So today, I’ll devote a post to my Aunt Marian; she and my cousin Melissa are staying with us for a few days while they’re in town for the high school graduation of my other cousin’s (Anita’s) son. Anita herself is not here. She is on probation for driving while stoned. Much as I would love to regale the world with more stories about Anita (rich fodder, always), I will instead turn the spotlight on my aunt.
She remembers when my elderly father was an annoying little brother who would not stay out of her room.
Amazing Aunt Marian Trivia:
She was a teacher for deaf children because she was fairly deaf as a child. She had some sort of fungal infection in her ears that couldn’t be cured and went to a school for the deaf herself. The doctors thought a dry climate might help, so the family moved out to South Dakota for a while. She ended up going to the University of Arizona for the same reason, and turned into the desert rat that she is today. When she was about 50, she was able to have surgery that cured a lot of her deafness, but she still has a bad ear; and she still finger-spells any time she says the names of people or restaurants or such things.
She married a Mexican/ American guy named Conrad Hernandez, which is why my cousins are Latinos. His job took them to Mexico for a number of years, so my older cousins are bilingual and Aunt Marian speaks Spanish. He was Mormon and she converted to the LDS church, which is why that side of the family is Mormon.
Things Aunt Marian Hates:
1. Bad manners
2. Old men. She has a hard time dating, because all the guys in her age group are, “Old! What a bunch of fuddy-duddies!”
3. Road kill. She has a habit of pulling over and removing dead animals from the road.
Things Aunt Marian Loves:
1. Carnation Instant Breakfast, which she buys by the case
2. VW camper vans
3. Dove brand ice cream. The mint chocolate flavor. The ice cream gene has persisted in our DNA for many generations, but she does carry it a bit far. She left the supermarket last night without any ice cream at all because the store didn’t have Dove Chocolate Mint.
6. Reading. She is always calling me up and giving me lists of books that I need to read.
7. The outdoors. Also a family trait. She is a lover of camping, and an expert on the Sonoran desert. She worked for the National Park Service for years as a ranger.
8. Me! Unlike my parents, she is so forthcoming about telling me everything she likes about me. Yesterday, she said to Simon, “Do you notice how slim and glamorous your wife is?” People say that a parent’s love is unconditional. Maybe. But I have always felt that my relationship with my mom is complicated by her expectations and my struggles to live up to them. My relationship with my aunt is a lot less complicated. Once, when I was in my 20s, my mom said, “Maybe Marian should have been your mother instead of me. You two seem to have so much more in common." I replied that, if Aunt Marian had been my mother, she wouldn’t have been my doting aunt. Mother and aunts are different.
Tell me about your favorite aunt / uncle.