In recent years I have grown closer to my Aunt Sandy Pattan than I was in prior years. There was no particular reason we weren’t as close before, except that we were both busy. It is a poor excuse for not keeping in better contact with your aunt, and one that I’m glad has changed. It’s not that we necessarily get to see each other a whole lot more, but rather the quality of the conversations, and the visits have become much more precious to us. We have discovered a common interest in the family history, and a growing desire to get it documented for future generations, and that has solidified our…friendship really, because it is more than the typical aunt-niece relationship. When we talk, we share new discoveries that we have made, as well as the old ones, that we never seem to grow tired of hearing. We reminisce about the loved ones who have passed away, and shed some tears too, because we miss them so much, but talking about them, and even shedding the tears is what keeps their memories fresh in our hearts and minds.
Aunt Sandy, being the youngest of nine children, had almost double the older siblings in some ways, because there were brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who were a part of the family before she was a teenager, and some by the time she was two. As she said to me, “Those brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law were like my brothers and sisters, because they had been a part of the family for much of my memory.” That also gave her a unique perspective of the in-laws, because she got to see their playful side…the way they would be with her as a child. Of course, my uncles were playful with the nieces and nephews too, but it was different with her, because she was like their little sister. Those were some great times for young Aunt Sandy.
I was watching some of my parents’ old home movies last night, and there was Aunt Sandy a little girl of about 10 years. We were at a family picnic, because my parents and sister Cheryl were in Casper for a visit. They lived in Superior, Wisconsin then, and Cheryl was the only child they had then. The day was perfect, and everyone was having a great time. My parents, Allen and Collene Spencer had purchased a movie camera, and everyone was trying to decide if they wanted to be filmed or not. Most of the adults didn’t think they wanted to, but the kids were a little more open to the idea. I noticed that Aunt Sandy was having such a great time. There were more children to play with than usual for her, and everyone was having so much fun. She was literally jumping up and down with excitement. It was an awesome day for her. Today is Aunt Sandy’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!