My Aunt Wynne was a real dilly! There are other words that spring to mind but they are better left unsaid. My mother and Wynne were sisters and she would come to visit quite frequently. We kids ranged in ages from twelve down to five. There were four of us in all. We all liked Wynne mostly because she was a lot of fun and she always had a joke or story to tell us. A lot of which was something we should not be hearing, like swear words or sometimes titillating subjects, usually when my Mother was not around.
My Mother would chastise Wynne sometimes but it never bothered her and she would keep doing it and we would keep listening to her. Wynne didn’t listen very well especially when someone told her she could not do something. She was a flapper in the days when it was popular to be one. One time, she tried to teach us the Charleston but we never seemed to catch on. Occasionally, she would bring her current boyfriend and they usually brought goodies then, like ice cream or candy. That’s one of the reasons we liked her so much.
Wynne had a new boyfriend and she brought him to our house one time. He was a big, boisterous, Polish gentleman. His favorite food was potato pancakes which he would proceed to make whenever he came. They were one of the most delicious things I had ever tasted. Even today, I can make them without a recipe almost as good as he did.
He really made an impression on us kids and we looked forward to his visits. But alas, Wynne dropped him after going out for quite a while, much to our chagrin.
One Christmas which was particularly hard for us as Father had left us to go and stay with his Mother, leaving us in the lurch with no food or means to buy any. This seemed to be happening on a fairly regular basis. Since he had lost his job as a teacher and didn’t plan on looking for another job, we were pretty destitute. I suppose the responsibility was too great for him, supporting his family. So Mother was our only means of support and she had to take care of us kids.
Aunt Wynne, knowing that Mother was not going to be able to get us much or anything for Christmas, thought she was helping by telling us this story. It was only a few days before Christmas and like all kids we were expecting at least one present each.
So Wynne gathered us all around and began:
“You know kids, something bad has happened to Santa this year. The Police spotted him speeding in his car and they arrested him. So he is cooling his heels in jail right now and probably will be there through Christmas.
So sorry to say but Santa will not be able to deliver your presents this year.”
Tears started rolling down our faces, except twelve-year-old Anna, as she didn’t believe anymore. I was ten and beginning to waver but I still thought there may be a chance, so I was as devastated as the younger kids.
Just then mother came into the room and caught Wynne in the act and said to us, “Aunt Wynne was just kidding, Santa is not really in jail and you will still be getting a few presents although not many.”
We went to bed happy then and Aunt Wynne was banished from our house for a time. But over the years Aunt Wynne continued with her shenanigans and stories and while we never quite believed her anymore, it didn’t keep her from trying.