My google calendar reminders ticks off another ding marking the date of passing of another family member, Monday was the day in 1977 … 39 years ago… that my Aunt Eve passed away. What I know of her is even more limited than my grandparents, the media layer is thin.

Hers was one of the first funerals I remember going to, and even as a 14 year old, I had a rather uninformed experience and idea of death. Both of my grandparents were gone before I entered the world. I guess it was never a topic of conversation.

Eve was my father’s younger sister

She, her husband, and three kids, cousins who’s age span matched my own siblings, lived almost around the corner from us, maybe a half mile away. I have a dim sense we spent a lot of time in each others houses, there were Thanksgiving means and the annual Passover dinner where I seem to remember Uncle Mel being loud and singing badly in a funny way. I have a bit of a visual of watching the Baltimore Colts win the 1971 Superbowl in on TV in their home. How does the brain do that with memory fragments?

Those all seemed to stop after she died. She was the glue? From little bits I’ve talked to my cousins, there was a good amount of dysfunction going on that we never saw. As it does.

I cannot even find an old photo of my Aunt Eve. She passed away a year after my Bar Mitzvah and I know there were some family photos. I recall her as being more behind the scenes, not in all the photos; the pictures were all about the kids. What I do remember is that she had this warm spirit about her that was more subtle, it was just there.

I do not know if she worked, I think of her maybe as a teacher? Art teacher? But she did paint, that’s what I remember. Her home was full of her oil paintings. That photo of a painting at the top of this post was her version of an East Baltimore street scene that was at my Mom’s house. Eve did a lot of bright colors? Flowers? Again, I cannot remember. When we cleaned out Mom’s house we sent the paintings to my cousins.

My contact with my cousins also faded when I aborted Facebook. I have to say before I gave FB the boot, it did enable a connection with my cousin Sherrie who visited in January 2014

We had a great time visiting and seeing some of Sedona.

Like her Mom, Sherrie is an artist (she was also a gymnast (in the late 1970s she was one of the Baltimore Oriole girls who fetched foul balls and did gymnastics in between action. She got me tickets to a 1979 World Series game) and I think does a form of art therapy. I try to imagine a lot of her Mom in her, but her Mom is such a faded memory it’s hard to be certain. As if that matters. I choose my memories.

I am quite sure my Aunt would be proud of her daughter and her granddaughter. No beyond quite sure. That sounds wishy washy. With definite absolutism I know that.

While they were visiting, we saw the major tour spots in Strawberry; one is the Oldest Standing Single Room Schoolhouse in Arizona

as well as the Fossil Creek Llama ranch. I had some fun asking Sherrie to imitate the cute goats we saw there; and got a big smile out of the card she sent as a thank you for the visit.

And so even if I retain a mostly incomplete collection of artifacts and memories of my Aunt, we make do with what we can weave together of the memories (and makes me question the importance of my Facebook loathing versus the lack of contact) (Nope, I can reach out in other modes) (Whew).

It’s not about the accuracy of the dates, events, etc but how we can paint them together. Without doing this everything fades to nothing.


Top / Featured Image: Photo of a painting by Aunt Eve that has in my Mom’s house (It’s my own photo, why they heck would I take 30 seconds to write an attribution statement? If you ask, you are stuck on attribution as some legal compliance). flickr photo by cogdogblog http://flickr.com/photos/cogdog/3225934671 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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