Although we are living in a time where getting together just doesn’t happen anymore, we still have ways to share things.

I want to share as many memories as possible in hopes that they will make all of us appreciate each other and reach out to be a helping hand wherever and whenever we can.

One of my fondest memories is of my Great-aunt Annie White. Aunt Annie and my Great-uncle Charlie never had any children and we didn’t see a lot of them over the years. When Uncle Charlie passed away they had the visitation at their house. I remember family members and friends paying their respects one by one as I sat on the living room steps with my cousins and just watched each one pass by. It seemed like a long day and it went on into the evening. Aunt Annie looked so tired when the last visitor left that my mother asked me if I would spend a few days with her to help clean up. I remember thinking no way! What am I, a twelve-year-old girl, going to do around this old aunt of mine that I barely know? She had no car, no TV and there was no one my age anywhere in her neighborhood. I let my mother know I was not at all happy about this arrangement. Out of sheer respect for my mother, I gave in and moved in with my Great-aunt Annie the next day.

I helped with the laundry and other housework but we didn’t speak much to each other and I believe she could sense that I really didn’t want to be there. Night after night she’d sit under a lamp listening to some classical music on the radio and work on a woolen shawl she was making and I’d just stare into space waiting for her to say it’s bedtime. One evening, just to break the silence, I asked Aunt Annie how she was coming along with the shawl she was making and she said she was doing very well. She asked me if I wanted to learn how to crochet and do embroidery work like she was doing and that she could teach me. I remember she said I could make a shawl for my mother and I thought “that’ll never happen it looks too complicated and I’m really not interested in that kinda stuff.” Well Aunt Annie said it would be easy and she thought I’d like it. I have to say it sort of created a closer bond between us.

From then on I learned to crochet and do embroidery stitches each night and I loved it. I made all kinds of beautiful things for others to wear and enjoy, thanks to my sweet Aunt Annie! We also started going on walks together and I remember her reaching out to take my hand as we walked along. I just loved it and loved my sweet Aunt Annie more and more as we grew closer together. I spent a lot more time with her after that and enjoyed every second of it. She loved to play bingo at our church and I joined in but she was able to play five or six bingo cards at once but I could only handle one. I never developed that bingo card skill of hers—some got it, some don’t!

Be kind and you just might learn some valuable things along the way. I know I did.

—Helen Valcaniant,
Imlay City