Not many people live to be 100, but my Aunt Faye did. She died two weeks after her 100th birthday on January 2nd. I thought that I wouldn’t cry. She had lived a long and full life, but I surprised myself by how sad I was. I saw the pictures of her. Some of them brought back warm memories. Other pictures showed the essence of what made her the person she was.
My favorite memory of my aunt Faye was the first time she met my baby gitl. She looked down and with awe in her voice, she said “Oh, what a sweet dolly!” The love that I heard in her voice stole my breath away. She never had children of her own, so her nieces and nephews meant the world to her. I remember spending one Christmas Eve at her house when I was young. I was afraid that Santa wouldn’t be able to find me. Aunt Faye told me not to worry that she had told Santa where to find me. When I woke up the next morning, it was obvious Santa had some help because there were a lot of presents.
Aunt Faye survived some of he hardest times that our country has gone through in the last 100 years. She married Uncle George during the Great Depression. She traveled with him while he sold auto parts. They made it through that and World War II. During her lifetime, she owned Dairy Sweet and then when I was in elementary school she owned a paint store. She also sold gifts in the store. She would come to the city where we lived to buy things for the store. I loved going with her and seeing all of the neat things that she bought.
She taught me so much. She taught me to work hard and to be a fighter. She was tenacious and had remarkable perseverance. If I could only use one word to describe her, it would be spunky. Uncle George died 25 years before Aunt Faye, but she lived her life. She had her own apartment in a senor center for years. She had friends and learned to go on with her life. Even as her mind went in the nursing home, she was still spunky and ornery, sometimes a little too much. She knew her own mind.
I hope that I can take some of that spunk and tenacity with me as a tribute to her.