Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aunda


This is my great aunt, who turned 88 yesterday. (She's seated in one of the many antique dens in the RM's father's house at the Father's Day BBQ this year--she would be very affronted if she thought you thought that was HER chair, which is why I'm bothering to tell you.)

Long-timers will recognize the Aunda from some previous posts. She's my favorite. She's a big storyteller as well as a formidable cook (please take the adjective "formidable" as not necessarily uniquely applying to the cooking). My grandmother had a bad accident when I was 5 years old, and has never been the lynch pin of our family (in my memory, at least, but very possibly before, as well). That has always been the Aunda, her sister, who cooks for all the holidays and dutifully passes along everyone's gossip. I think (I think) that at this point in her life she has ceased to regret that, as she might put it, God didn't give her any children of her own, but the rest of us--"us" being my mom's five brothers, their many kids, and now *their* kids--lucked out to have her to ourselves, because we had her to stand in when her sister was unwilling/unable.

I know a lot of people are doing NaNoWriMo, and I've signed up too. My goal isn't to write a novel during November, but it is to put aside time everyday for a month to write down some of the stories she's told me. If I post a little less frequently in November, you'll know why.

21 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

That's a great plan for the month. I videotaped interviews with my grandmother when she was 99 and again at 100. Priceless stuff, especially as it includes an interview with my niece who died when she was 17.

Laurel said...

Moonrat:

I had the privilege of doing this with my grandfather when he was 97. He lost his second wife near the end of my pregnancy and I used my maternity leave to spend as much time with him as I could and scanned all his old photos and documents into my laptop. I started typing the stories while he told them.

It made an awesome DVD slideshow/story collection for our entire extended family. You could get your holiday gifting done during NaNoWriMo!

writtenwyrdd said...

You know what might give your aunda a real charge is if you get her to participate by having her record some stories of her past. Then you can transcribe them for the family.

(And you can go to the Expresso machine at Harvard Book Store and print as many copies you like, lol.)

If you want, a number of blogging pals are doing our own NaNo support blog, and many of us are not following the normal NaNo 'start a new project, write 50k' so you are welcome to join in if you want. blogfriends2009.blogspot.com

beth said...

That is the single greatest NaNoWriMo plan I've heard all month.

Nikki B said...

Sounds like an amazing NaNo project to me! Much more of a plan than I have. I'm under Fata Scribunda if you are looking for a writing buddy :)

Anna Claire said...

I LOVE your idea. I audio-recorded my granddad telling stories a couple of years ago in the kitchen at my grandparents' house. His mind had already started to wander by that point and I regret not doing it earlier. He passed away a year ago Nov. 21 and I hope to have his stories transcribed for my grandmother by then. I never thought about doing it for NaNoWriMo, but that's a completely fabulous idea.

Dreamstate said...

This brings tears to my eyes! What a wonderful idea. And at the risk of opening up a big tin of wriggly things, I would definitely direct all of you capturing your family memories to Lulu. A friend of mine did this (absolutely no intention to sell the self-published work). But for less than $5 each, he had nice little books that he gave to family for Christmas. *sniff sniff* I'm such a softie I'm welling up just thinking of it.

Lydia Sharp said...

Awww...*sniffles* Good for you. :)

And Laurel, I liked your post, too. My maternal grandfather died at a very emotional time for me (not nearly as emotional as being pregnant, though!), the month before my wedding.

But what still haunts me, is that right after high school graduation, I had planned on spending the summer with my paternal grandmother (authentic Italian...someone was finally going to teach me how to freaking cook!) and she died of a heart attack a week after my grad party. I never got to spend that precious time with her, so when I see that other people have seized opportunities to do so, it makes me very, very, VERY HAPPY. :)

sylvia said...

That is a WONDERFUL idea.

Pamala Knight said...

The Aunda gets better looking every year. I bet she's got plenty of stories of her holding off the old men who keep trying to woo her.

You're lucky to be able to gather the stories now. The rest of us waited too late and have only our own faulty memories to go by. Please make sure to share some of the tales here on the blog.

Good luck with NaNoWriMo.

Chris Eldin said...

Is it wrong to wish Aunda and RTP would meet and have tea?
YAY for your November goal! I think you should interview her, I really do. An honest no-holds-barred interview. You won't regret it.

Ello said...

Happy Birthday Aunda!!!!!

And good for you for nano-ing!

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Happy birthday Aunda. Its my birthday today, 28th. Another scorpio. We're good people.

I'm doing nano as well. I'm not writing a novel either. If you Jesus or any other spirit came for dinner what question would you ask them. Post a question and I'll ask and write the answer/story. I talk to who I believe is the real Arthur. Take care, Simon.

Jemi Fraser said...

What a lovely, lovely idea :) I grew up in another country from all relatives except my parents and I envy you this wonderful connection. I hope you enjoy every moment of those stories!

Dawn Simon said...

I think that's a beautiful idea. You'll be creating a priceless treasure for your family.

Falen said...

I have a great Aunt as well who is very much the linchpin of my father's family, especially after my Nana died.

And also, Woo Hoo for NaNo! 4 more days!

Melanie Avila said...

That's such a wonderful idea/

WendyCinNYC said...

I love the picture! Happy (late, sorry) birthday, dear aunda!

Charles Gramlich said...

Happy birthday, Aunda.

Irene S. Levine, PhD said...

What a lovely post! You are luck to have each other in your lives.
Happy Belated Birthday, Aunda!

Jan Markley said...

That's nice! My grandma lived to be 102 and came from Ukraine in the early part of the last century, and I'm working on a y/a novel about her story (currently in re-write). Promoting my debut novel is taking a lot of my time now, but I'm committed to coming back to her story.