Tuesday, January 4, 2011

52 Letters in 52 Weeks - #1

My aunt, Shirley Ritchie, passed away last month.  She was my mother's only sibling and although in her mid-70s, she died too young as far as we're all concerned.  She was one of those memorable people, a force of nature with a bigger than life personality.  All those cliches.  In her case they happen to be true.

Once she passed her tomboy stage in the mid-1940s, she went full-on glam.  I remember her best from my childhood in the 70s.  She had teased up white blond hair, usually with a bow, bright red long fingernails, and rings on every finger.  She had a nice figure and fit in perfectly in the decade of hot pants.

I just received a package from her husband, Don, containing three of her many rings.  There was a note tucked inside that said he found these in her jewelry box with my name on them.  I was very touched.  I don't necessarily share her sense of style, but the day she died I told everyone I was going to paint my nails blood red and wear all my rings at once in her honor.  Having these is even better.

My Aunt Shirley on the left, my mother on the right
While at my son's karate class tonight I composed letter #1 in the letter writing challenge to my Uncle Don, expressing my gratitude for the gift.  I let him know how much Shirley meant to me, how he was in our thoughts, and how we understand his loss.  I felt good expressing my feelings to him.  Hopefully he will feel the same knowing how much his family cares.

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