Tuesday, March 15, 2005

In Memoriam: Auntie Eva


In Memoriam: Auntie Eva
Originally uploaded by panopticon.

It was one year ago that my Aunt Eva died. She was just shy of 56 years old.

All my life Aunt Eva had a unique place in my heart. She was my Auntie Mame figure.

She had no children of her own to spoil, and from the minute I was born she decided was an angel on earth, if not the actual Second Coming. It's nice to have someone think that of you - even when you know perfectly well it's untrue and undeserved.

In my childhood, I was berated on an almost daily basis for my innate love of reading, drawing, and pretty things, all of which were considered sissified and shameful.

But what others criticized, Aunt Eva encouraged. She surrounded herself with objects of beauty and didn't blame me for wanting to do the same.

In my first memory of her, we're in a gift shop. It smells of eucalyptus. She's holding up a stained glass butterfly to the light and asking me to admire it.

It's fitting. We shopped almost every time I visited her as a child. Marathon trips, starting with a grand restaurant breakfast, pausing for lunch at some place with hushed conversation and nice china, and ending as the stores were closing for the night.

She never bought me a baseball, a hockey stick, or a soccer ball because that was what I, as a boy, "supposed" to want.

Instead, I remember birthday boxes full of goodies of every description, most of which nobody else would have given me. Always lots of books. Beautiful books, my favorite thing in the world (then and now). And every one of them inscribed "With Love from Auntie Eva XOXO" in her clear, almost calligraphic hand.

But it wasn't the presents, really it wasn't. It was the message behind them: You're okay, there's nothing wrong with liking the things you like, and I love you the way you are, no matter what.

Any gay man or woman reading this - or any straight man or woman who didn't fit the description of "normal" as a child - will appreciate how much that means.

I miss you, Auntie Eva. Wherever you are, I hope the stores are open late, your credit is unlimited, and they have your size in every color.

I'll never forget you.

13 comments:

Jon said...

You are very, very lucky to have a special person like Eva in your life. What a wonderful tribute...

leah said...

I believe there is a very special place in Heaven for the likes of your Auntie Eva.

markknitz said...

what a wonderful tribute. she sounds like a truly lovely person. it's so great to have someone get you at any age. what a blessing.

Elaine Haig-Widner said...

Three cheers for Auntie Eva - through your post you have given each of us some Auntie.

You are wonderful, and I love your blog. I bet Auntie Eva would eat up every word, and show it to her friends so they could see how pretty it is.

Anonymous said...

I love your Auntie Eva! After reading your post, even I miss her. Your words are beautiful, and I'm for certain she knew exactly how you felt about her before she passed from this world.
I think she was put here, just for you. And vice-versa. Tell you what, I'm going to look for her, whenever I go. I bet she'd be a hoot to go shopping with (she and I could trade clothes) and, anyone who can appreciate a person for themselves- without all that "baggage" of definitions the "world" places on us-- she's a person worth knowing and loving. I'm sending hugs your way as you continue to live each day without her physical presence. It's hard, I know.

When you get a chance, do tell more about Auntie Eva. I bet she had some great sayings we could all use to think about today.

bluFELICIA
http://blufelicia.typepad.com

Buzz said...

I know how much you miss her and how hard that time was for you. Im sure she would be happy you are thriving and enjoying the new things in your life.

Colleen said...

What a lovely tribute, Franklin. You made md cry.

Colleen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Colleen said...

What a lovely tribute, Franklin. You made md cry.

Anonymous said...

That was pretty cool.
I used to be afraid that I'd become the "weird" aunt when I grew up. I have an aunt that Eva reminded me of, she always gave the cool gifts.. not the jewelry or sweaters I'd never wear, but the books & videos I still have. I finally realized it'll be okay if I am a weird aunt :)

Bliss said...

What a beautiful tribute. What every child needs more than anything else is a huge dose of unconditional love. Parents are rarely equipped to do that, fearing it interferes with discipline or some other nonsense. For me it was my grandmother.

Cheers to Aunt Eva, it looks like she did a wonderful job.

moiraeknits said...

This was a lovely post, and a wonderful tribute. I think everyone should have someone in their lives like your Auntie Eva. You're a lucky man. :)

Anonymous said...

My grandmother was like that for me and my sister. We were her favorite grandchildren, when no other relative, besides our parents and each other, regarded us much. When the time comes, I hope to make my children, and my sister's children, feel the way your Auntie Eva made you feel, and the way my grandmother and mother made us feel. Thanks, Franklin, and my sympathies on your loss.