Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Memories of Mae

 It hasn't been that long since I lost my Uncle Charlie and now I've lost my Aunt Mae.

 January 6 for Charlie; August 16 for Mae. A gap of a mere seven months.

 And if I grieve losing an aunt, my mother has lost a sister, my cousins have lost a parent. It has not been a good year for the family.

June 30, 2014
Mae (l) and Mom (and I) have lunch at Fazoli's

 You never know when you snap a picture that it will be a last. That's the final shot I have of the sisters together. Mae with just 47 days left. How would the day have been different had we known that?

 I've been traveling down memory lane the past few days, dredging up those seemingly insignificant events that make a life. My earliest memory of Mae was when Mom took me to visit her at Aunt Clara's on Main Street in Miamisburg. I was very young - too small to take the steps to she and Charlie's second floor apartment. I remember a parade passing by on the street below.

 Then, still as a child, I was walking beside Mae, hand in hand I suppose, when a kid on a bike careened out of control and nearly mowed me down. Mae pushed herself in front of me, took the full impact. As a child I didn't quite fathom what happened. Perhaps she saved my life or at least gave my body additional years in good condition.

 A bit later, I spent a night at Mae and Charlie's house. I had not been away from home much (but for my grandparents, as familiar a spot as home itself) but Mae made me feel comfortable, served a lunch, made sure I was happy there. After being put to bed, I decided I didn't like being alone in an unfamiliar house, in an unfamiliar bed, in a dark unfamiliar room. I spent the rest of the night in bed with Mae.

 As a child we'd spend most every Sunday evening at Mae and Charlie's. When Charlie built a patio in the back yard, we'd eat outside. He lined the floor with flat Ordovician rocks, taken from various Miamisburg sites, their fossils etched into the surface for millions of years.

 What do I most remember? Mae's love of Keystone Light beer. Her dislike of cinnamon (what?!). Her homemade stove-top popcorn. Her soft hand holding mine while the other balanced on a cane in recent years. Her heart.

Mae Boyer - Miamisburg High School

 I look at this picture of Mae during her high school years and I think how much - and how little - has changed. Age takes a toll on our skin but leaves our heart - not the physical beating one - untouched. Time ravishes but it cannot harm.

 I think mostly how lucky our close-knit family has been. Who is there among us who would not do anything for the others? We have no black sheep among us; we are all loving, caring individuals. Our parents were successful.

 The legacy is that. I may have shed some tears in the past week but they were each filtered by smiles.

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