Sunday, November 27, 2016

Day Twenty-Seven: Favorite Memory

Day 27: Record a memory of one of your ancestors that you want to pass down to future generations—a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. Set the scene: How old were each of you at the time? What happened? Why is this a memory you treasure?

When I was about 5 years old, I was visiting my grandparents in Greenville, South Carolina. At the same time, my Aunt Frances and her baby were also there. Aunt Frances was a beautiful woman...pretty as a movie star and glamorous in every way. I remember that either on that trip or another, she taught me how to make up a bed. To this day, I do it the very same way she taught me over 50 year ago!

On that visit, I also got to spend the night in the room with Aunt Frances and Baby George. It was a slumber party adventure for me, and I felt so grown up! She gave me a little purse mirror to remember her by...one she had gotten on one of her evenings at El Morocco in New York. Aunt Frances had lived since the 1950's and worked for Steuben...She lived in the New York of Breakfast at Tiffany's. I have treasured it every day since then and have it displayed where I can see it and where it will be safe. 


Betty, Frances, and Carolyn Isbell
My Aunt Frances was diagnosed with cancer, around the time of that special sleepover. I remember knowing that she was sick when we saw her the next year. When she came to the door at my great-aunt's house, I did not recognize her. I thought she was someone else. I remember, too, when my mother told me that Aunt Frances had gone to heaven. I was 6 years old, and I sat on Miss Betty's lap and just cried and cried and cried. It is my first memory of actually "weeping." 

Even today, when I think of her, I feel a twinge in my heart. I grieve that her son never got to know her growing up. I grieve that his children only know her by a few scattered stories from those of us who knew her when. But I rejoice that her precious granddaughter, Charlotte, looked EXACTLY like her as a baby...a resemblance that has remained as she has grown into a lovely young lady. I also rejoice that I have been able to share her story through this blog and even through websites such as NewYorkSocialDiary.com. One day soon I will give Charlotte this precious mirror and I hope that it will be a memory that she will take into adulthood and that she will be able to tell her grandmother's story to her own children one day. 


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