Friday, March 11, 2011

My Aunt Katie


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.

13 comments:

Trey said...

Ske looks like Grandmama!!

Theresa said...

Oh dear Cheri, what a sweet and heart-warming look back on that special day! I know that your Aunt Katie was a really wonderful lady! Heaven is brighter with her in it!

Have a blessed day my friend, HUGS!

yaya said...

You don't have to be in heaven to know your Aunt Katie..you are blessed with parts of her that were kept in that wonderful trunk. Her handwriting, her thoughts, her life in little snipets. This is one reason why I blog..to record my seemingly simple life, but when looked at over a year, it's me that comes through and putting it in book form every year will be something my kiddos will look back on. Even though you only have a tiny piece of her very short life, you have felt her spirit through all that was saved. Our families can be forever and I know they are closer than we think. I'm glad you have that wonderful treasure.

Mary said...

Beautiful story, beautiful treasures..it's wonderful that you eventually got to have them !

Shellbelle said...

What an incredible way to honor someone who passed way too soon and what amazing treasures to have now. I'm very interested in the story she wrote about J L White from Waycross. There's a street in Waycross named J L White Drive. Could it be the same guy?

My maternal grandmother passed away when my mother was 10 and it was only a few years ago that I received a portrait photo of her from a relative. My mother never knew it existed and she only had one tiny family picture taken in the Okefenokee from when she was a child.

btw, I love that the one young woman in that photo looks so much like you! That was such fun to learn. And those shells? Honey, I promised my cousin yesterday that I would come for Thanksgiving this year…I'm just saying, I'll be happy to take them off your hands, lol.

Jojo said...

That is such a wonderful story and I'm so glad you finally received Aunt Katie's things. I always think the greatest gift we can give our diseased loved ones is to love them when they leave this earth.

NitWit1 said...

You are so fortunate to have finally become the keeper of Aunt Katie's scrapbook and other memories.

Indeed you will know her in the Heaven. We will all know each other.

Molly said...

This is so neat!! I love reading stuff like this!
We have some of Pop's grandmothers things in our attic that mom found the other day. An old swimsuit, some shoes and her doll. I plan on taking pictures of them and posting them. They're from the 1800s! So cool! (The doll is kinda scary.... she has no eyes!)

bj said...

What a fabulous post. She is the cutest thing, in those little round glasses.
How romantic that you feel connected to her in some way. I do have the feeling, too, that you and she will know each other in Heaven. What a wonderful thing to look forward to.:)

Thanks for stopping by today. I love it when you visit. Don't ever feel that you have "nothing to say"...because you do..and you have a great blog.
Next time you feel a little down about your blogging, get a small glass of Blackberry wine and a BIG piece of chocolate and remember that we LOVE what you blog about.:))
hugs...bj

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Cheri...this has to be one of my favorite posts of all time! It's simply beautiful in that it lets us know you better, and your family and little girl. Even your Uncle.

You will meet one day...and it will be like the day you looked in the trunk...the connection will be there...
Hugs,
Mona

Donna @ The House on the Corner said...

Oh Cheri!!! Don't all of us which we had a trunk in the attic filled with such treasures!! I almost stopped breathing just reading your post ~ I can just imagine you standing there, watching the lid open after all those years of imagining what was inside!!!

What a tragic story of a beautiful young girl's death. We take things so for granted now days and can't even imagine how fragile life truly is.

Diann said...

What a sweet and heart warming post! And what a treasure you have.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Aaaaah, I loved reading this Cheri!
What a beautiful post! And how wonderful that you got to keep these treasures.
Isn't it amazing that people died from a zit back then? Hubby's Grandmother died shortly after childbirth from an infection.
I'm glad things are better that way.
Hugs to you,
Cindy