Monday, February 2, 2009
Ethylene remembering Aunt Ethel
I'm the truly honored one in the family having been name for two very strong role models...Aunt Ethel, and Aunt Arlene. Both were strong influences in my life and always there for me...to rescue me especially from mother who had a problem with my being such a Tomboy. They understood my zest for sports, and for life, even climbing a tree to read a book. They also rescued me from Grandma, and understood since they had been through some of the same experiences. LOL
My earliest memories of Aunt Ethel are of Christmas's at her house. Her house was always decorated so pretty. She had the prettiest curtains and draperies that she had made herself, as well as reupholstered her furniture to be color coordinated. We had many wonderful family times with all the Johnson girls, boys and their kids gathering at Aunt Ethel's house, especially the house they lived in, in Tomball every Christmas and other occasions. There was always lots of good and special holiday food, music, hugs for all, and especially laughter to share.
When I was about 10 years old I became very ill. One of my legs/ especially the knee area became very swollen. Polio was ruled out and I don't think they ever decided what caused it.. My fever went to 108 degrees. I remember being at Aunt Ethel's with mother taking care of me. After the fever finally broke, I had forgotten how to walk. I remember holding on to Aunt Ethel's furniture like an infant, teaching myself how to stand, balance and eventually take a few steps teaching myself to walk again.
When we moved to Houston we lived just down the street from Grandma, Aunt Ethel, and Aunt Arlene. I'd walk down to Aunt Ethel's probably every day. At that home, again she had it decorated beautifully, appropriate furniture that again...always coordinated. Her flower gardens were like a page out of a magazine. She had a garden and it was always a feast to have dinner with her...which I usually did. :) I always felt welcomed there. Wow, that woman could cook! Every meal was a banquet.
Gery, my x husband, and I went fishing with Aunt Ethel and Uncle Howard numerous times when we were dating. I was skipping across some boards and logs on the lake while Gery was having a fit that I'd fall in the lake...at that very moment he fell in. He was so funny looking trying to grab for his wallet to keep it from getting his papers wet that we all laughed so hard we almost turned their boat over. I don't remember catching any fish but we had a good time. At about that time Charles Kincannon, a game warden we had known from Waller County came along. Uncle Howard couldn't find his fishing license, so a ticket was issued.
Gery and I married, a few years later the two children came along, and my life touched Aunt Ethel's again. I went to work in Humble, bought a home in North Houston. My children attended Aunt Ethel's nursery in Humble for 2-3 years. They had exceptional care, and lunch for those little ones was a feast out of Aunt Ethel's garden. :) I'd ride out on my lunch hour and visit. She served them the biggest, nicest tomato slices you ever seen, and other fresh veggies daily! My children have good memories of their Aunt Ethel. She had the best employees, and teachers who were naturals and loved all the children.
We would see each other at family reunions maybe once a year or so, at family weddings, and funerals. Of course she was there for me when mother was killed in the car accident.... a real bummer!
My children grew up, I started traveling on business. I had an office in San Antonio for a couple of years. I lived at the Embassy Suits at the airport, and later had a corporate apartment there. On weekends I'd venture out and drive out to the ranch to visit. I'd spend the day or night with Aunt Ethel. We'd sit up and talk to the wee hours. She'd tell me all sorts of stories about the family, grandma, grandpa and their growing up years. She talked about WWII and the girls working in factories while the guys marched off to war. She talked about how that family stuck together during those years, and everybody helped everybody out...no one went hungry.
Aunt Ethel and Aunt Eunice or maybe it was Aunt Erma, had a cafe in Tomball. Ray Skaggs and Gery played together at that time. They were about 5 years old. Ray was hit by a car and seriously injured crossing main street in Tomball in front of the cafe. I've been told the food was awesome there!
We skinny dipped several times on her back porch late at night in her hot tub! Oh how she loved that hot tub...LOL..I haven't been skinny dipping since then as a matter of fact. I'd always take her out to eat, usually out to Canyon Lake, sometimes into San Marcus.
The last time I visited her there was in about 1998, 99. I booked my timeshare on Canyon Lake. I drove over to Aunt Ethel's several times and visited. We went out to Canyon Lake for lunch. She was so lonely and was so excited to get out and go sit by the lake which had always been our favorite spot. I remember before we left her house, she was looking everywhere for her purse...looking and searching. Finally, she looked at me and started laughing.."What am I doing...I'm going with you, I don't need no purse!"...remembering that I never allowed her to pick up a tab. I responded with a "No you don't!" and we both laughed.
Last time I saw her was at Aunt Alma's farm a few years ago. We visited at length. Her memory was beginning to fail, and was noticeable at that time.
My neck progressively became more of a problem for me to drive a distance. I'm so sorry I was not able to get back out there. I will miss her...she was definitely my kinder spirit, my soul mate! We understood each other, even just sitting in silence we could communicate and know what the other was thinking and that all was well . :)
You rest in peace Aunt Ethel. Thanks for loving me and caring about me. Thanks for being there for me, especially at those times when I felt so all alone in such a great big world.
I'm sure you are cooking, and laughing with your brothers and sisters, and taking care of all the little ones that have gone ahead while still infants and children. I bet you have a hugh hot house filled with plants, flower beds, and a veggie garden in the making already. You are probably even redecorating the place to be sure it's color coordinated to suit your taste...:)
I'll see you up yonder one of these days. :) Your namesake...