Friday, November 21, 2008

Aunt Toodles

Everyone should have an Aunt Toodles. My mother (now 70) was the baby of 8. Toodles was the next youngest and four years older. She was fiercely protective of my mother, and from the time I was born, loved me more than just about anything else in the world. At least she always made me feel that way. I can certainly say that I love her more than anyone I have ever known.

Toodles was a large woman. Obese, really, but also pretty and outgoing. She was larger than life in just about every way. She always wore gigantic jewelry and carried huge purses because she felt like it made her look smaller than she was. Especially when I was kid, she usually wore flattering skirts and heels. She also wore Tabu perfume. If you've never caught a whiff of Tabu, it's not the least bit subtle. It hits your nose like a prize fighter.

My earliest memories are scented with Tabu. It's loud and obnoxious I know, but for me it's the sweet smell of love. Toodles was around a lot when I was small. She lived with us for a short time, and spent the night at our house often--into my teen years. She was single, 24 when I was born, and the kind of woman that tended to make a party wherever she was. I swear she lived with us for years, but Mom says it was only for a few months sometime before my sister was born.

I had my own room with twin beds until age four when my sister was born. Toodles always slept in the other bed when she spent the night. She told me about creeping in drunk trying not to make any noise, and of course, waking toddler me up. She'd fall in to bed and wake up with me beside her, and a wet washcloth neatly folded across her forehead. Eventually she found out I was dipping the washcloth in the toilet to get it wet.

For years before she died, we talked on the phone for an hour or so, two or three times a week. Man I miss those conversations! A sample.... Toodles knew that I enjoyed gay chat rooms. I told her it was a good way to meet people. She didn't like the idea of a chat room--couldn't see why anyone would ever want to do that. Now Toodles was about the most social animal I have ever encountered. So I just couldn't imagine why she was so cool toward chat rooms.

So one day I asked her what she thought a chat room was. Toodles explained that you went to chat rooms to sit around naked with other people to watch porn on the Internet. Even with that image of a chat room, she never in any way suggested or even hinted that going to a chat room was something I shouldn't do.

She thought my first ex, Tom, was someone I took on as a project. She felt sorry for him, but was never wild about us being together. I doubt he ever even suspected in the 12 years we were together that she was other than thrilled. She hated my second ex--though Kevin never knew it either. Turns out, she saw right away what it took me five years to figure out about Kevin. With #3--my current main squeeze, she was opposed at first because she was sure this guy half my age was just using me. Didn't take her long to come around. Before she died she told me how happy she was that I had finally found someone I deserved. Now that she's gone, I'm so glad that he got to meet her.

Everyone should have an Aunt Toodles. She loved me absolutely and unconditionally. I don't know what I would have done without her during the early years of coming out. In fact, I really can't conceive of how different I would be without this enormous love in my life. I'll have to blog about her again. There are a million wild Toodles tales to tell. She always wanted me to write a book. She would be thrilled to know I blog--if I could ever get her to understand what that means!

No comments:

Follow CrotchetyMan on Twitter