My aunt Alice died last week. Actually, she is my great-aunt, the widow of my grandfather's brother, Joe. Unfortunately, Aunt Alice has been in declining health for a while and was unable to attend our family reunion a couple of weeks ago. Aunt Alice was one of the most patient, soft-spoken and genuinely nice ladies I have known. She was a devoted wife and mother, talented seamstress, quilter and baker. Mostly, though, she had a way of quietly making you feel that she was very happy to see you, even as a child, I remember thinking Aunt Alice was one of the great adults. She had three daughters and they each seem to have inherited some of Aunt Alice's best traits.
With her passing, my grandfather's generation has come to an end. That makes my mother's generation the "elders" in our family. WOW!
As the family has gotten back together for the rosary and the funeral, conversations have naturally come around to the fact that so much of our family's history is gone. There are too few recorded stories of what life was like for my grandfather's siblings and their parents and their aunts and uncles as they grew up and lived their lives. My great-grandparents actually immigrated to Texas but there are no recorded thoughts or experiences that they shared with their respective families as they crossed the Atlantic. We all agreed, of course, that it is important that we take action to preserve what little we do know, I hope it happens. I think its important for us to have knowledge about where we come from, to help us understand what has gone into making us the people we are today.
I read something the other day that someone had written about Texans and what makes Texans the special people that we are. The author attributed it to being "forged in a hotter fire." Well, having spent most of my 50+ summers in South Central Texas, I can tell you that it certainly feels like we spend time in hot fires, but I can proudly tell you that my family of (fairly recent) immigrants to this great state, represent some of the finest people I have ever met. I love each of them and am blessed to be a member of this (crazy) group.
To the grandparents (including all of the "great-grands), parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters who have gone home, we are certain the welcome you gave Aunt Alice when she crossed through the Gates was filled with love and laughter. We miss you all and love you still.