by Linda Thall
I always enjoyed visiting with Aunt Rosemary. She used to come to Carpinteria every year and visit Mom and Dad for at least a week. Mom and she would travel all over – Santa Barbara of course, Ojai, Ventura, and other towns in the area. I’d come up for the weekend during her visit and usually go to Solvang with them, since that was a favorite spot of Aunt Rosemary’s. We must have gone into every single store in town! But I love to shop too so always had a good time with them. Mom and Aunt Rosemary liked to go to Reno and also visit towns in the Gold country. Aunt Rosemary was so sweet to me, and I remember that once she learned that I was interested in figure skating she would look out for things to get me. Every Christmas I would get some sort of skating themed item – an ornament, a collectible item, and once a beautiful framed antique postcard that I still have on the wall in my bedroom. Aunt Rosemary was truly a lovely person.
We used to see the Uncle Paul and his family when we lived back east, and I think they were the first family we visited once we came to California. In my teens and 20’s our families would often spend holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas with each other. I remember being at the kids table for those occasions! Uncle Paul was always a very hospitable host and I remember enjoyable conversations about Alaska. I brought my friend Carolyn with me to one family get together in the summer – she’s an only child with no cousins, so was quite taken with our large family, and Uncle Paul and Aunt Faith’s hospitality. That must have been over 20 years ago, but she still remembers going with me to visit them that one time. Soon after Dad moved to Hayward, Leslie invited me to her house for Thanksgiving. I usually stay until Saturday, and we had an enjoyable tradition for a few years where various cousins, Leslie, myself, Aunt Faith and Uncle Paul would go a movie on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Uncle Paul always took us out to lunch afterwards. I will miss seeing him at Leslie’s – it won’t be the same without him.
He almost made it. For several years I would tease Uncle Artie that I would fly back to New York for his 100th birthday party, and I meant it too. I’m sorry that never happened. We saw a lot of Uncle Artie, Aunt Sheila and the cousins when we lived back East. They would come down to New Jersey sometimes to visit. As soon as the car arrived we’d rush out and wait for Uncle Artie to open the trunk of the car, which would be full of Nabisco cookies and crackers. And Cheese Whiz! I hated the stuff but Dad loved it on crackers, so Uncle Artie always brought several cans for him. I saw Uncle Artie here in California over the years – he’d visit Leslie sometimes so I’d always go down to see him when he visited. I appreciated too that he called my father regularly when Dad got so isolated staying home to care for my mother. Dad was very resistant to getting in any help – he thought only he should care for Mom. But after several conversations about this with Uncle Artie (who had regular help by then for Aunt Sheila), Dad changed his mind and allowed me to arrange for some part time care. I was always very grateful to Uncle Artie for his regular calls, and for helping to change Dad’s mind about accepting assistance from others to care for my mother. I have so many fond memories of Uncle Artie. He was a wonderful man and is very much missed.
What do you say about such an extraordinary woman who accomplished so much in her lifetime, and made such a difference in the world? I guess I can only talk about what Aunt Pat meant to me. She was one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I knew. She always seemed to be the first one to know all the news about her siblings and my cousins. Which was one reason she started the Herbert Herald, to keep us all in touch and aware of the family news and history. I’m so glad she did and I have every issue saved.
If you wanted to know the latest about any family member, Aunt Pat was the one to ask! I remember once being on a business trip to Denver, and getting an email from Aunt Pat saying that cousin Faith had some sort of accident, had injured herself, and we should send her get well cards. She was always doing kind and caring things like that. Plus I’m sure I’m not the only one who got packages of newspaper clippings from Aunt Pat. Once she learned of my interest in figure skating, for the next 20 years I got regular packages of articles from the NY Times and San Francisco paper about figure skating. I really enjoyed getting them, especially since the NY Times regularly covered skating, unlike the LA Times. I sometimes forgot to email her and thank her for the latest package, but when I told her that one time, she said not to worry about it – she knew I enjoyed them and that was enough for her.
I also appreciated her many kindnesses to my father. As my mother’s Alzheimer’s got worse, Aunt Pat called Dad every week, and I know he relied on her for advice and support during those difficult years. After my father moved to Hayward, Dad really enjoyed seeing Aunt Pat regularly and being included in family dinners and for holidays. Aunt Pat also welcomed his friend Muriel, and I know that was very important to Dad.
I also appreciate everything Aunt Pat did to facilitate meeting our new relatives, I know she was so happy they found us and to be able to visit with Gerry, Beth, Amy and their families. I just wish they’d had more time with her. And us as well. There’s so much more I could say about her, but I’ll just end this by saying that I loved her very much and will always miss her.