My Aunt Eleanor passed on recently. It was expected, she was getting old. Yet it's sad because she was the last to die of a large family of strong women. Sad because I never really got to know her very well or her sisters. Sad because now all the wisdom about their lives is gone. Many of my family were small time farmers and from them I could have learned how to garden and how to take care of chickens. Not that information is not available to me in other forms either from books or a friend. There is something magical to learn from your family. I see that now as an adult, it's unlikely I saw that as a child.
I have fond memories of a few of my Aunts or maybe it's fond memories of there homes. My aunt Eleanor always had cookie dough in her freezer ready to bake a few cookies at a time. Her house always smelled like freshly baked cookies. Another time I smelled a house like that was when I was across the Atlantic, I went to my Danish boyfriend's grandmothers house for a Christmas dinner.
Eleanor lived in the same house she grew up in. About 3 years ago it was sold to someone else. Yet another passing. I got to see it just before it went on the market. Stephen and I considered buying it because of the history and the connection to family. I wanted to keep it in the family but we didn't.
I enjoyed going to Aunt Do's lake house in the Ozarks to swim and raft. We would all play cards. Sometimes it was penny anti poker. I must come from a lost line of Amazons women. At the lake it was a house of women. I grew up in a house of women because my mom never remarried. Whenever we got together with the extended family it was almost always women. I never really noticed how much my life was lived among women.
As I sit here I am trying to recall their images, my Aunts, the women in my life. I remember smiles and laughter. I saw Eleanor and Do, for the last time, when Jade was 6 months old. I have pictures of her with Eleanor and Do at the house they grew up in. There I was with Jade, my mother and my two of my Aunts in the house they grew up, three generations of women.
Eleanor will be missed. They all will be missed.