Friday, November 20, 2015

Aunt Betty

I've been listing to swing and 1930-40's big band the last few days.

I've always enjoyed this music... it's so energetic and full of vitality-- enjoyment for enjoyment's sake.  The best years were during WWII ( at least from this 60's baby's worldview)   But my Aunt Betty died this week, my Dad's last remaining sibling and I can't thing of her without thinking swing.

She was a nurse during WWII, and married a fly-boy ( well, she married 2, but her first husband died during the war).  That connection has set Aunt Betty firmly in swing mode in my brain.  I honestly don't know if she even liked swing, but living in the times she did I'm sure she did.

She was born in Waterloo Ia, but lived most of her adult life elsewhere.  For most of my life she's been in California or Arizona.  So I've only met her in person a handful of times.  Still I feel she had quite the zest of life, and boy, that's swing music.

I do have a bracelet she gave me some years ago.  She mailed it to me, and I was so ticked and frankly blown away. it's a Indian woven bracelet backed in leather.  She got it when she was a kid visiting a reservation, so it's probably 75+ year old now.   But it really must have meant something to her to hold on to it so many years.  She said her Dad bought it for her.  And she gave it to me.  That means something to me, and it's in the same treasure box I keep other mementos that are dear to me.  

Aunt Betty had a temper, and her nature could be, well prickly.  I remember me and my Dad beating her and her partner at trivia pursuit.  She got hot.. but then I was being a teenager in all my glory and probably gloated just little 2 much.  Dad and Larry (Betty's hubby, who was a great guy) laughed their heads off, which probably didn't help either.

I remember her Graciousness.  Jerry and I visited her and Larry in California on our honeymoon at their house.  They were tremendously accommodating, entertaining us for the day and treating us to a very fancy Mexican restaurant.  Their house was a showplace, though strange to our Iowan eyes-- due to water rationing concerns, their garden was mostly very artistically placed rocks, hearty shrubs and tiny trees. Oh, and a few palm type trees.

I'm afraid in later years I've not had much contact with Aunt Betty... she had Alzheimer's and after Larry's death, she seems to have had more "bad" days than good.  She was in a nursing home in Arizona when she died.

Rest in Swing Aunt Betty.

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