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In Praise of Aunts

Yesterday on National Aunts and Uncles day I remembered the beautiful aunts who have made my life good. I don’t know much about uncles, but aunts have always been there for me from the day I was born. My Japanese aunt adopted my mother, her younger sister, and so became my grandmother. She welcomed my Irish father into her home and the progression of children that followed were her three little treasures. She called me her grandson and we were together for more than 60 years and I was the only one with her when she passed away at 111.

When we came from Japan, my Irish aunts and uncles took us into their house. They may not have understood our situation, but they struggled to help us overcome the stereotypes and stigmas we faced. They taught us good manners and proper etiquette. They bought us only the finest clothes so that on Sunday we would be seen at church looking proper. They took us out to the fanciest restaurants, where we were told to order lobster, the most expensive item on the menu, so that we would not appear or feel small and poor. My Aunt Joanna, who never married, took the place of my grandmother who died in the 1918 flu pandemic and raised me as if I her cherished grandson, showering me with affection, calling me, “my little man.”

How about you? I imagine many of you feel gratitude to an aunt or uncle who cared for you, some like you were their own child.

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