Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Uncles/Aunts (04/17/08)
TITLE: My Aunt Marion
By Martha Ford
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Like the time she called to tell me she found a car that I could afford. Working in the financial office at a large bank she knew about reposed vehicles before the public did. She already had the paper work filled out and approved. All I had to do was sign on the dotted line. Since I was driving a car with no heater in one of the coldest winters on record, I signed on that dotted line as soon as I could get to the bank.
Then there was the Christmas I didn’t have presents for my children: at least none that I hadn’t made for them myself. Aunt Marion was working extra at a large retail toy store so she could buy her children’s gifts without going into debt. She requested I bring my kids to see her at the store and let them “window” shop since she knew I couldn’t buy anything. Then she took us to get hamburgers after she finished that evening. Christmas Eve, while visiting with all my extended family, Marion gave me three large, wrapped boxes and told me to place them under my tree for Christmas morning. Next day my kids opened those packages that held the items they had identified while pretend shopping at Aunt Marion’s second job. She was Santa Clause as well as the Wizard!
Marion had seven children, my cousins, so she had lots of hand-me-downs. She shared them with my children. She lived next door to my mother but it was she that baby set when I could get extra work. I’d leave the kids with Mother and pick them up from Aunt Marion’s. The kid’s never wanted to leave. I never wanted to leave either. When my son had surgery she kept my girls and found the time and energy to visit us in the hospital 30 miles away.
When I needed a place to rent she found a large, clean house in a good neighborhood for $125 a month. The owner just wanted someone to live in the house while he was out of the country. My next-door neighbor was a policeman Marion knew and who looked out for us as she probably expected he would. I never felt so protected and safe since I had been alone with my children.
She never forgot my birthday, always had a smile on her face and a giggle in her voice. I don’t know how I would have survived during those years without her: certainly not as well as I did. Marion always accomplished what she set about doing. Instead of telling me “it’s impossible” she was captain of my cheerleading squad, cheering me on and celebrating my successes. Her attitude towards life permeated my own, making her directly responsible for improving my family’s circumstances.
Marion’s all that’s left of my mother’s generation. We still talk but haven’t seen each other for many years. In my mind’s eye she is forty-something with sandy colored, curly hair cut short to accentuate the freckles that pepper her rosy cheeks set above a wide, toothy grin. I know because there’s still a giggle in her voice.
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