Among my fondest childhood memories is my Aunt's tiny
apartment. Snuggled cozily in the upper story of our family home, it was a fascinating departure from the routine of my daily life. I still have dreams of this quaint, quiet little hide-away.
Climbing the rigged, rubber-tread steps to “Auntie's World”, was a fun-fulled experience for any little girl, especially me!
An enormous amount of books stood on a ledge at the peak of the stairway. These were a series of “Uncle Wiggly” books. “Uncle Wiggly” was a very wise rabbit. My aunt had collected these books during the years that my brother, sister, and I were growing up.
Walking through the corridor that lead to her bedroom, I felt as if I were going back in time. Suddenly there was a wall filled with pictures and mementos of her childhood. Her parents' pictures hung side by side. These two people were my grandparents whom I never knew. Grandmother was so very solemn that I secretly wondered if she ever smiled. The straight and stern look of my Grandfather gave him the appearance of being quite angry.
A tin container, resembling an old canteen, was placed beneath my Grandparents' pictures. This old relic had been my aunt's baby bottle.
Entering her bedroom, I continued to feel as if I was in a different era. An antique mantel clock was perched majestically on top of the dresser. It erupted hourly with a chime that “bonged” so loud, it vibrated the entire upper story.
Sharing a place next to the clock was an old wooden jewelry box. This box contained two rings which I would often try on my fingers. One ring had a thick gold band with a brilliant red stone, cut to the shape of a diamond. The other was silver, accented with a huge round green stone. I would often pretend that I was a beautiful queen with precious jewels which I, of course, would have to place on my fingers.
The kitchen was probably my favorite room. The bold black and white checkered floor creaked lazily as “Auntie” walked back and forth preparing a meal. A big old-fashioned white porcelain sink adorned one wall. On the opposite wall, was a tiny
refrigerator and cooking stove. In order to produce a flame for cooking, the burner of the stove had to be lit with a match.
No one in the whole wide world could fry eggs as flawless as my “Auntie”. A tantalizing, mouth-watering aroma filled the entire upper level as she fried those eggs in her old iron skillet. The yolks of the eggs were cooked to perfection, and the whites were smooth and silky like white satin cloth.
Many times during the summer, my Aunt and I would sit and eat a picnic lunch on her porch. The modest lunch was prepared by Auntie and placed on lap trays so we could sit and admire the view of the backyard from up above. It was fun to watch the birds in the cherry tree, or my Father weeding his tomato garden. I sometimes imagined that I was in an airplane looking down on everything and everybody.
Indeed, this unique little place had an enormous affect on my life. Here was where much of my spiritual life was molded. My Aunt spent many hours teaching and encouraging me.
Many years have elapsed since I visited with this remarkable lady in her neat little apartment. She died when my children were very young. Although she does not live in this life on earth anymore, I know she is in a much better place. She will always remain in my heart, as will the memory of happy times in that quaint little hide-away.
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