Saturday, June 23, 2012

Remembering Aunt Betty and Tyotya Vera

One year ago yesterday, my mother's sister Betty passed away at age 87.  She'd had a full life and the last few years had found it increasingly difficult to get around. She started out as a school teacher but gave it up for motherhood and community service, serving on various boards such as Coop or the local museum.  She and Uncle Vince were two of our best friends when we lived in Kindersley

Uncle Vince, who passed away 6 years ago, was a grain buyer for Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and the family spent several years at Fiske (close to Rosetown) and finally Kindersley, neither place too far from our farm.  When we were kids, our families loved to get together as their three girls were the ages of us three oldest.  The oldest daughter Joyce was the same age as me. (Well, three weeks and three days older, a source of misery to me when we were young and infinite joy when we were older).

My last visit with Aunt Betty in 2009
When we were pre-teen, we sometimes got to spend a week in summer at their place.  aunt Betty was always full of fun but you knew where the fences were, too.

When I was a kid, my world revolved around us 15 cousins.  My four grandparents, my dad's three sisters and their spouses and my mom's two sisters and their spouses all lived within a two hour drive at worst and both sides of the family knew each other well.  Aunt Betty was the last of the "adults".  Makes a person feel mortal.
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Yesterday was the funeral in Beli Yar, near Abakan, for Tanya's Tyotya (Aunt) Vera.  She was 74, had lost a leg to diabetes two years ago which did not slow her down but she had a stroke a few weeks back and didn't recover from it. Vera was the youngest of Tanya's five Aunts, her mother's sisters.  Vera and Anatoli, who passed away three years ago, worked in the Taiga, away north of Krasnoyarsk for several years, then moved to Murmansk where Natalie and Andrei were born.  When they retired about 20 years ago, they moved back to Beli Yar, driving their Mosckvich the entire distance home.

Vera got to babysit her great-grandson Tolik (Anatoli) for the past three years as she lived with her daughter Natasha and granddaughter Katya. Tolic brought her a great deal of pleasure as he is a happy mischievous little guy, though when he loosened the wheels on her chair and they fell off leaving her sitting in a heap on the floor, I am not sure how amused she was.

Vera, Tanya, Natasha and Tolia (Tolik, Anatoli) 2011
Tanya's family was always very close, too.  Even when they lived far apart, they would always come home to Kalegina  or Beli Yar in summer and Tanya keeps in close touch with her cousins and second-cousins by Skype, including her cousin Nadia in Chelyabinsk where Tanya's remaining Aunt, Tyotya Natasha lives with her. The older you get the more you realize how important it is to have family.



1 comment:

  1. I have one aunt still living at age 90 in the US. This reminds me that I should phone her again soon.

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