Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Aunt Toodles

Aunt Toodles knew everyone else a lot better than anyone knew her. She was the most empathic person I've ever known. It was her gift.

Whether you were sick or upset about something, Toodles always knew exactly how you were feeling. She not only listened, but put herself in your place. Without fail she knew precisely what to do to make you feel better.

You're thinking she always knew the right thing to do because she knew me so well. Perhaps. We did share a very special bond. But it wasn't just me.

Toodles had close relationships with lots of people. At her funeral, I lost count of everyone who told me they had just lost their best friend in the world. I knew exactly how they felt, but unlike my Aunt could find no words to comfort them.

Through the eyes of the child I was when our paths first crossed, Toodles was a cross between Barney the Dinosaur and Mary Poppins. Every interaction was special, every outing an adventure. I adored her. We all did.

As soon as I could walk she took me shopping. We'd ride the bus downtown, shop, and have lunch at Woolworth's. I'd pick out dresses and tell her she'd look beautiful wearing them. She was always the most beautiful woman in the room to me.

Until she married (at age 50), Toodles lived alone. I remember an apartment on Mill Street, a little house on Hummingbird Lane, and an apartment on Royalty Court. Between work and her social life, she wasn't home much. She wasn't much of a homemaker either. Every few years a troop of cousins would descend upon her place to clean and restore order.

Before she married Alex, Toodles lived paycheck to paycheck. When I was a struggling student and college dropout, we both got paid every two weeks on opposite Fridays. We had lunch together every Friday for years. Whoever got paid that week picked up the tab and gave the other person $20.

When I lived alone and was too sick to get out of bed, Aunt Toodles would appear with bags full of groceries, over-the-counter medicines, and magazines. I never called to tell her I was sick or needed something. Didn't have to. She always just showed up. She did the same thing when I was growing up.

Eventually I moved in to the apartment on Royalty Court with her. A few months later she announced she was marrying Alex. They married on Valentine's Day. Ever after she said her life began at 50.

I miss you Toodles....

1 comment:

jg said...

Michael....Through tears, I gotta tell ya--that was sooooo beautiful!
Such a wonderful way to honor her loving ways. I'm sad to have missed the closeness that I might have shared if I'd lived in closer proximity. So glad you connected with her on so many levels. My parents loved her, I loved her, and she'll live on always---in our hearts! Thanks & hugs. xooooooo

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