Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FOLD (10/08/15)
TITLE: Sweet Memories
By Judy Sauer
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As a young child, I lived with my Grandma Ovies and Aunt Angie from Monday morning until Saturday morning. Mom had three jobs, and four children. She was unable to care for us during the week because of her work schedules. We were almost placed into an orphanage because mom could not afford to take care of us. It would have been the easy way out but my Grandma and Aunt Angie told her there was no way they would let her do it.
Grandma Ovies was from Aviles, Spain. She lived in the Austurias region in northern Spain halfway between Portugal and France. She moved to Cuba with her two sisters in 1917 to be maids. They not only cleaned, but folded laundry as well. She learned in Spain how to fold sheets without wrinkles. That takes talent.
Grandma never spoke English, only Spanish. When we went to Soulard Market for groceries, I would hear her yell at the butcher. Neither communicated well since they spoke two different languages. She would point to the items in the butcher case that she wanted to purchase and held up her fingers for the amount. Pleasantly plump was Grandma’s size. It suited her. She was a sweet, dear lady who worked long, hard hours, and always wore a big apron with pockets.
Grandpa Ovies was an ice and coal man. He sold coal for furnaces and ice for the ice boxes. Back then, the ice boxes had a tray on the bottom to hold the block of ice, and kept the melted water contained. I was too young to really know him. He died when I was just past one year’s old.
Aunt Angie was always busy doing something. She hated seeing dirty dishes in the sink, and was frequently found washing the dishes, even Grandma’s, if she wasn’t fast enough. She went into the Women’s Army Air Corps during World War II just like her older sister, my Aunt Mary. While Aunt Mary was stationed in Europe during the war, Aunt Angie was stationed as a clerk typist in Florida.
At 92 years old, Aunt Angie’s memory slipped so much that her driving privileges were taken away. She hated to lost her independence. She taught water aerobics for more than 30 years to seniors at a nearby community indoor pool. That’s how she stayed so young. She always said she had more nerve than common sense. She made everyone feel welcomed, and she had a perpetual smile.
In her living room was a huge wall mirror-at least ten feet wide and five feet tall. She relished in doing height checks with me in the mirror because she wanted to ignore how much she had shrunk. I would bend my knees to be shorter so she could feel bigger. We always laughed afterwards.
She called me several times a week, and sometimes more than once a day. When she lost track of where her cell phone was located, she called. When she could not remember what illness she had, she called. She called for many reasons, and despite her retellings of the same stories, I heard them all at least fifty times or more, I never grew tired of her calls.
Aunt Angie enjoyed playing the Kings in the Corner card game. It was a form of Solitaire but different because it required at least two players. She loved to cheat, and win. We laughed when I called her out for cheating, When I spent time with her, and relived past memories, to include the years of my youth when she helped raise me, was a true blessing. Instead of saying she had gone out, there were times she said “fold” to mean the same thing. She was sharp as a tack playing the game, yet struggled to remember my name.
The phone rung. It was Aunt Angie. She lost her cell phone again.
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