|Connie and her great-grands, Adriana and Lily|
There isn't a time I don't remember my mother's younger sister, Connie. She's been a solid fixture all of my life. Tragedy struck her early. With four young children, her husband died suddenly, stranding her in Boise, Idaho, without other family. To survive, she moved back home to Indianola, Iowa. That's where I remember her. First, in the small, grey house across from the Hy-Vee grocery store. Mostly I recall the one big living room and a soft couch filled with cousins and playfulness. To me it seemed like the best place in the world. A kind of Pee Wee's Playhouse filled with love and warmth where not much was off limits.
|Con's house on C Street and those recently gathered|
This house was the perfect setup for kids. Upstairs were two large bedrooms, separated by a small hall and bath. One was for the two girls, twin cousins conveniently only a year older than me and my twin and two boys: one our age and another, two years younger. Perfect playmates. Unless the genders were warring, in that case, we would jump from room to room, being careful not to knock the coveted fan turned to whichever room was winning at the time. The girl's room was light and airy; the boys, dark and cold. Each perfect for whatever mood you were in.
|Me and Connie|
Our mother's youngest sister, Anne, was an opera singer and teacher at Simpson College. During our junior-high years, summer opera opened and we were welcomed to rehearsals and opening nights. Pretty heady stuff for young teens. One time, the girl cousins and my sister and I, all dressed gorgeously, we supposed, in long flowing gowns, walked home to Aunt Con's after a performance, only one of the girls had forgotten the key. We had the bright idea of breaking in the front window, located high above the bushes. What a sight we much have been, dressed to the nines and one shimmying up and into the house!
|Connie and her clan|
If Grandpa's house was where to go to get one-on-one time and Anne and Bill's to be spoiled, Con's was the one for fun and adventure. Can you imagine a month rotating among all of that?
Now, Con is with her parents, Anne and her husband. But she'll never leave my memory or heart.
• How do we remember those who've left their mark of love on us?
• Who contributed to our childhood magic?
• How has that shaped who we are?
• What imprint does that person have on our lives?
• How do we say goodbye?
Connie in her
rolls or cookies
or playing piano
it was the place
you wanted to
magic and love
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