Front row: Mabel, Mama Dear, Lalah
Back row: Rubye, Polly, Maude
Mabel, the oldest, was born prematurely. The doctor signed a death certificate to save himself another trip to the country. Mama Dear lined a drawer with warm bricks, swaddled her little one and fed her when she cried. At age 21, Mabel had only a death certificate when she needed a birth certificate to get married. Aunt Mabel lived to be 98.
Maude, the second, was a wonderful farm wife. She and Uncle Bill had room in their home for Mama Dear and Aunt Rubye and always welcomed my family every summer.
Rubye was the professional woman. She never married and worked in a real estate office during a time when women were just beginning to be in the work force.
Lalah was called "Happy" because she was. She raised 3 children, always had room in her home and at her table for others. Shhh - don't tell, but of all the aunts, she was my favorite. Probably because she fed me grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade apple sauce for lunch.
Polly, my mother, was 8 years younger than Lalah and was loved as the baby she was. I don't think she was spoiled though because she could certainly keep a house and raise a child. She also had the courage to leave the North Carolina family home and venture to Texas to marry some upstart lawyer in the middle of the depression.
I feel honored to be descended through Polly while at the same time having the blood of these amazing women running through my veins. They loved me, nurtured me, and taught me a lot. There is a lot more inheritance here than the shape of our noses.