Today would have been my Aunt Eva’s 75th birthday. Even though she passed away more than three-and-a-half years ago, I still keep her birthday in my PDA.
In memory of Aunt Eva, 4/16/30 to 9/23/01. (c. 1950s)
She was one of my mom’s six brothers and sisters. Although I saw other aunts and uncles more often, Aunt Eva was very special to me. Because she lived in Chicago and used a wheelchair, she wasn’t able to travel to California very often. But we had our own way of keeping in touch, courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service.
Growing up I would often write letters to my aunts in Chicago. With Aunt Eva, you could always count on getting another letter back. It was always such a treat to open the mailbox and see a letter from her.
Each letter was unique in its own way. Sometimes they would start with the typical salutations (i.e. “Jim, thank you for your Christmas card and photo”). Other times they would just start mid-thought, like you had walked into the room in the midst of a conversation (i.e. “Paper this size gives me more freedom”).
At my cousin Anita's wedding with her husband, Uncle Chuck. (4/10/83)
I loved how the letters were often annotated, with follow-up thoughts written in the margins or between lines, often with a different pen color. Sometimes they would be written in handwriting, other times printed. In some cases she switched between the two. In a couple of them, she stopped writing one day, and then resumed the letter the next and wrote about that too!
Whether it was about her husband, her kids, her grandkids, whatever was happening that day, she wrote about it and sent it. As is. (Unlike myself, who writes, rewrites, edits until I’m happy with it before I let anyone read anything).
Aunt Eva in her childhood. (c. 1930s)
I also called my aunt periodically, and boy was she a talker! :) I remember one time my cousin Chrissy was going to San Francisco and had asked for some sightseeing tips. When I returned her call, Chrissy was still at work, and my aunt answered instead. I think I heard every story about every one of her grandkids.
Then Chrissy came home. “Saved by the bell,” I thought! Boy was I wrong. Let’s just say that being a talker runs in the family! :)
She was a great aunt, and I miss her. Happy 75th Birthday Aunt Eva!