When I would come to Aunt Betty’s, there were three things I looked forward to most; getting measured and marked on the measuring wall to see how much I had grown; drawing pictures at the kitchen table with her fancy markers; and stealing orange slices from the living room coffee table. Though my drawings were nowhere near masterpieces, she always encouraged me in my art and in turn encouraged my imagination. As an aspiring writer, imagination is everything. Her determination to continue her education, by taking writing classes, and writing heartfelt, imaginative stories, made me realize that I had just as much potential and creativity lurking within me.
I put together a video a few years ago for her 85th birthday, and put together the slideshow today, and I have to say that my eyes have been opened. Aunt Betty loved many things—flipping through her photobooks I found many pictures of flowers and landscapes, and interesting places from her travels. She loved nature, both the plants and animals, and even the rocks, as seen in her large rock collection; she looked most relaxed in the pictures taken of her in lush green forests, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, to name a few; she loved the world and its cultures, yet had a great appreciation for her hometown and her dearest friends and family.
After seeing all the lovely photos of flowers and animals that Aunt Betty took, a favorite quote of John Muir’s came to mind:
Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.
So I couldn’t really choose one thing to say about my Aunt--- I have so many great memories and stories in my heart of a woman who, in all actuality, really fit the bill of a grandma but held the high distinction and noble title of Aunt.