Chuck, The Pizza Snob (reynaud) wrote,
Chuck, The Pizza Snob

My great-aunt died today.

This is ... was ... my mother's father's younger sister. I wasn't very close to her, but I knew her, and she was a hoot. She lived in Mattapoisett, on the south coast of Massachusetts between Cape Cod and Rhode Island, which wasn't too long far, and so I would go occasionally go down with my mother when she visited. She would tell stories of when she was younger, both as a child and as a young woman.

Apparently, she was a bit of a helion as a kid, trying to play pranks on her teachers. Of course, this ended up suiting her well; she eventually became a teacher herself, and no kid could get away with anything. She'd already done it all.

She and her late husband used to have pet monkeys when she was much younger. Occasionally, they'd go down to the ice cream stand, which was on the main road that many people took to the Cape, with their monkeys dressed up. They'd sit there, feeding ice cream to the monkeys, and watch the people driving by and doing double takes. Once, she took her monkey to the store, under her coat. While waiting in line, she would open her coat to show the little girl in front of her the monkey. When the girl tried to point out the monkey to her mother, my great-aunt would close the coat, causing the mother to chide the child about telling fibs. Eventually, my great-aunt relented and showed the monkey to the other woman, to get the girl off the hook.

Once, perhaps fifteen or twenty years ago, I went out to dinner with my mother, my two brothers, my great-aunt and her brother, my great-uncle. We went to this restaurant and got a booth. My brothers and I were on one side, my mother and her aunt and uncle on the other, and someone made a joking comment about whether my brothers and I could sit there and not cause trouble with each other. Actually, we were fine. It was my great-aunt and her brother who good naturedly nagged each other all through the meal.

I last saw my great-aunt about two months ago or so, when I accompanied my mother down to Mattapoisett to celebrate her 91st birthday. It wasn't soon after that that she began to decline. My mother would go down periodically to visit. I regret I never went with her, to see her in the final days. I cannot say that I will be missing her every day. But the world is now missing another great character.
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