Saturday, August 13, 2011

Aunt Gertrude

This picture, taken four years ago, shows Cliff's late mother's sisters.  The one in the middle, Aunt Faye, has gone to her eternal home; I often see her mentioned in her granddaughter's blog.  She is not forgotten.  On the left you see Aunt Lois; Cliff has pleasant childhood memories of spending Thanksgiving Days at her house, eating food fit for a king.  
On the right is Aunt Gertrude.  If you go to her house Monday through Friday, you're liable to see her with a kid on her lap; because in spite of the fact that she's in her eighties, she babysits three or four kids regularly, and sometimes more.  These days she is babysitting children of some of the people who were her charges when they were babies.  
I learned very early on in my marriage that when you visit Versailles, you go to Aunt Gertrude's house before you see anybody else; it's an unwritten law.  Cliff and I discussed this yesterday, and I think we finally figured out why.  
First of all, Cliff and his siblings love this woman more than you can imagine.  That's reason enough, I suppose.  
But the story goes back to Cliff's childhood. 
Cliff's parents were like oil and water; it's a wonder they stayed together "till death do you part", but they did.  However, once in awhile Cliff's mother, Melva, had all she could stand:  she'd gather up the kids, get on the train in Kansas City, and take them to visit Grandma, who lived in the same house as Gertrude and her husband.  
Melva told me herself, more than once, "Mommy would say, 'You made that bed, now you lay in it.'"  
Maybe that's why the marriage lasted... my mother-in-law was just minding her mother.  
Whenever Melva and the kids showed up at that house, they not only saw Grandma; they also saw Aunt Gertrude.  After Grandma Silvey died, they would still go to that same house any time they were in town.  They received good meals and lots of love there.  For kids who moved "every time the rent came due" as Cliff says, I'm sure there was a feeling of stability about that place.  Aunt Gertrude, or "Ainie" as they called her, never moved again after she married.  
By the way, Cliff and I can still get plenty to eat at that same house if we show up at dinner time, and the love still flows as freely as ever.  This week when we stopped to see her, she offered us some zucchini cake.  And iced tea, of course.  After her husband died, she never made coffee again.  
There are other strong ties to Aunt Gertrude:  She raised Cliff's older brother, for one thing.  
But the greatest force that draws Cliff and his siblings to her door is the love she has poured on her nieces and nephews throughout her life.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."


JustRex said...

Most of my family as squirrely as heck and tend to move around like gypsies. It must be nice to have somebody stable and loving like that you can count on.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I am very envious of that 80 year old still watching 3 or 4 children all the time. I love my grandbabes but my back doesn't like all the lifting required very well at all. My youngest two are right around a year old with 7 months separating them and I can barely keep up with them. I never have them both at the same time. One is enough for me.

Forty Pound Sack said...

what a beautiful story!

Paula said...

Love to hear your stories from the past.


My husband had an Aunt Gertrude too. It's a wonderful name. What a sweetheart yours is. Still babysitting at that age. And filling your plate with food when you stop to visit. The stability about that place with her in it made some wonderful memories for your family. Treasure them and her.

Your son said...

That was a good one mom!