer a grunt occasionally. Everyone in the family thought they would marry one day. She had a flat in the city and he lived with his mother, taking care of her in her old age. He was the typical Irish oldest son, taking care of Mother. Anna and Jim went on like this for some 20 years.
She would always say to me, “make sure you marry an Irishman!” Whereupon I would reply, “not if he was the last man on earth. No Irishmen for me!” I was referring of course to my Father who had left us high and dry when we were small children. Even so, Anna didn’t like it when I rejected the Irish men out of hand.
To be continued.