Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th Aunt Helen!

Growing up there were so many things I could count on in my life.  I had great parents, I had a great extended family and we had traditions that made life pretty predictable.  We went to Grandpa and Grandma Martin's every Sunday after church.  There I cavorted with many cousins (Dad being one of eight kids made for LOTS of cousins!), caught garter snakes, was dared to eat raw rhubarb stalks and not ripe grapes, and got yelled at by one of the adults if we got too near the road!

Another Grand Tradition in our family was 4th of July at Ron and Helen's.  I loved spending time with Ron and Helen because they were such an awesome couple.  Talk about connected!  My Aunt had so many quirks that she was just "Epic" (Mac says that's the new awesome!).  The first thing I remember about their house is the smell of Pine Sol and cigarettes as you walked in the front door.  In fact, I've never smelled that exact combination anywhere else in my life!  Then you were instantly in a whirlwind of people and hugs and the day had begun!

Helen was a tiny woman.  I remember any time she ate, she would cut everything on her plate in half and only eat that half.  I don't think I ever remember her eating a whole plate of food. She had a rough life growing up and I think that was the reason she was so family oriented.  Every Holiday meant "games with Aunt Helen" and she'd have us rolling eggs across the lawn with our noses on Easter or passing balloons between our legs on the 4th!  There were always prizes for these games. 

The 4th was her day.  We would swim in the lake and either have a picnic which was a potluck or a cook off of some sort and I never remember a boring day at her house.  Then the final event was watching the fireworks over the lake!  If you were lucky, you got to take the pontoon out; but it only sat so many people and there were always a ton of people there.  One never knew what family or friends would show up that day. But all were welcomed, hugged and fed!

Aunt Helen became ill and we would visit with quiet voices......the life of the party slowed down and it became apparent that she wasn't going to make it.  How appropriate that she left this earth on the 4th of July.  It was her day and she owned it!  My memories of her include her dressing up for Halloween in a chicken suit with a tail.  She wanted my Mom to see her so she road over 15 miles to my Mom's school to show her, and she had to ride the whole way on her knees backwards in the car due to that tail!  Another time I remember that she hated cheese with a passion.  The day she found out that her beloved fish sandwich from McDonald's had cheese on it was the last day she ate one!  We were always secretly putting cheese in recipes to see if she'd eat it!

I know these thoughts are a bit scrambled but I wanted to honor her today with my a great, grand woman!  I know she's in Heaven organizing all of the events today and Uncle Ron is smiling at her and still loving that ball of energy!


  1. Thanks for this, of course tears are rolling, and you are so right, no other place i have ever been to has smelled like thier house, i love it:) She blessed us with so many awesome memories, i really wish my boys could have met them!!! Love you so much:) Our family is amazing!!!

  2. Well, that brought me to tears, but it was wonderful. I have been really struggling today, but I am glad of the memories you shared with everyone. My mom was a special person who will always be missed and in my heart.

  3. Couldn't have said it any better, Sue. You caught her essence and spirit. She has no replica and never will. I am glad you had such good memories of her. Love you Mom