Sunday, December 14, 2008
The Aunt Chronicles - Part 3 - Aunt Marian
Aunt Marian always seemed to be the most glamorous of the Stewart sisters. When she was a teenager, she just had to have a new dress for a dance. According to the story I heard, a sister designed and sewed one a little too quickly, because it fell apart at the dance.
My memories of Aunt Marian began with her sailing into Jefferson with the top down in her white Cadillac. She always had the latest model. Her hair was white, too, but always seemed to have a hint of blue. Pushing the buttons on that car to make the windows go up and down was pure magic to me. She also had the first television remote I ever saw. The Hills acquired a television early on, but theirs never was on the Lone Ranger, so I was not particularly interested. There were too many other things to do. I had the opportunity to use my cousin Myron's toys. I liked the red scooter so much they gave it to me.
Aunt Marian always brought surprises for my brother and me. Sometimes they were new, and other times slightly used. Her son had more stuffed animals than he needed. I still have a couple of Donald Duck's nephews and Dumbo's mouse friend, Timothy, complete with his ringmaster suit. Aunt Marian also brought food goodies. I don't think she baked herself, but she certainly knew how to select the most delectable items, no doubt from the most expensive bakery in Cleveland. No wonder I was such a fat child, because I ate these things until I could eat no more.
I really think I was a special favorite of Aunt Marian's for a very sad reason. I was the youngest of the nine cousins, and a girl. Aunt Marian lost a baby girl at birth named Sarah.
We made many trips to Edgecliff Drive in Euclid when I was growing up. Aunt Marian volunteered at a local hospital in the gift shop. She would take me there, and I could pick out anything I wanted. Like Aunt Alice she loved family celebrations, although not for her birthday, which was January 7. She would have been 109 in a few days from now. Her backyard summer picnics included phenomenal scenery, as her house overlooked Lake Erie. Her street was aptly named, because that cliff was really high.
Aunt Marian had a dog named Herman, a dachshund from the Austinburg Susie line of Aunt Austa. There was always an extra plate at the table, because Herman sat at the table on a regular basis. I still remember the day Herman leaned over and licked my mother's plate. I couldn't stop laughing. My mother did not think this was funny in the least. She said nothing about it then, but plenty later. Our dog, also named Herman, never had this unique opportunity.
Aunt Marian died of cancer on December 16, 1979 - thirty years ago. My mother made many trips to see her that fall, taking peanut butter cookies, and anything else that might make her feel better. I was not always around then, but I went when I could. Even in her final days, Aunt Marian looked nice, and was as charming as ever.