Wild Thing

Sometimes the people who shape our lives do so without meaning to and sometimes without us even realizing it.

I had just such a revelation this past weekend. It happened somewhere between the lobsters and the lamb chops and I don’t recall how I happened upon her. She was all of a sudden in the middle of our dinner.

Aunt Boo. She was one of my father’s aunts so that made her a great aunt to me. I honestly only remember being around her a couple of times but she apparently left quite an impression on my 5 or 6 year old little brain.

I should also add that being 5 or 6; my memory might be mixed with my imagination of that time. I spent so much time in my head, which was usually a lot safer than what was going on around me. Not that anyone noticed. I was a quiet, adorable little piece of blonde fluff with enormous, blinking blue eyes that was easily and often overlooked.

Quiet yes, but I was always paying attention. That in itself taught me a valuable lesson that carries over today. There are worse things than being an overlooked piece of blonde fluff. This fluff has been privy to things that would’ve otherwise gotten me swept from the room if I was thought to have half a brain behind these big blue eyes.

I guess it’s a part of the process of getting older all these revelations I seem to have regarding my mother. Oh yes, this is also tied to her. Maybe because I feel robbed of what our relationship could’ve grown into that I dissect the hell out of the one we had up until she died.

I’m not entirely sure but somewhere between knowing that my mother and I are more different than the same Aunt Boo came bursting into the room.

My most vivid memory of her is just that. Aunt Boo, bursting into that apartment on the second floor of the duplex on Central Avenue in Albany, NY.

The duplex was a white building that my father’s parents and his grandmother lived in at the time, 1966-ish.

I didn’t always like my time spent there. Always felt dumped off rather than dropped but I have lots of memories anyway. Of the ally that ran down the side from front to back and the metal gates you had to go through on the way to the back yard. The parking lot beyond the fenced in yard that seemed to go on forever, honestly, that lot is a black hole in my memory. The wonderful smell of Grandma Nelson’s chicken and biscuits cooking in the kitchen, filling the house. The porch that you went out of a French door off a funny little side room adjacent to the living room so like the one my oldest brother called his bedroom off the living room in our duplex.

I spent one whole afternoon singing: I’m Henry the Eighth, by Herman’s Hermits, in rocking chairs on that porch with my cousin Jenny from Long Island till the entire city was ready to throw us both over the side.

But back to Aunt Boo who had short-cropped hair which was blondish, there was not an ounce of fat on her slim frame, a trait she shared with her mother, my great grandma Nelson. Wiry, spunky and a party ready to happen she was. I was immediately drawn to her like a moth to a flame. From afar, but drawn.

She wasn’t loud but when she was talking the whole world listened and watched as she punctuated everything with sweeping gestures. She smoked and in my head those cigarettes became cigars and Aunt Boo became Annie Oakley or Bonnie Parker. She was pure magic. She didn’t have a man she was attached to and somehow my very immature little girl head knew she didn’t need one. She was complete all on her own. She wore dresses that neither flattered nor detracted from her and yet I knew she turned heads regardless. She had an energy that was palatable and when she left the room was somehow colder and less bright.

I have no idea what ever became of her.

But there she was on Saturday night somewhere between the lamb chops and the lobster of the Hubster’s and my Valentine’s dinner that I had prepared.

And as she bubbled out of me I realized that although she played a brief moment or two in the life of a 5 or 6-year-old little blonde piece of fluff, she left an indelible imprint behind those blinking blue eyes.

The awareness that a woman is more than the sum of the men in her life or the food and people that she nurtures. She is a force all her own and one to be reckoned with.

The wild woman in me raises a glass to the wild woman in you and reminds you to embrace her. The world is waiting.
posted by Angel @ 9:58 PM |


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