From left to right: My cousin Debbie (Viola's daughter), my cousin Pat, my Mom, Aunt Viola, my cousin Carole. Pat and Carole are sisters and their mother was my Aunt Madelyn, who was my mother's and Aunt Viola's sister. She has since passed away. Aunt Madelyn was clearly the sweetest of all the sisters and, I hope they don't get mad at me for saying this, but also the most beautiful. She looked like an angel.
My mother used to live in Queens and was able to see her relatives more often then but, when I moved her to Pennsylvania five years ago, it's been much harder for them to get together simply because my mother doesn't like to drive in a car.
I moved my mother from her apartment in Queens to a beautiful retirement facility here in Bucks County where we joke that she is now "living in the lap of luxury". She has a beautiful one bedroom apartment, goes down to dinner every evening, plays Bingo every Monday, goes on shopping trips once or twice a week and basically lives a stressfree life. That's her reward for raising four children. My cousins and my aunt were excited to see where she lives and they all just loved it.
My Aunt Viola is my mother's oldest sister (92) yet she talks and acts like she is 65. I have a special connection to my aunt as I used to work with her for years at Xerox Corporation. As a matter of fact, she knew my husband Bob even before we were dating as he worked there as well. She must have been in her late fifties when I was working at Xerox and they were looking for a receptionist. Since I practically ran the office, I was able to get her the job. Aunt Viola became a legend at Xerox....everyone just loved her. She is probably a favorite to everyone in our family as well because she's just so nice and so enjoyable to talk to. She always starts a sentence by saying your name first. I knew it was a lot for her to make this trip and I am so appreciative that she did this to see her sister. She hasn't been feeling well since she got home and I know this trip took its toll on her.
We went to eat lunch at Olive Garden which was a good choice because everyone likes Italian food and there's a lot to choose from. We had a big round table which made conversation easy although my mother complained afterwards that she wasn't able to hear anything we were saying.
This trip was in the works for years and it couldn't have turned out any better. As I'm sure all of you know, there's really nothing better than being with your relatives because it's such a relaxed situation. You've known them your entire life and they basically know everything there is to know about you. I never had a sister so my girl cousins are the closest I've ever gotten to having a sister. I just wish we lived closer. It's times like these that I regret our move to Pennsylvania 24 years ago but what's done is done. When you're young and moving away, it's exciting. When you're older and you realize how many family things you've missed out on and will continue to miss out on, it's not so exciting.
I know my Aunt Margie (the youngest sister) is dying to see these pictures and hear about the entire trip so I hope she enjoys this. Since I usually have some funny things in my blog, I thought I might add some of the tidbits that went into planning this trip.
I mentioned this get together to my mother over a month ago and her initial reaction was that they couldn't come because it would be too much housework for her. This surprised me as she lives in a two room apartment and has a housekeeper who comes in once a week. So I waited until three two days before they were actually coming to give her the news.
I called her last Thursday and this is kind of how the conversation went....
Me: Mom, so my cousins are coming this weekend with Aunt Viola.
At this point, I had just about lost my temper and I won't even type here what my answer was to that question.
But this is my mother and this is what I have to go through to make anything happen. A few months ago, we had plans to go out to dinner on Mother's Day. I told her about it a week before and she didn't say anything. Two days before Mother's Day, she called to tell me she had stubbed her toe and couldn't go. Typical.
I'm telling you this story because before I hung up on the conversation I described above, my parting shot was, "And please don't stub your toe before Saturday."
But all in all it was a great little reunion that turned out so well despite all of my mother's complaints and I can't wait to do it again.