My Aunt Virginia Beadle, my mom’s second to the oldest sister, was born in 1930 in the middle of the worst depression in United States history. Unemployment had increased from 1.3 million in October 1929 to 3.2 million by March 1930. Money was scarce, and people had to make due with what they had. Of course, like any parent knows, children don’t wait until you can afford them, and in those days people had large families. My Aunt Virginia was the second of nine children born to her parents, George and Hattie Byer. Like most families, the children can have very different features, while still looking very much like brothers and sisters. Such was the case for my aunts and uncles. They all looked different, and yet very much like siblings.
Some of my aunts were tall…or at least to me they were. Their dad, was over six feet tall, so it stands to reason that some of the girls would inherit his height, or at least a little of it. My mom was 5’6″ and some of her sisters were taller, but Aunt Virginia wasn’t one of those. She took after her mother in height. My grandmother was 5 feet tall in her tall days, and I would guess that Aunt Virginia was no more than 5’2″ tall. I think though, that the thing that always stood out to me about Aunt Virginia was her dark hair. I always felt like it must look like shining black silk. Some of my mom’s siblings were blondes and some brunettes…some even dark brunette, but I think Aunt Virginia’s hair was the darkest, and it gave her an exotic look in my mind.
These days, my Aunt Virginia is even smaller than she was before. When I saw her at the cemetery on Memorial Day, at my parents graves where she and her sister, my Aunt Sandy Pattan were coming to add their decorations to ours on my parents graves, it occurred to me just what a tiny woman she is. I am only 5’2″, but I felt so tall next to her. Still, there was enough love inside her to fill up a much bigger person than she was. The love overflows, Aunt Virginia, as it does all of my aunts and uncles. Maybe that is what makes them all seem so much alike. Today is my Aunt Virginia’s 86th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Virginia!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!