Before I get back into the “baseball” story, I want to go in a different direction today. My mom and stepdad are in Kansas right now. Yesterday, they attended a memorial for my great aunt Louise. Lou, as everyone called her, died on March 17th of this year.
I’m thinking of Lou today, and my mom, and my granny. I’m thinking of my two surviving great aunts, Lois and Delores (aka Dee). I’m thinking of my aunt Julie, my cool second cousins, and the whole Kansas family. I’m thinking I wish I could be there, to soak up just a little bit more of that part of me and learn about that part of my family tree.
It’s strange to know you have a bunch of people out there you are related to and know a little bit, in some cases, and a bit more in others. There is a whole other life, of some sort, out there for many of us to be part of if we were just able to spend more time in a different city or state.
I wish I could say that I knew my great aunt Lou well. I loved it when she would visit Phoenix and she was always so nice. She had red hair, like my grandmother, and always had a warmth to her that I wish my granny could have embraced a bit more in her life. Lou was very accomplished, too. She was the caretaker and tour guide for Amelia Earhart’s birthplace in Atchison, Kansas for thirty years. Over that time, she became an expert on Earhart and was invited to participate in several really cool trips around the globe related to the legendary pilot.
Regret comes to mind as I type this. I wish I would have taken advantage of the opportunities I had when Aunt Lou was in town to get to know her better and learn more about the job she loved. How fascinating her life must have been taking care of Earhart’s birth home. My mom was telling me that a man from Ukraine called my second cousin to offer condolences. He visited Earhart’s home every year, supposedly, and became friends with Lou over that time. What an honor to think that he would have wanted to express his condolences during an invasion.
I will never be able to see her again, though, and I will miss her. Just as I miss my great aunt Joann who died a few years ago. Joann lived down in Green Valley, outside of Tucson, so I got to see her a bit more over the years. I loved her, too, and my great uncle Dick, who died a decade or so earlier.
Granny is the oldest of five sisters. Their maiden name was McNair and my mom and aunt dubbed them “MawMacs” many years ago. It is a fitting moniker on many levels. They came from a tiny, mighty mother, my great grandmother, Ruth, who was a favorite of mine, too. I have a picture somewhere of five generations all together from just after Teresa was born. Ruth made it to 101, so I come from some decent stock. Ruth had the best twinkle in her eye and always made me feel just as loved as any of her many, many grandchildren, great or otherwise.
Lou and Jo were younger than Granny by a few years. Aunt Lou had a twin sister, my great aunt Lois, who was the one who bought Easy Street in 1979 or so. I know her the best of my granny’s sisters because she lived here. As a small person, I spent time with Lois. I remember that she took me to Legend City, for example, when IBM had a holiday party there. She worked for IBM before buying Easy Street.
Lois had the coolest little dog, Humphrey, who was one of the puppies from a dog my mom and I found one day when she lived in Paradise Valley. My mom and her boyfriend, Bill, adopted this dog and Bill named her “Killer.” I loved Killer so much. She was small in stature, like a “MawMac” and mighty. She had some Scottish Terrier in her, for sure, and probably a few other types of terriers, too.
At some point, I’m guessing around 1980, Killer got out and got pregnant by at least three different dogs. She had six puppies and they all looked very different. Humphrey was an odd-looking dog. Kind of a brindle, mostly brown, with big floppy ears like a basset hound but with a terrier face. He won a contest for the ugliest dog or something like that and was crowned King of the Mutts by Miss Kitty herself, Amanda Blake. The picture hung in Easy Street during the years Aunt Lois owned the restaurant.
Eventually Lois sold Easy Street to my mom and aunt Julie, and she moved back to Kansas. I remember being sad when she left. It felt like the end of an era in my life. At one point, my mom and Lois bought a house together over by the Rhythm Room near 10th Street and Fairmount. I would stay there on the weekends my mom had me and in the summer for weeks at a time. It was during these times I would work at Easy Street and carry out plates, take the garbage out, and try to stay out of everyone else’s way.
The house they shared was haunted, by the way. The theory was that the man who built the house had died there and had never left. I experienced a few very strange things while they had that house. I would sleep in the living room on the couch when I was there and, every once in a while, the big piano Lois owned (and played somewhat terribly), would make noise when no one was playing it and the key guard was down. I did not like being alone there for a lot of reasons.
I didn’t even get to my great aunt Delores. I guess I’ll have to talk about her another time. She may be the most interesting “MawMac” of them all.
See you tomorrow.
Stole this from the internet.
I wonder what she would have liked to have listened to...I'm guessing she might have loved her some Patsy Cline.