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Carol Perkins: Aunts

'Aunts are precious accessories who can give the extra love kids need.'
Next previous Carol Perkins column: At long last, Carol Perkins: Dr. Oz

By Carol Perkins


The most necessary person in a child's life, other than a mother or grandmother, is an aunt, and I am the best aunt any niece or nephew could have. I have two nieces and three nephews who are my brothers' children. The youngest one will be a senior at Cumberland County High School next year. The others are either in college or out and working.

First of all, I have kept up with them since they were little. By that I mean I have gone to their events, nosed in their business, given unsolicited advice, and bought them things when their parents wouldn't. I have showered them with my time. I am sure they are very appreciative.

Facebook helps me keep up with them. They won't defriend me because then I would know they were saying things they didn't want me to read. Sometimes I can't keep from making remarks. One of the young men's profile pictures looked like a caveman. I commented: "If this is a recent picture, you need therapy."

"Aunt Carol, not to worry. This was made before my haircut." Whew, that was good to know.

One of the girls was at a party and she and her friends were acting silly and kissing the camera, etc. I wrote: "Remember, future jobs may depend on what is seen on Facebook." She removed the picture.

What would they do without me?

When the first graduated from college and moved to Colorado, I gave her a litany of things to be aware of such as not driving after dark alone and not leaving a restaurant with a guy and all those Natalie Holloway things we now know to watch out for when a girl is making her own decisions. She shrugged into the phone. "I know. I know."

They have all known to call Aunt Carol if they didn't want to call their parents about something. If they just need to talk, I have been a good listener. If there was a problem at their school, my standard phrase was, "Do I need to come over there?"

If a parent can't get one of his offspring's on the phone, he calls me to call him/her because when I call, I get an answer. Unlike their parents, who think they have to talk to them two or three times a day, I don't call without a reason.

When thinking about aunts, I know how much I love and miss some my own. I have three "blood" aunts, one of whom passed away last year (Clarice Baker). My mother's only sister Martha is just six years older than I am. My dad's only living sister Ruby is not in good health and would not recognize me. I have wonderful memories of life with them when I was growing up.

One of those memories consists of my coming home from school one day and finding almost a complete wardrobe of new clothes lying on my bed. My aunt Clarice, a fine seamstress, had made me a jumper and new skirts. I can tell you exactly what they looked like and how I felt wearing them.

My aunts by marriage were almost as close to me as my "real" aunts. Those on the Sullivan side who lived away and came home once a year or twice were fun and entertaining. I loved when my Aunt Celestine and Uncle Carl came from Indianapolis because there would be stories and laughter and happiness. They brought joy, as did my aunt Millie (Lonzo's wife). I loved going to my aunt Polly's (Walter) house and sitting around the kitchen table while she and my mother talked. I would run down to my Aunt Edna Mae's every time I visited my grandmother.

I was in and out of the homes of my aunts on my Reece side of the family almost weekly when I was growing up because we were so close. My aunt Marjorie lived next door, so I saw her every day. She had a collection of porcelain dolls that she brought out of a box occasionally so her daughter and I could look at them.

None of my aunts ever raised her voice to me. Never made me feel unwelcomed. Never told me not to touch something or clean up something or watched me to make sure I didn't disturb something.

They loved me. I am almost sure my nieces and nephews feel the same about their Aunt Carol.

Why wouldn't they? They know I have their back!

Aunts are precious accessories who can give the extra love kids need.

This story was posted on 2011-07-25 07:31:54
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