Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Aunts and Uncles

We had a large number of aunts and uncles that we often visited when we were children.
My father's Aunt Goldie and Uncle Sam lived near us after we moved to our house, so we could walk over to see them sometimes. Before that, we used to visit their store and home in East St. Louis. The photo shows Aunt Goldie and Uncle Sam in their living room with their daughter Letty.

My mother's two sisters, Aunt Bernadine and Aunt Sadie often stopped by our house to visit. When I was a very small child, Aunt Bernadine had big family parties at her apartment and invited many of the other aunts' and uncles' families. I remember the delicious smelling turkey and roasting potatoes in the oven when we got there. After she moved to a smaller apartment she didn't have enough room for such big parties, but she would reserve a party room for family gatherings sometimes.

Aunt Sadie and Uncle Morris also invited the aunts, uncles, and cousins for holiday dinners. For spring or winter parties Aunt Sadie would set up long tables with white tablecloths in her living room and on the back indoor porch, with food for everyone on the dining room table, and many aunts and cousins helping in the kitchen. Our mother always told us to be sure to take the every-day plates, not the really good china plates, when we went through the line at her dining room table to get our food. My mother was afraid we would break Aunt Sadie's good china, which had gold decorations on it. Aunt Bernadine often organized the parties and did a lot of the cooking for these big dinners at Aunt Sadie's house.

One fourth of July, Aunt Sadie and Uncle Morris had a party in the back yard at the bottom of their driveway. We ate hot dogs and potato chips on paper plates instead of roast beef or turkey on breakable china. We drank iced 7-Up, bright red Vess Cream Soda, or dark brown Dr.Pepper as a special treat. After dark, my uncles lit firecrackers called snakes, which sizzled and glowed for a long time, and one or two firecrackers that made a big noise. Bip had a cherry bomb. Little kids had sparklers.

Besides my mother's sisters, she had three brothers: Ben, Jack, and Erv. Uncle Ben and Aunt Marie lived in Maryland and we hardly ever saw them. Uncle Jack died when I was a little girl, but his wife, Aunt Florence, visited us sometimes.

I remember a few things about her brother Erv and his wife Elizabeth. Aunt Elizabeth's parents owned the Winter Garden, an ice-skating rink. She and her sister had once been very good ice skaters, and I remember seeing this photo of her skating. The picture was from a long time before we were born. We went skating a few times at the Winter Garden. Also, people talked about having once seen an ice show there with the famous skater Sonia Henie.

Uncle Erv had his own store for a few years. It faced the street where a very special St. Louis parade called the Veiled Prophet Parade went by, and once we sat on chairs in the store display window and watched the parade with a lot of other people.

Another thing I remember about my aunts and uncles is that they went on a lot of trips. Aunt Sadie often vacationed in places like Florida and to South Haven, Michigan. Aunt Florence took a trip to Europe, including Florence, Italy. I will write about that another time.

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