I have an 84 year old aunt

I have an 84 year old aunt.

She’s short.

She loses about an inch of height a year. Pretty soon, I’m going to have to look under the coffee table for her.

She golfs a couple of times a week in the summer. She just golfed last week with my 79 year old dad and my 39 year old husband and held her own, as she always does. It was 210ΒΊ outside.

I don’t golf anymore when it’s 210ΒΊ outside.

I don’t golf anymore period. It doesn’t matter what the thermometer says.

She bowls during the winter.

I tried to bowl but even the lightest ball was too heavy for my pathetically weak wrists.

She’s incredibly physically fit and has better looking legs than I do.

Did I mention she’s 84 years old?

She used to live down the street from us when we were growing up. I loved her house. It was old and had gold carpet in the kitchen and a beautiful hearth and a scary basement.

I lived with her for a short time when I was losing my mind during a two year period and she knew I needed some space. She’s always been there like that.

One time when I was really young, I was in her bathroom and found one of her lipsticks and played with it and forgot to turn it down before I covered it and I smooshed it. I started to cry and went to my aunt and admitted my crime, wondering how she would dish out punishment. She asked me if I had learned a lesson, told me she was proud of me for telling her and gave me a hug. I’ll never forget that.

She retired from Xerox after a long, long, long time.

We grew up always having white paper handy to draw on.

She lost her husband about thirty-five years ago. It scarred her, it changed her, it saddened her but it didn’t stop her.

She used to call me up when I was a kid and ask me to go on bike rides that would make my ten year old lungs and legs weak with effort. She never broke a sweat.

She’s got more energy in her right ear lobe than I do in my entire body.

She’s got great taste in earrings and I borrowed a beautiful gold pair from her when I got married to Nate.

She’s the one everyone stays with when they come to visit because she’s got an extra bedroom with two twin beds and a long, gold couch that easily fits my brother. It’s older than I am. The couch, not my brother. We’re the same age. My brother and I, not the couch and I.

We don’t have any spare bedrooms in our house.

She knits and crochets and makes drop dead gorgeous afghans.

We have one of her afghans on our couch and one of her blankets currently resides on Helena’s bed.

I don’t sew. I use duct tape.

She has the most beautiful angel tree at Christmas. I always stare at it, admiring all of her angel ornaments and try to guess which ones are new that year.

She bought us beautiful Lenox Christmas ornaments, one for each of us, with our names on them. I love those ornaments. We all do. We each hang our own on our tree every year.

She volunteered for Ronald McDonald house for over twenty years. When Zoe was young, Aunt VeVe introduced her to Ronald McDonald and Zoe was awed into silence. That didn’t happen often AT ALL.

I used to go over to the house when Aunt VeVe was volunteering and sit next to her and do some of my homework on their Mac computers because we didn’t have a computer.

She makes a special effort to get Zoe and Helena gifts for their birthdays and Christmas that they will love. She always calls me weeks in advance for ideas and badgers me until I give her specific suggestions.

She’s got great taste in kids’ clothes. I always love what she chooses.

Sizes, not so much but that’s OK because she always includes a gift receipt.

She’s got a very loud voice but she doesn’t realize it. So, when she exclaims “Oh my God, why is she so fat? She’s never going to fit there!” when someone tries to squeeze into a seat next to us at a wedding, I have to turn to her and whisper “shhhhhhhhhhhh.”

I don’t like to shush my aunt. She doesn’t like it either.

She keeps her condo at 83ΒΊ. We sweat when we’re there but no one wants to ask her to put on the air because it’s her house. No one except me. I’ll just say “Holy crap, Aunt VeVe, it’s hotter than Hell in here” and she puts on the air. I’m subtle like that.

She drives by herself to New York City at least once a year to visit her 80 year old cousin and do up the town.

You couldn’t pay me enough money to drive to New York City, let alone in New York City. I’m a wuss.

She drives by herself 800+ miles down to North Carolina to visit my parents. She takes two days to do it and won’t listen to me when I ask her to fly instead.

You know she’s 84, right?

She doesn’t listen to my advice much.

I don’t like driving to the next county by myself. I’m a wuss. I think I mentioned that already.

She flies to Vegas once a year with my parents to visit my brother. Last time, she beat the slots and came home with more money than she had when she left. This irritated my mother who didn’t do so well at the slots and came home with no money. My father doesn’t play slots. You can find him at the blackjack tables.

In the past fifteen years, she’s traveled to Russia, Australia, Alaska, Japan and she went on an African safari and she’s been to a lot of other places that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

The last time I went someplace exotic was never.

I did go to Hawaii and France. But that was over twenty-five years ago for both so I don’t know if that even counts anymore. My old passport is currently at the bottom of Helena’s toy box.

She will go to extremes not to be a bother. Like not calling me when her washer line breaks and floods her condo as she frantically tries to turn her water off, can’t and winds up calling 911and then has to stay in her bedroom for two days to escape the noise of the fans as a cleaning crew fixes her carpet.

I tell her to call me when these things happen. We will come and help her.

And she says OK but then she never does.

Like when she was involved in a golf cart accident and smashed her knee to smithereens and had surgery and waited to call me until she was back home with a huge brace on her leg.

