“Those Were The Days”

My life has always been blessed with an abundance of relatives; our family reunions teemed with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a zillion cousins.  But now that I’m grown, with a family of my own, I have but one uncle and one aunt left.  The raucous family reunions now are those of my grown children. And raucous and fun they are!  However, I often miss those days of childhood, when I was the youngster running barefoot in the grass, slurping watermelon off my chin, getting scolded by the adults to “wait an hour before going swimming after eating!” In the evening, we’d sit outdoors and listen as the grown-ups would reminisce about times past.  We kids would hear stories about their childhoods, losing a loved one to sickness, perhaps a rare mention of the wartime, trips they’d taken,  their jobs.  Sometimes they would play music and we would all dance in the moonlight. Ahh. . . those were the days.

This week I will get on a plane and fly half way across the country to visit my last remaining Aunt – my Aunt Sally. Once again I will sit and listen to her reminisce about times past.  I will cherish hearing the stories of her childhood. Not all of these stories are pleasant. But they are her stories.  Aunt Sally helped develop in me a love of reading. She spent hours reading to me, making novels come alive. I can still picture us, curled up on my bed, engrossed in To Kill a Mockingbird. Those were the days.

photo (46)              Aunt Sally – instilled my love for reading.                              Aunt Pat – instilled my love for writing.

I will also grieve along with her as she has so recently lost her last remaining sister, my Aunt Pat.  We lost our sweet Pat two months ago to Alzheimer’s.  Her job took her all over the world, and receiving her letters was like reading a travel guide.  She helped develop in me a love for writing.  What fascinating tales she could weave through her letters!

photo (48)

Although I don’t see Aunt Sally and I dancing in the moonlight this coming week,  I definitely plan on hearing and telling a myriad of stories, as well as getting as much as possible written down for “little ears” at reunions once I’m back home.  Nothing would warm my heart more than to someday hear one of my grandchildren say about our get-togethers, “Ahhh, those were the days. . .”

The books I will share with you this month are all about sharing stories of home.  We’ll read about many different types of houses, but what makes them a home are the interesting and unusual stories that pour out of them.  Look around your house – oh yes! It is indeed filled to the brim with stories. Start sharing them!

Mary Byrne Kline
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