Memories of Aunt Edy

Two Sisters (Detail of Painting)

In memory of my Aunt Edy

Edy and her sister Ruth were born in Pueblo, along with their brother Al (Itzak). During the Second World War, the two sisters went to USO dances at the Pueblo army, which is where Ruth met Hy (from Brooklyn) and Edy met Bob (from Connecticut). After the war, each couple began married life in the family home at 232 Broadway, and the two men joined their wives in working in the family business, Central Furniture. (Later the men became wholesale furniture reps while Ruth and Edy opened a gift shop in downtown Pueblo.)

So I grew up in a household that included my parents (Ruth and Hy) and myself, my Aunt Edy and Uncle Bob, my cousin Vicki, my Grandma Katz, who was deaf, and a long-standing boarder, Mrs. Brewster. My cousin and I were dressed like twins and when we were very young, called our parents Daddy Hy and Daddy Bob, Mommy Ruth and Mommy Edy. Despite this arrangement, it was always clear whose parents were whose.

But still, in many ways Aunt Edy was like a second mother to me. My mother was a night owl, and slept late, but I have always been an early riser and would wander downstairs to find Edy in the morning. Edy drove but my mother didn’t, so Edy often took us to school, to Sunday school, to the library. Later Edy became the Girl Scout leader for our troop. At high school reunions, my old friends from grade school still remember her.
Later, both couples moved to Aurora, Colorado, in neighboring condo townhouses, and cut a hole in the fence between their front yards. So the extended family continued. My kids always made a bee-line for Edy’s door. 

Edy was always an additional sounding board for me. This was especially important since my mom died in 1984, when I was only 35. I certainly needed Edy’s advice negotiating life’s curveballs.  
In 2016, Edy and I had an adventure together, a trip from Denver to Boston and then on to Baltimore, a trip involving trains, planes, and automobiles. Edy was 97 at the time. It was a great fun, and Edy had a chance to visit with my kids in Beverly, MA, and do a little sightseeing with us in Massachusetts.

Edy remained a role model for me. She made friends easily, especially with those who need help. She was resilient, having survived tough years as a caregiver, as well as health challenges of her own. Jokes and funny stories were part of every conversation. In her 80s and 90s, she took classes ranging from science to embroidery. She read the Harry Potter books and Shakespeare plays with her grandchildren. She loves to watch Korean sit coms. After cataract surgery at the age of 87, she was so excited about her improved vision that she began making and selling beautiful jewelry, and this past few years, had been teaching her grandchildren to make jewelry, too.  

I know there’s a lot of luck involved in living long and aging well. Even so, I think Edy’s example is instructive: keep learning, follow your interests, keep laughing, and stay connected. That’s good advice for living, no matter how old you are.

Two Sisters (Painting)

Written by Randa Dubnick

Images: “Two Sisters” (Painting by Randa Dubnick)