As a faithful follower of my blog, you are already familiar with me mentioning “Aunt Do” occasionally. And as you know, I sometimes like to take a trip back memory lane. Cause … memories is all I have left. Many, many memories.
I had great role models in my childhood, teen years and adult life. And Aunt Do was one of them. My aunt, my confidante, my friend. 53 years separated us. But she was the one I could talk to about anything. My sorrows, my joys. One of her favourite expressions was “One never stops learning.” And she never did. She was up-to-date through her interest in anything.
She influenced all of us. Starting with my father and his siblings, who used to live in the same house as her and her late husband Wolfgang. With the three kids spending more time with them than at home. I still remember one story my father used to best describe Uncle Wolfgang and his fine sense of humour, who I never was fortunate enough to meet. My father was supposed to write a quick summary of “The cavalier of the rose” (by Richard Strauß) in his teens with his help. Well, the tutoring session turned out quite differently than planned, a little too cheerfully, enjoying the one or other Gösser Beer. Coming up with the brilliant one-sentence-summary of “She, the old one, loves a young one”. Summing it up perfectly. Of course, my father’s parents were less than thrilled … But. This is the kind of couple they were. Modern, loving, liberal, witty, elegant in mind and style.
My Mum stepped into her life later, they went to driving school together and spent many lunch breaks together. Becoming involved into each other’s lives more and more, including my mother’s sister, my grandparents, my sister. Interwoven forever. Till the end.
And me. I learned so much from her. We all did. The way she wrote letters … funny, heart-warming, intelligently witty. The way she used calendar sheets for messages and as wrapping paper. The way she threw parties, all of us squished together around the large table on the corner bench, piles of food wonderfully prepared and decorated with love. The way she had afternoon tea. The way she talked about her late husband, his family and the past. Just the way she was …
For a few years during my student life we lived together in the same house. She moving down one floor, me moving into a smaller part of the renovated apartment she used to live in with Uncle Wolfgang before his death and her move across the hallway. And for me, this also meant “Back to the Roots” because my father grew up in an apartment of exactly the same 19thcentury house I had moved into. Thinking back, those probably were some of my happiest student years. It might have cost me some of my studying time, but my time with Aunt Do can’t be taken away. Memories I treasure, making me smile. All those little rituals we had … not one day passed when I didn’t look in on her and her cute Beagle Xavi. In the morning when getting the mail, in the evening when returning from uni or work. Often having dinner together. Thursday was “Braunschweiger Day”. (A certain kind of sausage, which on Thursdays was fresh and warm.) So, Xavi and I headed to the butcher to get fresh bread and the sausages and hurried home to Aunt Do to enjoy it. Oh yes, Xavi too. He loved Braunschweiger!
Saturday morning was grocery shopping day! Always lots of fun, ending with me walking Xavi again while she was cooking. My favourite? “Knuspernudeln”. Basically, pasta grilled in a pan with butter to make them a bit crispy with veggies.
Sundays, we sometimes went to visit her cousin Hella a 20-minute drive away to go out for lunch. Well, a girl in her twenties and two lovely elderly ladies … boring, right? WRONG!
Aunt Do was not a blood relative, but family. And that’s what family is all about. People who care and love each other. She was part of us as we were part of her. And I miss her dearly. The pain has gone now and what’s left is the gratitude that she was such an integral part of my life. And I just know, that like my parents, she is up there somewhere, smiling down at me and watching over me. And when the beer sun rises … so will all of you with a glass of Gösser.
Thanks, Aunt Do! For all those memories and your huge impact you had on all of our lives! Never forgotten!