My 95 year old great-aunt passed away today. Katherine was known to the family as "Ketchie" or "Auntie" according to your age in relation to the grand dame. She was definitely Auntie to me. :)
I am ashamed to say that I haven't (or, er, hadn't) seen her in ten years since my grandmother's funeral. A lot of family politics comes into that decision but I went along with it. I feel terrible that I haven't seen her more.
95% of my memories of Auntie come from my summer vacations spent in the little Mississippi town where my grandmother (and all of that side of the family) lived. Auntie would come over for lunch with my grandmother along with my Aunt Gladys. The three of them would eat tomato and mayo sandwiches and scrambled eggs made by my grandmother's killer cook and housekeeper. Sometimes they'd play cards afterward, my grandmother using her polished nails to expertly cut and shuffle hundreds of decks.
I am amused at these memories because I know how much I must have interrupted their "girl time" when the husbands were out of the house and out of their hair. But they were kind to a rambunctious little girl and I'm pretty sure the reason they let me cut as many roses from the garden as I did was to keep me out of their hair for ten minutes, picking exactly the right ones. :)
To my single-digit self, Auntie was hopelessly glamorous. She wore her large, dramatic glasses on bejeweled cords and smoked her ever-present cigarette in a Cruella Deville style cigarette holder. Her laugh was a funny heh heh heh where you knew she was holding back a little for civility but her eyes always gave away when she found something really funny.
Auntie carried Whiting and Dean purses and I thought the mesh was amazing to touch. I used to oh so slyly slide myself on the couch next to her so I could surrepticiously pet her bag. When I graduated high school she sent me a W&D lipstick holder and mirror that was engraved with a lovely note on the back. I still carry that lipstick holder every time I go out. The mirror is in my top drawer with my precious jewelry and favorite things.
So this is a cheers to the memory of my Auntie. Eternally glamorous and kind to all. We miss you already, Auntie!