My 100 year old aunt is very ill & is dying.
I know -- 100 years old. It's to be expected. Of course it is, but you know how it goes -- we reflect back, we think about their lives, we try to put grief in perspective. A century of living is a lot of thinking back. I remember...
Summers at the house on Lovejoy and that nifty staircase they had that went from the living room into the kitchen and also up the stairs to the bedrooms. Her "E.T.C." room, an office off the living room. The death that took place next door when her best friend was murdered by two teenagers, seemingly at random.
It was that death that propelled my aunt into the last phase of her life, into a senior living complex where she used to 'read to the old people' (she was in her 80s at the time) and she had a rich, full social life.
For some reason, when I remember my aunt I remember our basement on 6th Street. I remember sitting at the piano there (we're talking a LONG time ago, now) and reading a letter my aunt wrote me. You see, she and I were 'pencil pals' (not pen pals, I couldn't write with pen yet, I wasn't adept enough). We exchanged letters on a regular basis and for some reason I remember sitting at the piano and reading one of her carefully written letters. They were always long, and chatty and full of detail.
I learned, from her, to take my time when composing. It may take several drafts but you should always take the time to get it right for your audience, whether that audience is a reader of my novels or a correspondent. I labored over my letters, trying to find things to say that she would think interesting. When you're in 3rd or 4th grade, that can be a bit tough, but whenever I saw her in person (they only lived 45 miles away but that was far enough to be only an occasional visit) she would mention something I had said. She read what I wrote and thought it was interesting!
Thanks you, Aunt Agnes.