Posted on December 15, 2016
To Aunt Margaret, With Love
We are back in the United States for a short time due to the sudden death of my beautiful Aunt Margaret. You may remember her through some of the stories I posted about our weekend road trip, Atlanta and Charleston. She was an amazing woman. I felt we shared a special bond. She shared so much of her life with us that while I will miss her physical presence, I feel like she will always be with me.
Aunt Margaret was such a positive influence in all of our lives, but especially mine I like to think, because we were both the middle child. We shared a love for France, travel, road trips, playing games, looking nice, good food and being different. She is in so many special memories. The first time we visited her in Chicago; seeing the fireworks from the rooftop of her apartment downtown; watching the El from the floor to ceiling windows; sleeping in the loft; eating spinach pizza an inch thick and being stuck underground at the Brookfield Zoo because of a tornado warning.
We also went to The Other Cinderella, one of the first live theater plays I ever attended. I kept that playbill for years. We went together to see Gigi at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. I watched that movie many times after that. I visited her during the summer after I finished high school and scoured Time Out Atlanta to see what cool things there were to do. We found poetry readings in obscure locations, ate at Sevenunda and other unique restaurants. I crashed at her place with my friends from Florida and remember feeling like we owned the town because we could come and go as we pleased; like we were grown for the first time in our lives. We hung out at the Atlanta underground and visited the Coca Cola museum over and over and over. There was the time she rescued three day old baby kittens because the mother disappeared for a few days. We didn’t like cats, but she took all six of them and we had to feed them with a bottle and help them go to the bathroom. I was so happy when the mother cat came back and we gave those things back! I walked those HUGE Afghan hounds of hers…or letting them walk me. We all listened to the little dogs of hers yap, yap, yap.
Aunt Margaret was the first person I knew who loved color as much as I did and was not afraid to use it. While I had a bright electric yellow room in my parent’s house, she had a bright multicolored house. Her living room was orange, the media room bright pink, one bedroom was turquoise, the kitchen sour apple green, the breakfast room yellow and more, so much more. It all worked well together and was a true representation of her spirit: bright and colorful.
The memories continue. This year was so amazing because Aunt Margaret was able to spend so much time doing so many things with people she loved and who loved her very much. She welcomed my friends into her home this year as she always has. She treated us as if we were the most important people of the day. Bean and I were so happy to spend so much time with her during our road trip. It was a pleasure to curl up on the couch, eat our favorite pizzas and share our favorite movie of the year, Zootopia, with her. While I took a short nap, she and Bean watched The Peanuts Movie together. I woke up and she was crying because she thought it was so cute. I had to laugh at her. We explored her neighborhood because she didn’t have much time too. Instead of being jealous, she loved to hear the stories of what we did for the day, whether it was visiting the old plantation homes, the consignment shop, the park or the French bakery, Aunt Margaret wanted to know all of the details.
I always enjoyed calling Aunt Margaret to talk about the mystery of men: what the Heaven makes them tick? We would share stories and laugh and try to figure out the puzzle. She was my aunt, but she was my friend too. The amazing thing is, as special as I felt around her, she was the same with everyone. She shared herself with Bean and I just as she shared with all of her family and friends. Now that she has gone, our family wonders who can take her place? Aunt Margaret, you have filled our lives with so many precious memories. As long as we have them, you will always be with us. We love YOU more.