Thursday, December 04, 2008
The Aunt Chronicles - Part 2 - Sylvia
I know the least about Aunt Sylvia, my mother's oldest sister. She was born in 1891 and died in 1959, so she lived only 68 years. I have no memories of her coming to our house. We did visit her in Ashtabula every once in a while. She, like Aunt Alice, had a soft spoken, almost lyrical voice. I remember sitting quietly in a back room, which might have been a kitchen. There was a piano in the corner. Scores of pictures, lined up like an army, sat on the piano top. They were mostly in cardboard tri-folds instead of frames. I looked at these images, marveling how someone could have so many pictures in one place. I studied each and every one, because I usually did not have anything else to do. I had no idea who these people were in the pictures, but they must have been mostly relatives. How I would like to see those pictures again now.
I quit looking at these pictures when I was eight or so. Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Ralph bought a TV. My family did not have one until much later, so this invention was like magic to me. My favorite show was The Lone Ranger, although I probably only saw three episodes. Their TV had a tiny black and white strangely shaped picture.
Aunt Sylvia had three children, They were Fred, Harold and Dorothy. Harold is in his mid nineties and lives in Columbus. As much as I did not know Aunt Sylvia, Dorothy became a dear friend. We made several trips to eastern states and even Northern Ireland trying to find our long lost relatives. We did find a few, and had a fantastic time doing it.
I only found two pictures of Aunt Sylvia. She was probably about 11 in the picture with her three sisters. Left to right you see Austa, Sylvia, Alice and Marian. My mother and her brother Howard were not born yet when this was taken. It must have been a lot of work to get four little girls looking so perfect in their white dresses. The other picture is the only one I have with all six Stewart children. From left to right you see Marie, Alice, Marian, Howard, Sylvia and Austa. It might have been Sylvia's birthday, because she is the only one wearing flowers. Her birthday was September 2nd. I remember the picture being taken at Aunt Marian's house, as we had been there for a picnic.
Sylvia was not the the advice giver like Alice. However, she did have a profound influence on my mother. When she died of diabetes complications, my mother quit putting three teaspoons of sugar in a cup of coffee. That influence extended to me, also, because I never put sugar in my coffee either.