A reminder today from my Google Family Calendar, a descendent of my Mom’s paper habit of tracking events, read Dorothy b (1931).
That means today her youngest sister aka Aunt Dorothy, turns 92 today. She is the last remaining sibling from the five kids my mom’s parents raised in the 1920s and 1930s, a Baltimore style row house on Aisquith Street.
From Mom’s scrapbook, this is the only photo I have of all five together:
That’s Dorothy in the front, then age 4, and counter clockwise is my Mom (82 years, 1929-2011), her brother Harvey (42 years, 1926-1968), oldest sister Ruth (101 years! 1921-2022), Mom’s mother Ida (82 years, 1896-1978), and sister Dinah (85 years, ~1924-2009).
Here is another child hood photo of my Mom and sister Dorothy, with a whimsical smile you will see again below, with their mother.
I have a photo of a visit with Aunt Dorothy in 2012…
Aunt Dorothy did some abstract art painting, there was a signature large oil painting in our house with a bright orange textured background with some kind of figure in the front- we never knew, was it a bent screw? a twisted bridge? Two soldiers dancing? It was in our basement in Baltimore, mom took itto Florida, and when we cleaned out Mom’s house, neither my sisters nor I decided to save it.
I regret that choice! As I prepared this I was sure I did not have a photo of it, so rather than just reach for AI, I decided to see if could re-create it from memory.
Then, as it goes, I am searching my blog for posts about Aunt Dorothy, and I find yes, I had a photo of it in flickr. You can see both that my memory and my Photoshop skills are poor, and also, that Aunt Dorothy was pretty good!
On a visit to see Aunt Dorothy in 2012 we went to see my Mom’s grave, I got her to share some audio stories of their childhood…
And I last saw her two months later at her home, where Aunt Dorothy shared an old photo of her and my Mom in their teens at their home on Garrison Avenue. Here she is responding to my request to recreate the expression she had in the photo.
She also showed me more of her art, hanging in the hallway, and she described her attempt at a Jackson Pollack method.
I emailed my cousin Jane today, she is Dorothy’s daughter now living in Vancouver, to ask her if she calls her Mom on the phone to send my birthday hugs. She says her Mom’s memory is fading, sometimes no recognizing her kids, but that like her sisters, Aunt Dorothy has that Herondorf tough spirit.
Happy 92nd, Aunt Dorothy! I am sorry I did not keep that orange abstract painting, but it’s (sort of) painted in my memory.
Featured Image: My Mom’s siblings and her mom, 1935, on Aisquith St in Baltimore, scanned from a scrapbook and cropped to fit the blog header. I will share it CC-BY.