November 7, 2010

Auntie Julia

My great aunt Julia, circa 1949
 My Auntie Julia died over the weekend.  She was 81.

I wish I could say I knew her better, but the last time I saw her, I believe, was 1994.  She was my Grammie's sister and lived in Florida.  She very rarely traveled up to Green Bay, where my Grammie lives, and we'd never go down to Florida.  She and my late Uncle Bob lived in Winter Park (and Guatemala) my whole life.

I'm sad about her passing in a more nostalgic way more than anything; I barely knew her, so my own feelings don't really count.  Who I am sad for is my mom and my Grammie, who has dementia and I doubt would understand that Julia is gone.  And of the three girls, my Grammie is the only one left (my Auntie Lou-Lou died in 1990, when she was only 62.  THAT was a sad story).

Julia was my mom's aunt, and a great one at that, at least when my mom was a little girl.  Julia was only 16 or 17 when my mom was born, so she and my Auntie Lou-Lou (who was only a year older than Julia) would fawn all over my mom.  They spoiled her rotten, too, as good aunties should do (I'm doing my best with my own nieces!).  :D

Julia, my Grammie (Mary), and Lou-Lou, probably about 1952 or so.
 Of the three girls, Julia was "the pretty one".  She was very tall and thin her whole life (far too thin the last 15 years or so) and the only blond in my whole family.  She looked like a perfect combination of my great-grandma and grandpa - she got the best features of both.  All three girls sang beautifully (you may remember me saying that my Grammie was my own music teacher growing up), so she was quite the package.

She was a co-ed at a time when it was quite the thing to be.  I may be getting mixed up here, but I'm about 90% sure she went to DePauw University in Indiana. I do know that she pledged a sorority (judging by the photos, is this any surprise?  I mean, doesnt she just LOOK like a sorority girl of the Forties?). 

I believe she married Bob Gibson in 1952  (I know my mom was the flower girl).  Bob was a hoot.  He was the jokester of the family.  He was an engineer when they got married but later on he became an Episcopal priest and they wound up living in Guatemala for a period of time in the 70s as missionaries.  I remember thinking how exotic that must've been.

She had three kids - Julie, Mary (called Mary T. so as not to be confused with my Grammie, whose name is also Mary) and George.  Sadly, Mary T. died in 2004, just a couple of months before Bob.  Both died of cancer, and from what we heard from letters and family members the grief never really left Julia.  Can you blame her?  No one should ever outlive their kids.

It's weird when family lives so far away, because you only really know them from stories and photos and the very occasional visit.  Thank goodness for vehicles like Facebook - it's been fantastic at breaking down familial barriers.  I know that I've learned more about some of my cousins through their status updates than I ever would've known otherwise, and I'm so grateful for that.  And I know that my nieces' kids, should they choose to have any, will definitely know their Great-Auntie Mel.  I'll make sure to spoil THEM rotten too!  :D

No comments:

Post a Comment