At a family celebration last evening, my daughter Katie, who finds it necessary to remind her parents of their increasing age, proclaimed that I am their ‘link to history’, since I am the oldest member of our little tribe. She said this while holding her 6 month old son on her lap.
Link to history, eh? I’ll take that. She joked of the days of rotary telephones and black and white TV. The old days, natch. Well, sure. Though my father is hanging on at the age of 90, I am a link to my children and now grandchild, to the family stories and events of not only the years I grew up, but the means of passing down the stories that I absorbed from my parents and grandparents.
When Katie was born we lived in the upstairs apartment of my Aunt Jule’s house, the house where my mother grew up, where her father died in 1935, the house my grandmother had trouble leaving. So she was born into history, in ways a little more intense than is common nowadays.
Aunt Jule was 92 when Katie was born and had just turned 95 when Michael was born. These two oldest of my children are the only ones who were born before Aunt Jule died close to her 96th birthday. She was a more than a link to history, she was a sturdy bridge. She was born in 1889 and lived until 1985. Two World Wars, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the rise of the suburbs, the turning life on its head nature of the Sixties, the Vietnam War, etc, etc.
When Katie was little she and I went down to visit Aunt Jule almost every afternoon to have tea. Aunt Jule kept of box of Peak Freen strawberry cream cookies that Katie would ‘steal’ on these visits. Aunt Jule told me so many stories of the people in her life, my ancestors and friends of my ancestors. She was better than a history book. Today would be her 120th birthday, and although she has been gone for 24 years now, she lives on in stories and in great affection in our family.
Happy Birthday, Aunt Jule!