Many people played an important part in my life and helped me to be the person I am.
| Remembering Aunt Vi
As I get older I notice so many changes that are part of our new world and our way of life. For example, names we give our children today are different. Where did all the old names go? Remember Dorothy, Edward, Frank, John and so many others I could fill a page with names we never hear today. When I was young girls were quite often named after flowers. My favorite Aunt's name was Violet and let's not forget Aunt Daisy. Let's see there was also cousin Lillie and our neighbor Rose. Classmates were Ester, Dahlia and, let's not forget Tulip. Yes I really had a classmate name Tulip,and the one I had a crush on was Gardenia.
My Dad's family were all Irish and his sister was Violet, one of my favorite people who made a big mark in my life. When I was in kindergarten our teacher would have all the class skip around the room each day. There was only one little guy who could not get the hang of it. Seems I had two left feet and they got mixed up when I tried to skip. One Friday my teacher told me that if I could learn how to skip over the weekend she would give me a penny. Saturday morning found me out front of our house trying to skip. Along came my buddy Aunt Vi wanting to know what I was doing. I explained my chance to get rich if only I could learn to skip. For the next couple hours Aunt Vi and I skipped all over the neighborhood and I finally got the hang of it. Monday morning my teacher asked if I had learned to skip, I jumped up and skipped around the room twice. My classmates laughed and applauder. The next day I showed Vi my penny.
To our family she was just plain Vi and always there when you needed help. My uncle found an old two wheeler bike and gave it to me. Once again I just could not get the hang of it until along came good old Vi and for the next couple hours she chased me up and down the street and when I finally got the hang of it Vi had to sit on our porch to get her breath back. Several neighbors were were outside to watch the excitement and cheer me on. It was the depression time everyone tried to find ways to make extra money and Aunt Vi was always coming up with something new. At that time Vi lived on the second floor of a three story flat and on the first floor lived another Irish family with a daughter seven years old who had a wonderful singing voice. Each evening Vi would get Mary all dressed up in a homemade costume. Next she would get me all dressed up in shorts with a beret on my head and off we would go to visit local Irish bars. Vi would walk into the bar and ask the bartender, “Excuse me sir, she would say, “Would you be minding if I had this sweet little girl sing a couple good old Irish songs for your customer.” The bartender replied,” OK, but she better be good.” “And would you be minding if the little boy would be passing his hat around, just in case someone would want to help the little one's in these hard times?”
So Mary would sing her first song, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”This always got everyone’s attention and after a few more songs I would pass the hat around to the customers including the bartender. He was always a good soft touch. After we picked all we could from that bar we would move on to another pub. Everyone was poor back then but somehow there was always some extra change for a couple beers. We would visit several pubs each night and when the evening was over VI divided the money up and we always made a dollar two for the evenings work. I'll never forget at one pub a man asked me if I could dance an Irish Jig and I said yes sir. He reached into his pocket and came out with a hand full of change. “Show me an Irish Jig and I'll give you all this change.” Well at six years old I had no idea what a Jig was but I started to stomp my feet and dance around for about a minute and then I held out my hat. “I never saw an Irish Jig like that before but you tried so here is your reward” Vi said I could keep the change all for myself but when I got home that night I gave my mom my hand full of change all seventeen cents. This was the first time I ever got paid for doing a job.
Aunt VI always lived at home to take care of her widowed mom and stayed there until grandma passed on and then she moved into a third family attic where she remained for the rest of her life. When World War 11 started VI got a job in defense plant making aircraft engines. She was always good at whatever she did and when some big shot senators from Washington visited the factory they had to stop and visit Vi at her work station and thank her for her good work. After the war she went to nursing school and became a registered nurse and could always find work. For the rest of her life she lived alone and now rests in Laurel Grove Cemetery. When I sit back and rest my eyes I can still hear her good old Irish laugh. I'm sure she spends her time taking care of grandma and I'll bet she has found another little boy to teach how to skip or ride a bicycle. “Miss you Vi .”