Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Rose by Any Other Name

Our family had a great Aunt Rose Shipley. She lived with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Their home was along the Monongahela River. We would visit on occasion and while the adults sat and talked, my Sister Kathy, Brother Ken, and I would sit on the cinder lined bank and watch the boats and barges go by. It was better than being cooped up inside, even though Aunt Rose was a cool old lady.

Aunt Rose had the most beautiful white hair that framed her wrinkled face with large soft curls. She had a pleasant laugh and a quick smile. It was rare that we ever saw her frown.
Sometimes she would visit my grandparent’s farm and stay for several weeks at a time. She would help cook, shell beans, peas, and bake. I can remember one time when she was helping with supper and ended up with the task of making gravy. She got frustrated and said, “Becky, there’s lumps in the damn gravy. I guess I’ll have to strain it.” That was the only time I ever heard her swear.
She always wore a dress that was lavender or had a lavender print. I was never sure whether it was her favorite color, but I do know it made her white hair look absolutely stunning.

Grandma had a long concrete front porch with cinder block Walls and pillars. It was cool in the summer and stayed dry in the winter, protected and sheltered by two tall hemlock trees. Grandma had two green Adirondack chairs, a love seat to match and a contour fitted swing. One day as Aunt Rose and Grandma were on the swing, I reached through the half-block air holes at the bottom of the wall and grabbed Aunt Rose’s ankle. She was startled, jumped up, and screamed. Just a youthful prank, but I always thought she had a twinkle in her eye when she saw me. I could be wrong, but I hope not.

When they weren’t n the porch, they were in the sitting room, not to be confused with the sitting parlor that was only used by special guests on special occasions, and watch television. Aunt Rose loved the Pirates until after winning the World Series they poured champagne over each other’s heads. When that happened, it dampened her desire to watch them and she was indifferent to their games and their standings.
For some reason I don’t remember her dying nor her funeral, so I guess that she still lives on in my memories.

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