Aunt Beth, Sarah Beth and Florine, June, 1971, on the porch of the Little House in Cotulla, Texas
It's maybe an odd to thing to blog about but I have to. My Aunt Beth passed away today. She had a lovely long life full of adventure. Elizabeth was born on March 18, 1909 and was the oldest daughter of six. She never had her own children but was surrogate to her many nieces and nephews as the years went by. She taught school for 49 years in Cotulla, Texas. She visited almost every state with her husband, her mother and a niece or nephew in tow during summertime vacations. After she retired from teaching, she traveled all over Europe. She was a woman of faith, discipline, strength and humor. I never remember her being phased by much of anything. She introduced me to musicals with her record albums, showed me her pictures from her travels, told me stories about her life.
My mother and I lived with her in Cotulla in 1971 when my Dad was stationed in Viet Nam. My whole life I looked to her for approval and she never failed in giving it to me. She supported me with her love and her interest, and on occasion even served as my patron for the arts.
My family wants me to go on to Paris and celebrate her life rather than go to the memorial. Initially torn, I decided it was appropriate to go on. It seems ironic in a way, of all the places that Aunt Beth traveled, every state except Alaska and all over Europe, Paris was her least favorite.
The day before I moved to New York City almost five years ago, I took her to lunch. I was planning on spending the afternoon with her but when we reached her door, she turned to me and said, "Well, have a nice life."
I'm doing my best to live up to that edict.