My Aunt Katie, one of my mother’s older sisters, was born on Dec. 11, 1909. Although she died at the age of 22, long before I was born, I have always felt a “connection” with her. I remember that my grandmother had a photograph of her on the mantle and I would often just stare at it wondering what she had been like and wishing she had not died. Through the years I have heard the story of her death more than once. She developed blood poisoning due to a pimple on her face and died shortly after.
My favorite story about Katie actually involves something that happened many years ago when I was a young mother.
My grandmother had an old trunk in her house that had always been such a mystery to everyone...even her own children. Growing up I asked her many times if I could look in that trunk but she always would say, “There’s nothing in there.” But I never gave up hoping! Then it happened....one day my mother, my daughter (about 6 or 7 then), and I were on our way to visit Granny. On the way I told my daughter to ask my grandmother if she could look in the trunk, never believing for a minute that Granny would allow it. How surprised we all were when Granny gave the permission I had begged for for years!
As we slowly opened the trunk, I remember holding my breath and being scared to pieces that there really wouldn’t be anything in it! However, what treasures we found! There was an old flapper-style hat, some scrapbooks, and some writings that belonged to Katie. (There were a few other things, too, I believe but after all these years I don’t remember.) I do remember holding the scrapbook and turning the brittle, yellowed pages carefully and feeling a closeness to Aunt Katie that was “familiar” even though I had never met her.
The scrapbook was filled with priceless mementoes including newspaper clippings, cards, notes about parties & dates, and even an old cigar band and some chewing gum wrappers from boys she had dated.
There were school assignments, notes to friends, and many song lyrics and poems that Katie had either copied or penned herself. Some things she had written were true...others came from her vivid and romantic imagination.
I especially like this...it's about my Uncle Harold.
Just thinking of this moment still brings a rush of warm feelings through my soul. We closed the trunk and I think all of us...Granny, Mama, my daughter, and me...knew that a special memory had been made that day.
Years later my grandmother died and Katie’s treasures went home with my mother. Then years after that Mama gave them to me...and they are some of my most prized possessions. I remember finally having the time to sit down and really read through everything in the scrapbook and the writings and then I realized why I had always felt such a connection to my Aunt Katie...we were “soul sisters”. We seem to have three things in common...scrapbooking (I too have gum wrappers from high school days!), writing, and romance.
I’m so sorry that I never knew my Aunt Katie, but I feel sure that when I get to Heaven...I will know her right away.