Tuesday, July 23, 2002

You might have guessed by now that Aunt Pat is our Mom's sister. Alberta is her actual name, but everyone has always called her by her nickname 'Pat', short for her maiden surname, Fitzpatrick.

She's an opinionated, strong-willed, vivacious lady that knows what she wants, what she thinks, and goes for it. I always have the image of Auntie Mame go through my head when I think about Aunt Pat. When I was little, I was always fascinated by her since she seemed to live such a different life than we did...than her sister, my mother, did. She was a 'working woman', working in an office upstairs behind one-way glass at J.C. Penney's in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her husband, Uncle John, was a small wiry man of French descent who was a 'body man', working on cars in his shop.

Always a house-o-fire, my Aunt, it's hard to imagine her being 90 years old*, and finally slowing down. I last saw Aunt Pat over 15 years ago, but talked to her as recently as a few months ago about Mom. She sounds as cheery as ever, but a bit more absent-minded. That's the hardest part of seeing Mom and Aunt Pat now...seeing them there, and yet slowly fading away. I understand in many ways why our cousin Jerry is torn about coming to visit them.

* Alberta Mae Fitzpatrick was born on July 13, 1912...