Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wistful Wednesday: Aunt Toots

I had an Aunt Toots.  She married Uncle Ray back in 1956.

Toots Wedding (2)

Here she is, that is my Aunt Marion in the background.

Toots and Ray Wedding (2)

June of 1956 Aunt Toots would have been 17 and Ray 22 years old. He was five years older than she was.  They were parents to four children, two girls and two boys. The last time I saw my cousins was at their fathers funeral. The girls were older than the boys, one is retired from the Army and lives in Kentucky, the other changed her name and may or may not live in the cities.  One of the boys lives nearby and the other way up north.

My Aunt and Uncle had a tumultuous relationship, it had it’s ups and downs.  They both died young.

Aunt Toots Gravemarker

Her real name was Esther but hardly anyone called her that.  She was 57 years old and died of complications after surgery and liver cancer.

Uncle ray Yitalo Gravemarker

Uncle Ray lived a bit longer, he was 70 years old when he died.  I believe his liver gave out.

I learned to never visit in the late afternoon or evening.  Mornings shortly before noon was the best time to visit. 

My Aunt was a wonderful cook and baker.  When she opened a cafe I asked her why? and she said “OH I needed a few throw rugs.”  The cafe had a bar…and an empty stool to fill after the cafe closed.  My Uncle ran the bar after he closed  his repair business for the day…their whole world revolved around a beer bottle.   It was sad to see.

I was an obsertvant child/young adult/adult.  What I saw, I didn’t like.  I especially felt sorry for the children.  Many times my Aunt would have a black eye, although I heard she packed a heck of a punch herself.  I am not quite sure why she stayed with her husband?  She was pretty and she was a talented baker and cook…perhaps it was for the children. But then I remember one time when they had beer in the fridge but no milk.  Sometimes it is a miracle that small children survive their upbringing. ( Now a days Social Services would have been called.)

I was not able to attend her funeral….I believe we closed on our home in North Dakota that day and were moving in.

I knew where she was buried and the grave was easy to find as the cemetery is not real large, a simple cemetery on the edge of town, right behind the site of the little cafe and bar…of course the cafe and bar are long gone…I believe a Firehall has taken it’s place.

When I returned to pick up my flowers, I was happy to see that there were more flowers there.

My Aunt had a rough life.  How much she brought on herself…I am not sure.  She was certainly my Mother’s only real spunky sister…perhaps that is why I liked her so much.

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  1. I think Tom's one word sums it up. Some folks just have trouble leaving a bad relationship.

  2. A sad tale in many ways, but that is often the case when looking back at the lives of relatives of mine we knew but were not that close to. We learned about their problems and disasters from the gossip at family parties, but knew little about other aspects of their lives.

  3. What a sad story. Hope she is in a happier place now.

  4. It's amazing what we can survive as we grow up. My parents were both drinkers but we always had milk in the fridge as well. It's interesting that none of my parents' kids are much for drinking. I have my wine but that's it, and lately I've been skipping even that one glass. You told the story of their lives very well. Thanks for introducing me. :-)

  5. Marrying at seventeen probably wasn't uncommon then but I think it's a recipe for disaster. Who knows who they are and who they will become at 17? They probably stayed married because that's what was done then. They suffered and managed their lives by dulling their feelings with drink. My heart breaks for their children's childhood.

  6. I had an Aunt called Tooter, no idea why, her real name was Elizabeth/Betty and she drank too and definitely had tumultuous relationships.

  7. Funny, almost nobody in my family makes it to 70 years old. If they get that far, we consider that they lived a long life.

  8. I'm glad I was smart enough to get out of my tumultuous relationships. Laying a hand on me was an unspoken line in the sand, so I took a lot of verbal abuse and threats (even with guns with the second husband). I was blind and optimistic enough to get into them, but practical enough to get out--LOL! Finally gave men up altogether in 1993 and been the happiest in my whole life--ROFL!

    Sorry to hear about their rough marriage. People just stuck it out back then. "You made your bed..." my dad used to say. Luckily I didn't listen. ;)

  9. It is a sad story! But one that was lived by many, many! So many hide it. She looked much older than 17 in her wedding dress.

  10. The Bennie Had a Aunt Toots,
    I guess we all had a family member like that.
    Just not Bennie's Aunt Toots.

  11. some people live a different life than the rest of us and it isn't pretty.

  12. I have seen in families where the one person really is victimizing the spouse and the whole family along with it. They seem to think it is normal. I have a kid in middle school who is called "Posey" while he has a perfect normal name. I don't ask why anymore for some of those things. A high school boy answered to "Tucker" and it too was not his name. When I asked if Posey was his name, the boy just mildly answered yes.

  13. How sad. Don't they look like they would have been happy? We have had plenty that in my family too...on both sides.

  14. Married at 17, she had no idea what she was getting into, and what other options she could have had. I glad young people wait longer to marry now.

  15. So sad but I think we come down here to learn and evidently she had her own lessons. One of the Eastern religions believes that we continue to reincarnate until we have learned what we are supposed to. It does give some explanation about people that are cruel or mean...they haven't been around very long where as the kinder and wiser are old souls. We all have our own journey to make in this lifetime and different lessons to learn. I hope I've learned mine in this lifetime otherwise I may have to come back and start all over again! Oh no! LOL!

  16. Good but sad story,,I had an Aunt Toots too. Her real name was Ethel, she and her husband had 6 kids..and then he left and they got divorced. She developed Rheumatoid arthritis and was wheelchair bound for a good many years..We can count our blessings that we didn't end up like out Aunt Toots"..


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