Today I am writing about the saint of the family—Aunt Arlene. She is definitely the wackiest saint out there, but in our family, no one would disagree with me on that. (Tricia is the other saint for the record.)
We get along well, considering she still has not forgiven me for tattling on her when she lit our room on fire. No matter what she says, I stand firm on being in the right for telling Grandma because it was my room too. (If she had her own room, perhaps I would have kept my mouth shut.) But that is not what made her the family saint.
First, I am forever grateful to both of my sisters for helping me when I had to go to the hospital, leaving Dad with a four-month old baby who would not take a bottle. Aunt Ar and Aunt El will never let me forget how they saved Casey’s life by swooping in and playing wet nurse. I remember that Aunt Ar said it embarrassed her to nurse my baby, so she claimed she fed Casey in the closet. Aunt El had a rough night, so when she came downstairs with two babies in her arms, she didn’t take any crap from Dad who was complaining it was too early to be woken up. I really will never forget this and don’t need to be reminded.
Then Aunt Ar decided to become a nurse. I know how difficult it must have been to go back to school as an adult with all the responsibilities of a family. I was always very impressed with her for doing so (and she was even the valedictorian but couldn’t give the speech), and now she just completed her bachelor’s degree. We are all so glad to have had her there to handle all the medical questions and care for Grandma and Grandpa through the years. She is always there now for Grandma, and I know how much of her own time she has given. Saint Ar.
She inherited Grandma’s very strange sense of humor and gets away with some of the most outrageous and sometimes offensive jokes, but Grandma always laughs—as does Aunt Ar, who laughs at her own jokes. (I would be told to never return if some of those words ever crossed my lips.) She can say just about anything and knows it.
I can’t end this story without mentioning her Billy Joel obsession, which started with that concert at Rutgers on December 14, 1974 (I googled this to get the exact date.) She knows I was responsible for taking her to that first concert.
Now forty-two years later, she is still seeking out his concerts. I cannot believe she almost went to Vegas to see him and then was able to trade the tickets with a flight attendant! While we were living in Chapel Hill, she flew to Raleigh just to see him. What a fan! She swore she would never drive to our house again after her one very long trip with Matt when she learned that full service gas stations rarely exist outside of New Jersey.
Will one of you be our family saint? Who will it be and can you be as good as Aunt Ar?