Ready for one more birthday post? I promise I have plans to post something that isn't birthday next week, but this beautiful lady is having a birthday today!
She has been my aunt my whole life, which means that she is turning something north of 70 today. I am well aware that you are never supposed to say a woman's age, so I'm not going to commit that sin in this post. While I know her age today, let's just simply say that I know my age, and Aunt R would have at least been older than 20 when I was born, so she must be something north of 70 but not quite 100 today. Regardless of the actual number, she is worth celebrating plus she has taught me a few things through the years.
Beyond that? Aunt R is one of only two left from this generation of The Original Eight.
I'm not sure if anyone else in our family calls these particular eight individuals "The Original Eight," but this is my pet name for them. You may not realize it, but this picture shows eight people from The Greatest Generation, so declared by Tom Brokaw. To my knowledge, all four of the men above served overseas in World War II. I believe all served in Europe rather than in the Pacific, but I can't guarantee that particular fact is accurate. And I'm pretty sure that all four couples married either during or just after WWII ended. Yep, these Original Eight gave birth to 17 Baby Boomers, 16 of whom lived to adulthood.
Who are they? Well the man on the left in red, is my Uncle L. He was the oldest of my mother's siblings. The lady behind him was his wife, Aunt S. Uncle L. only had sisters, so that makes the three ladies to her left my mother (2nd born), Aunt FB (which does NOT stand for "FaceBook", but her real birth certificate name combined with her nickname, the only name anyone in the family ever calls her), and finally our birthday girl, the baby of the family, Aunt R. Since they were seated and standing as couples, that makes the man in front of my mother my father, followed by Uncle O and Uncle B. The Original Eight. And of those eight? Only two are still around on this side of heaven - my Aunt FB and our lovely birthday girl, Aunt R. Therefore, she gets a birthday post about 5 of things she has taught me!
But before I start with that, one more thing about that pic above. It was taken at a family reunion in the Duncan Cabin at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Oklahoma in the early 1980's. (I never knew anybody who ever called it anything other than "Falls Creek", but Google says it's full name is that mouthful I typed up there.) This below pic was taken at that same reunion of the grandkids born at that time, and I am fairly certain almost all, if not all, are now parents themselves. I think I can only name about six of these little guys, but I bet Aunt R can name all of them!
Time. It marches. So feel free to take your best guess as to our birthday girl's age today, but this is more about remembering The Original Eight and the...
...5 things that Aunt R has taught me at one time or another.
5 - Think outside the box about home. Or at least marry someone who does. Aunt R and Uncle B had the coolest house in Duncan, OK, when I would get to visit as a kid. It was a two-story that was not particularly fancy (except for the dining room and living room), but to a kid, it was fascinating! For one thing, when you walked into the house from the car port, you entered the den. (Do people still call rooms "dens" any more?) To your right was the kitchen, and right in front of you was the everyday table. And just beyond that was the TV. Pretty normal stuff, right? EXCEPT! The TV was sorta magical, because it sat like "in" the wall - or really a cool hole in the wall between the den and Aunt R and Uncle B's bedroom. Cause see...the TV was on rollers and could be turned around to be watched in either room! How cool is that? Keep in mind that this was back in the days when a TV was a piece of furniture, like a table, and people didn't necessarily have 7.35 TVs in their house as a common thing.
But as cool as the TV Hole was, you wanna know the coolest thing at that house? Aunt R and Uncle B gave birth to three boys and one girl. My cousin, B, the girl, had a pretty girl's room on the first floor. But the boys had rooms upstairs. And I'm not sure exactly which one of the boys was the train enthusiast, and I only saw this live and in person once or twice, but the model trains were setup in one of the boys' rooms upstairs. Not necessarily a big deal, right? EXCEPT! The trains and tracks and village buildings were all set up on a large wood table without legs. I don't know the exact size, but this train table looked to be almost the size of the entire room. It hung from the ceiling and could be raised and lowered via a pulley system. Genius, right?! So yes, think outside the box about home.
4 - Use pecans. Cause...pecans. And if you coat them in butter and sugar, then really use them.
3 - Love generously. I have personally benefited from Aunt R's generosity more than once. Aunt R seems to believe family people like me are worth it.
2 - Stay on mission. Know your life's mission and stay on it, long after you may be something north of 70.
1 - Love your sister well. Especially when she's the only one you may have left this side of heaven.
Happy! Happy! Aunt R! Hope your birthday is wonderful, and I'm looking forward to seeing you and Aunt FB again very soon!!! Love you!