When I composed the previous post, I rather thought that would have concluded, at least for the present, what has become a rather lengthy dip into the pool of nostalgia. But a certain auntie has been crusading relentlessly for a Hands of the Aunties post, and I cannot bear to disappoint her.
Since AC has never had an aunty (or auntie) it’s a bit of a tough topic for me. However, in an effort to get around the limitation, and since since aunties and uncles must have somewhat similar roles in a child’s life, permit me to contemplate Uncle Charlie a little more to see what lessons might be gleaned.
I delved back into the album to come up with the photo below. I told you that I issued from diminutive stock, and sure enough, there I am towering behind my uncle and parents just before we headed to the chapel on my wedding day. I don’t really need the photo for whatever I am about to write for this post (and I can hardly wait to find out what that will be 🙂 ) but it’s as good of an excuse as any to inflict another oldie but goody upon y’all. (I used to show this picture to my classes when we were talking about the origins of geographic Canada’s population, and they seemed to find it a trifle amusing.)
Perhaps it is even evident from the photo, but Uncle Charlie was of somewhat sunnier disposition that my parents; he liked to joke around with his nephew who perhaps learned from him not to take life or himself too seriously. For example: when my grandfather built a little skating rink for me in the back yard, it was Uncle Charlie who stood at the window and laughed at my wobbly and futile attempts to remain upright: not in a mean way, of course, but in a fun-loving manner that I didn’t mind.
After we moved, he would be diligent about visiting us once a week, and he would always give his nephew a quarter. Let me remind you that a quarter in those days might have the purchasing power of perhaps three dollars in this decade, so the amount was not all that trifling. Needless to say, I really looked forward to his visits.
Even when I was grown and first married, he spent a night or two with Cuppa and me in our basement apartment, and I remember playing catch together in the backyard. This was just a year before he died prematurely of heart problems. I learned later that just throwing the ball around with me that day had caused him some chest pains, but, of course, I wasn’t thinking about such things at the time, and I don’t suppose he was either.
My point is that uncles or aunts can build special bonds with their nephews and nieces. Given geographical realities, Zach’s and Nikki Dee’s aunts won’t be making weekly visits to drop quarters or the equivalent into eager hands. Over time, they will need to find their own ways to be positive influences in the lives of the kids. It’s important because the aunties will all too soon be the only closely extended family that Nikki Dee and Zachary will have.
I think the following pictures prove that the aunties are off to a good start.