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  • I don't really think Aunt Vera was eccentric. She wasn't. She was very down to earth. I think she thought I was later years. She would cock her head and look at me deeply and ask me what I believed in. She knew I was different and I think she was sincerely wondering. Especially at the end of her life, when she had cancer.

    Aunt Vera was a tiny lady with a humped over back. She worked many years in a factory. I think she had osteoporosis. She was married to Uncle Bob who was four times her size and who knew everything about everything. You know the type. My dad used to try to 'one up' him, just to get his goat. It didn't matter, Uncle Bob would just ramble on.
  • For Thanksgiving we would go to their house. They would set long tables in the basement for all the family members. This was when everyone still got together. The walls had built in fish tanks which kept the kids entertained while the adults talked.

    Aunt Vera would purchase a store bought cake that was lemon chiffon with lemon frosting and filling. It was so good! Not your traditional holiday fare. I think about that cake every year and think I should find one, but never do.
  • We would go to Aunt Vera's for Christmas Eve. They always had their tree up and it fascinated me. It was a small fake silver tree with spindly arms. The fun thing was they had this light plugged in that sat on the floor. It was a round disc with red, green, yellow, and blue glass and it would rotate and hit the tree with its lights so the tree would turn different colors. That was cool.
  • Every Christmas Eve we got to open one gift. The rest were opened Christmas morning. I always opened the one from Aunt Vera, as I knew it would be something quirky. One year it was a sweater dicky, without the sweater. I just looked at it and asked my mom what the heck it was. My mom would say to be gracious, ... Aunt Vera did the best she could.

    But there was the one year that even mom was speechless. I was sixteen and opening Aunt Vera's gift. I pulled it out of the box and it was a negligee. Yes, you heard that right! It was the most beautiful purple color with a lovely pink layer under that. The problem was the material. It was a sheer fabric, sort of like what little girls ballerina tutus are made of.

    My father turned his head. My mother's mouth dropped open. I turned a beet red. My mother said that this time SHE didn't know what Aunt Vera was thinking!

    I thought later that maybe Aunt Vera was thinking I was a young lady now and maybe this is what young ladies wear. Afterall, she didn't have a daughter, so how could she know? I neatly folded the negligee and put it in a drawer.

    I thanked Aunt Vera when I saw her for such a lovely gift, and she was pleased.
  • I don't have a photo of Aunt Vera. So the photo is me in the house I grew up in. Behind me on the shelf are our beloved Funk and Wagnall Encyclopedias. I would sit for hours and read through them. Now its Wickipedia on my I-phone. Not quite the same nor as accurate, but who has time to read anymore?
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