My aunt, Deloris “Dee” Johnson was such a sweet person. She was the third child of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, and she truly loved her little siblings. She was happy to teach them things, and when she could, she really enjoyed buying things for them. One of the biggest gifts was a piano that graced Grandma Byer’s house for the rest of her life. We all played on that piano, and sometimes I wonder how Grandma kept her sanity. Nevertheless, that piano was a great blessing, and it was Aunt Dee’s great pleasure to gift it to her family. Aunt Dee was really a very special sister to her siblings.

Aunt Dee had a big imagination. She wanted to see how it felt to be a bird, so she gathered up one of her younger siblings, wrapped up in a trench coat, and stood in the wind. Of course, they didn’t really fly, but it felt like it. I know, because I’ve done that myself. It’s lots of fun. My mom, Collene Spencer, Aunt Dee’s younger sister said that her sister was always inventing something, but Mom didn’t tell me what. I’m sure that over the years everyone forgot what they were, because if they weren’t successful, that would be the end of it. Her son, Elmer did say that his mom was the true inventor of the “shoe watch.” That was an invention she started by attaching a watch to her shoe to help her be on time. It didn’t help Aunt Dee, but then being on time was something that the Byer family was famous for not being.

Aunt Dee grew up in a household of singing. Grandma Byer made housework fun for her nine children with the “sing while you work” concept. Aunt Dee, like most of her siblings carried that into her adult life. I think they all thought that singing gave them a sunny disposition, and I would have to agree. Having a mom who sings around the house, makes for a lighthearted home. I think that as a child of a song-filled home, my cousins would agree that a singing mom is one of the more pleasant memories of our childhood. Today would have been my Aunt Dee’s 92nd birthday. She has been in Heaven now for 27 years. I find that so hard to believe. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Dee. We love you and still miss you very much.

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