I repeat my instructions to call me when stuff like this happens, for God’s sake and I will take care of her. I need to know that she’s OK. OK?

She says OK but I know she won’t.

Like when she had a bad car accident three miles from my house which shut down the main road and required several fire trucks and ambulances and police cars and she refused medical treatment and was driven home by a police officer because she didn’t want to bother her niece. I found out the next day when she called my mother in North Carolina who then called me in New York to see what I thought about the whole thing.

And I said I would have had an opinion ready and waiting for her if I had only known about it.

I called her, confirmed she was OK, asked if she needed anything and then yelled at her in sheer frustration, asking why she didn’t call me, for shit’s sake, what the hell was the matter with her?

She doesn’t like to be yelled at and told me so.

In no uncertain terms.

I don’t yell at my aunt anymore.

She did tell me when she was having heart valve replacement surgery. My mom flew up to stay with her and we were both with her in recovery and I’ll never forget the feeling of despair I had when I saw her for the first time after surgery. I had never seen my aunt look frail and helpless. I expected her to wake up at any moment and tell the doctor how to do his job.

She recovered incredibly quick, surprising everyone, including her doctor, but not me. I knew she would. Because that’s Aunt VeVe.

She always invites us to dinner when my parents come to visit and stay with her. She makes the best breaded baked chicken.

She always feels guilty for asking Nate to help her out with something, whether it be her phone, television or computer. I keep telling her not to, that Nate is happy to help her, she is not a bother.

She doesn’t believe me.

She has never missed any of my kids’ birthday parties.

She was there for my surprise 30th birthday party, as well as my surprise 40th and I fully intend on seeing her at my 50th. But I don’t want a surprise party. Everyone hear that?

I have an 84 year old aunt and she is one of the strongest, independent, capable, intelligent, caring women I have ever had the privilege of knowing.


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28 thoughts on “I have an 84 year old aunt”

  1. Avatar

    Andie…your aunt sounds like a wonderful and unique person. She’s someone who I would like to be just like if I make it to 84 (without the physically fit part, of course, since I think it’s a bit too late for that…lol) And she is just adorable, too!

  2. Avatar
    Domestic Goddess

    Oh my gosh! I love her! Can I borrow her for a few weeks, just to get to know her?

    You’re really lucky to have such a vivacious Aunt VeVe in your life.

    I even love her name!

  3. Avatar

    Thanks for this post.

    I read (dare I say STALK) your blog, and enjoy laughing out loud at all your posts. I’m sorry I never leave comments so please forgive me. However, I just HAD to leave a comment on this one…

    Your aunt sounds like a wonderful person. It sounds like you’re lucky to have her and she’s lucky to have you. I can only hope I’m as active as she is when I’m her age!


  4. Avatar

    She’s fantastic! And she looks so young too. Just goes to show you that keeping your mind and body active really does help keep you young! Go Aunt VeVe!

  5. Avatar

    Thank you for sharing your Aunt VeVe with us today. She sounds like quite the lady and reminds me a bit of my Grannie who at 90 didn’t want to bother anyone so walked to the grocery store for groceries and back home. My Grandfather yelled at her. She didn’t like to be yelled at but wouldn’t call. She reminded him she used to tie him to the clothesline so he wouldn’t get lost in the woods as a toddler. She reminded him in front of us kids. He didn’t yell at her anymore, and she still didn’t call for help.

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    One of my greatest pleasures is to sit down, in the quiet of my bedroom, after a long day with my six tear old and read your blog. It’s not often I read something that makes me laugh out loud, and I read a lot. You have a true gift. You grab me right at the beginning with a clever title, then take me on a wild ride. I hope you don’t mind, but I want to use some of your pieces to model” voice” for my students. I’ll select the appropriate ones. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

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    Yeah…I love it. VeVe sounds awesome. She also sounds like she has more energy than myself who just happened to have a dizzy panic attack whilst in the garden picking grape tomatoes. It’s a lot of work, you know. LOL. Especially when I just came from a vacation with 3 kids. Can VeVe come over and play?

    I should point out though…that my ex-husband’s wife name is VeVe…well…at least he calls her VeVe and he has a motorcycle with the plates that say My VeVe. And this particular VeVe has NO PERSONALITY. That’s right…if she’s reading this…VeVe, my dear…you have no personality at all!

    Your Aunt VeVe is my kinda gal πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

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    She sounds amazing! I’m so glad that you appreciate her now, all too many people don’t know how great someone is until they are gone. Sad to say but true. I feel inspired by her and I don’t even know her. Thank you for sharing her with us. πŸ™‚

  9. Avatar

    Aunt VeVe sounds wonderful! Reminds my of my husband’s 89 year old grandmother. Grandma Kathryn can whup me at just about anything and isn’t looking to stop anytime soon.

  10. Avatar

    Your aunt is probably the most amazing woman I’ve never met. She would have gotten along with my granny, I believe.

    I only met her a couple of times but she was very old-fashioned (obviously, being old) and ALWAYS wore dresses. No matter what. But she used to take her dress and tie it between her legs and do cartwheels. At 90. Oh that lady. <3

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