Last night while not being able to go to sleep, I thought of my Aunt Beulah. Yes, I actually did have an Aunt Beulah. Why anyone would name a young girl Beulah is beyond me, but, I digress.
Aunt Beulah was not a warm and fuzzy aunt. You did not run to her with open arms to get a big hug. She was married to my father’s older brother. She had an air about her that did not belong in Oil City, PA. She was restricted, I mean refined (?). She was aloof. At least that is what I think of when I think of her.
She had a pinched look on her face and that caused these little lines to form all around her mouth. A few years ago, I noticed I had lines around my mouth. I almost screamed aloud, “Oh no! Aunt Beulah lines!”. Instead, I slathered lotion around my mouth and spent the next few days constantly smiling, hoping those lines would disappear.
Now, I have painted a certain picture of my aunt. I know we spent a lot of time at her house, especially after my mom died. I don’t know if she felt sorry for us poor motherless waifs, or what, but I do remember being at her house often. She would use scissors to cut up nice pieces of meat for her dachshund, Wrinkles, who would yap and snap at your heels constantly. A very unpleasant dog. My dad often commented that Wrinkles ate better than his brother.
Again, the memories are most likely not accurate because, we did visit often there. I remember holiday meals at her house. Not the food actually, but, doing dishes. My sisters and I, the poor motherless waifs! We would spend hours doing dishes. At least that is what it seemed like. I am certain she used every dish in her china cabinet. We washed, we dried, we put them away in their sleeves in these quilted dish holders. They would then go into a box and then into the china cabinet. Those dishes were so protected that I think World War III could start in the china cabinet and those dishes would be unscathed.
But, what made all these memories come forward was the thought of Aunt Beulah’s upstairs closet in her sewing room. It was a small closet, and inside was nothing but fur coats and fox stoles. You know those stoles that women used to wear over the collars of their winter coats? They had little fox heads that were actually clips to hold the stole together. My sisters and I would go into that closet to ‘pet’ the furs. We would eventually take each of those clips and clip each of the stoles together.
This is what my initial thought of Aunt Beulah was last night. I saw her in a last-minute rush going into that closet to grab a stole and head to Mass. Grabbing one, a dozen came out, I am certain. I can just hear her, in my mind cursing those poor motherless waifs for connecting her stoles while she was trying to get to church.
It’s amazing where your mind wanders in the middle of the night, isn’t it?