March 26, 2011
We all have special people in our lives. I'm very lucky to have many of them. But there are a few that are always at the top of my list, my Aunt Liz being one of them.
How long have I known her? All of my life. From the time I was a little girl, I have loved and admired her. I got to know her the most when I was 14 years old and took her up on the invitation to come to live with her and her family following the death of my mother. She was working, and yet had time to be a good "parent" and friend to me. She redid Pat's bedroom to make room for me, let me use her car while learning to drive, and let me take it by myself once I had my license. She even took the blame when I drove the car with insufficient oil and the engine block broke!
She put up with the bizarre idea of Pat and me allowing us to scrape out used tubes of lipstick and melt them together in a coffee can on the stove and then pour the new blend back into the empty tubes for a new lipstick color. (What a mess this was!)
The night before my wedding, she managed an assembly line in her home to bake, frost, cut into pieces, and slide into "groom's cake bags" cherry devil's food cake. What a labor of love! We still talk about this!
It was at her house where we celebrated Hans' first birthday - with a triple layer chocolate, whipped cream cake from The Brother's Deli - sadly, no longer in business. It was Hans' first taste of cake and chocolate, and she allowed him to make a big mess, while he enjoyed every bite of it. She even held up the plate so he could lick it, and then proceeded to put him in the kitchen sink to give him a bath. We recorded it on our family movie camera.
I have traveled with her to Holland, Michigan; Illinois, Ireland, Scotland, England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Whales, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Pennsylvania, Branson, Missouri; Indiana, Washington state, and a cruise to Alaska. Beautiful memories were made.
On her 70th birthday, I surprised her with a party — inviting all of our family members. Prior to the party, I sent each family unit a piece of fabric and asked that they personalize it for Aunt Liz. Once they were returned to me, I sent the pieces to my cousin, Diane, and she did a beautiful job of putting them together and quilting them. We presented this quilt to Aunt Liz at the party.
There are many things I love and admire about Aunt Liz: some are her gifts of hospitality, positive attitude, and hunger for learning. I overlook the fact that she is a Democrat and a former, card-carrying union member. ;-)
On Monday, she will have surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. She's not afraid of the surgery, but looking past that to recovery and getting on with her life. She's unhappy that she will be in the operating room during her favorite TV show, The Price Is Right.
Many prayers are being offered for you and the surgeon, Aunt Liz. I hope it won't be long before you'll be driving the Patty Wagon to the library, opening your door to friends and neighbors, and talking to me and others on the phone. Thank you for being so special to me.