Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Turning into my Aunt Meta

My maternal grandmother, whom I never knew, had two sisters. She was Anna and her sisters were Meta and Dorothea. Anna died, my grandfather remarried Alice, who also died and he then married Esther who did not particularly like children. She was more my grandfather's wife, not "more" -- that's all she was to me.

So anyway, Meta married Henry and had one son named Roy. Meta named him Roy because she hated nicknames and thought you couldn't make a nickname out of Roy. What happened? Everyone called him Joe. We called him Uncle Roy and he was the first gay person we knew and our gay family member. He always lived with his parents, and he was a schoolteacher.

He was an odd duck -- with nothing to do with being gay. He had a little dog named Domino whom he adored. He was a soda addict and would put an inch or two of water in the bottom of plastic mugs and freeze them. In his mind, it saved the time of getting ice cubes. He also kept his soda stash behind the sofa so he didn't have to get up if he wanted more. Even as a child I thought that was weird, not cool, but it showed me that when you're an adult you can do whatever the heck you want.

Meanwhile Dorothea married John who I also nevter knew. He was in World War I and got permanently damaged by mustard gas and eventually died. Dorothea never remarried, but she was a great example of an independent woman. She worked for the phone company (a "supervisor!"), owned her own home in LaPorte, Indiana. I have to say I really liked her. She had this little sun porch in the front of her house with green wicker furniture and stacks of Reader's Digests. I remember sitting on that furniture for hours reading the Reader's Digests. Aunt Dorothea also introduced me to tomato sandwiches -- Wonder bread, slathered with mayonnaise and sliced tomatoes.

But back to Aunt Meta. She was forever complaining about feeling a draft on the back of her neck. No matter where she sat. We'd go out to a restaurant and have to change chairs because Aunt Meta felt a draft. Roy would sometimes put a cloth napkin around her shoulders.

And now, I am forever feeling a draft on the back of my neck. Now I sympathize with Aunt Meta.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

My grandma was always bothered by any perfume or cologne, and of course cigarette smoke. At the time I am ashamed to say I rolled my eyes and lit the next cigarette up. Now, the same things cause my throat to close up and it hurts to breathe. Too late, I sympathize with grandma.