I am getting to know my great aunt.. Her name is Hattie; she is my father's mother's sister. That mekes her my great aunt. She is almost 96 years old, a tiny, wizened old woman with a crown of fluffy, white hair and skin darkened by the sun. She reminds me of a shriveled up apple; yet her presence demands respect.
Great Aunt Hattie is staying with us for a few months. It was Dad's idea. He got tired of seeing her sitting day after day after day in the nursing home where she lives, so he brought her here to stay with our family as a change of pace for her.
It's made a world of difference, he says.
My great aunt smells like roses and baby powder. She smells clean. She cannot walk (she is in a wheelchair), but even from her chair, she rules with an iron fist (or should that be CANE??). Whatever Great Aunt Hattie wants, Great Aunt Hattie shall get! It's that simple!
Great Aunt Hattie is very set in her ways. She does not approve of the kids of today: in her day, kids were taught to be seen and not heard. Kids were taught to respect their elders and were often disciplined and punished. She does not approve of this "modern parenting", as she's come to call it. She says today's kids are downright disrespectful and rude (though I don't think I am!) and that today's parents have absolutely no clue about "child-rearin'".
Great Aunt Hattie has already made her point clear on how she feels about how kids dress. I had on a fairly skin tight shirt on the other day (nothing too revealing), but Great Aunt Hattie made me change it because she said it made me look fat. It hurt my feelings, but just to humor her, I put on a shirt that was "more appropriate" for a "girl my age" and didn't say a word. I was annoyed for a while with Great Aunt Hattie, but after a while, we played several rounds of gin rummy and my anger towards her was forgotten.
Through my great aunt, I am learning about values and respect. Maybe having her is a good thing. It's made me think about how I present myself to others and how I should treat people. At times it is very hard to deal with her ideals and her "persnikety-ness", but my great aunt means well; she's harmless, I keep reminding myself. I just hope that I can learn to see her as a valued family member and not just a tiny, wizened little old lady who is so set in her ways!
~To be continued.~