We were starting to settle in at the Aunts house even though it was a bit strange not being in our regular beds at night. The days were going smoothly as we were used to getting up for school, eating breakfast and rushing off. Anna and I usually walked together with the younger ones trailing behind. We had a hot lunch at school consisting of a sandwich and soup, most days it was vegetable soup. Our lunches were paid for by one of the charitable organizations from the Church.
We usually got home about 3:30pm and were told what to have for a snack beforehand, by Aunt Alice of course. She had the snacks on a shelf in the pantry. Since Anna was the oldest, she doled out the snacks. Then we would go out in the backyard and play for while, usually until the Aunts got home from work.
Aunt Wynne and Aunt Anna got home first since they worked in the Silk Mill and started early. They always had a funny smell about them when they came home from work. The smell lingered on them even after they bathed and changed clothes. The smell was from the raw silk that they worked with, Mother told us. Aunt Alice came home a bit later but still early enough to make sure we did our homework and cleaned out room. She was constantly correcting us. Aunt Anna and Wynne were pretty easygoing and they would let us do pretty much what we liked to do. Of course they insisted on us getting the homework done also but at least they weren’t always correcting everything we did.
Aunt Wynne was funny and always seemed to be in a good mood. She would play games with us and tell us funny stories, sometimes the stories were not what children should be hearing. So of course, she was our favorite Aunt. One story I remember her telling us was around Christmas and as usual, we didn’t have much or any money for toys or gifts. Aunt Wynne was visiting and in an effort to help Mother, she told us that Santa had been arrested and that we wouldn’t be getting any gifts or toys that year. Now Anna was twelve years old and didn’t believe in Santa and I at ten years old was still wavering and could go one way or the other. But the younger ones immediately burst into tears and would not be consoled. Mother had to take Aunt Wynne aside and tell her not to say things like that to the children. Of course that didn’t stop Aunt Wynne except maybe for a little while. She remained her fun-loving, irreverent, over the top person she had always been.
Aunt Anna was a different sort of person. She was a quiet, keep to herself woman of few words. When she did have something to say, it was blurted out with no care of what anyone thought. This did not always sit well with whoever she was addressing, although she did manage to keep her job and was a good employee. We kids liked her but with reservations because we never knew what she was going to say.
So it was into this environment that we were thrust for a period of time that was uncertain.
To be continued.