My aunt, Sandy Patton is the youngest of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer’s children. Life for a youngest child is normally very different than that of the oldest child…especially in a large family. My grandparents had nine children. From almost the time Aunt Sandy was three years old, basically from the time her first memory, there were babies in the household. The older children had similar experiences, but it’s a bit different when the babies are younger siblings…or maybe it isn’t. The nieces and nephews were there a lot, but they did go home too. Nevertheless, as a young girl, she always had playmates…at least when she could play.
Aunt Sandy was a sickly child, and often missed school, so in reality, her best friend was her mom. They spent a lot of time together while her mom care for her ailing daughter. When a child is sick, they need bedrest, but when they aren’t sleeping…that can make for long boring days. So, to ease the boredom, Grandma Byer told her daughter stories of the past…Grandma’s past and Aunt Sandy’s heritage. Some of the stories were about Grandma’s childhood years, and others were about her ancestors. Aunt Sandy learned about the Cowboys and Indians, the lives of farmers and homesteaders, early automobiles, and about Aunt Sandy’s older siblings’ antics. When she wasn’t sick, Aunt Sandy had to take on the job of catching up on her studies. I don’t imagine that was fun, and I would think that there were many times when Aunt Sandy, thought about quitting school, but she didn’t…and maybe Grandma wouldn’t have let her do that. Whether Aunt Sandy liked school or not really made no difference, because if there was one subject she did like history. She loved hearing about the past, probably because her mom made it so real to her…almost like she was right there.
Aunt Sandy still loves hearing about family today, and really enjoys hearing about all the new additions, and the exciting things everyone is doing. She is the keeper of traditions, which stands to reason, since she is the youngest. It seems like tradition always falls to the youngest child eventually…at least until they pass the baton to the next generation. Sometimes it’s hard to pass that baton, because you never know if there will be a child of the next generation who is willing to pick that baton up and run with it. It was the hope of her parents, my grandparents that we always find a way to keep the family as close as possible. Aunt Sandy tried her best, and hopefully now, we will continue to try our best. Today is Aunt Sandy’s 77th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!