Monday, July 16, 2012

Auntie Linda

Today's story isn't a typical Kellie's World piece, but when I sat down to write, this is what came out.
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Top to Bottom: Linda, Joe and Tony
Call me Auntie Linda she insisted. That was difficult because she was only two-and-a-half years older than me. My mother’s only sibling felt more like my sister than my aunt. Linda lived on Essex Street with my grandparents, and I lived on Ridgewood Avenue with my immediate family. We were only a few blocks apart, walking distance for Brooklyn back in the early sixties. Living so close, we saw each other frequently, and while we played well together most of the time, occasionally we fought. When she pissed me off I’d pound my fist in her back, smack between her shoulder blades, taking her breath away. Then my mother and grandmother would argue about who was at fault.


When I was eight years old, I moved to Massapequa, Long Island – the country. Linda came to visit often. For some reason, my family’s three-bedroom home with an in-ground pool in the backyard wasn’t enough for us.  Linda and I decided to save up and buy a small wooded shed and put it next the pool as our own private playroom. All we needed was $137.99. We started saving our money, but once we accumulated the massive sum of ten dollars, we couldn’t resist the urge to spend some of it.  Surely our play shack would need a bowl to hold our candy. We bought a small dish that came with its own perfectly matched wicker basket. Together, the bowl and basket cost just three dollars and forty-one cents.  I’m not sure what ever happened to the bowl, the wicker basket, or the remainder of our funds. We grew up and moved on.


Linda married some prick and had four children with him. I joined the navy. Our conversations were punctuated by years and I saw her even less frequently. Most of the news about her life came from my mother’s reports about her dickhead of a husband.


One-day mom called me. She was distraught. Linda fell off her roof trying to change a light bulb on the side of her house. She was brain dead. The doctors took Linda’s body off life support shortly thereafter. My older sister was gone. 


I wore my dress blue uniform at her funeral and I retained my composure through most of the service. As I helped carry her casket from the church, the choir started playing "Amazing Grace." I broke.  It was a miserable day.  


But I smile when think about the dreams a child can purchase for three dollars and forty-one cents.

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Today's post is entered theYeah Write #66 summer series.  Please stop by and take a look at some of the fine writing from a great group of bloggers.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

28 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. My cousins were like siblings who lived in other houses because we were so close -- when my youngest female cousin died suddenly at age 23, we all grieved like we lost a sister. Someone had tucked the sheet music to "My Brown-Eyed Girl" into her casket -- I've never listened to the song the same way since then.

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  2. I got goosebumps reading this. The way you introduced her death hit me in the back between my shoulder-blades and took my breath away. What a wonderful use of the prompt to end on a light and positive note. Really great writing. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Well, THAT wasn't the ending I was expecting!! That is so sad! As always, great story telling, Joe.

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  4. Such a beautiful, heat-wrenching story. Thank you for sharing it with us. That last line was so powerful and moving!

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  5. Very touching post. You did a wonderful job of responding to the prompt without that being the central focus of your story. Thanks for sharing this.

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  6. Oh so Hard. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. The memories you guys made though, beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I really liked this post!

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  7. Oh Joseph, I still cry for her,I don't know a day that goes by when I don't think of her. I can only imagine what it must feel like for you. I had forgotten how close you two were. Love your baby sister Dina

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  8. I am so sorry for your loss. This was beautifully written...the details of childhood spent together and then the years and miles and life choices that came between you.

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  9. Wow. I'm so sorry for you. I'm even sorrier for Linda and her children. There are some things we can't understand this side of things. Thankfully, you had time when you were younger to develop a true relationship.

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  10. I feel like I've been hit by a truck. I was getting all warm and comfortable thinking about how you and your aunt reminded me of my husband and I when we try to save up to buy a house...and then you completely destroyed me. I'm so sorry, both that she married a dickhead and that she left you too soon.

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  11. oh man, i'm so sorry for your loss.

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  12. Sounds like her relationship with you was one of the positives in Linda's too short life. Carpe Diem.

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  13. I felt like you were looking at a faded photograph of your childhood and telling us about it. I'm sorry for your loss. It's cruel what time does sometimes, you know? I wonder if there are butterfly-effect type moments in our lives and what they are. Lovely post.

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  14. It sounds as if you and Linda had a childhood bond that never shifted, despite the changes in circumstances. I'm very sorry you lost her.

    What an emotional punch in the gut, by the way! Well done.

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  15. That was an unexpected, emotional punch in the gut (as Kathleen put it above). Well written and definitely a memory worth sharing. So sorry Linda's young life was cut so short...

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  16. oh my. these bonds that last, even with the frailty of life does not. so sorry that you know this pain.

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  17. My heart hurts for you. Hang onto the good stuff.

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  18. That's wonderful that you were able to have such a close relationship. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  19. I enjoyed how your relationship builds through the years (totally got the punching her between the shoulder blades thing, must have done that myself) and you conveyed how special it was to both of you. The end and your sorrow sicken me however. Life is so fragile which you, and now I, both know (I recently had an accident that left me grateful, to say the least).

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  20. That is such a sweet tribute to Linda.

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  21. I am so sorry to read about the tragedy of Linda's death.
    Although I did thoroughly enjoy reading about your (seemingly vivid!)memories of your childhood together.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  22. I normally try to respond to the comments left on the blog, but for this post I decided to forgo my usual practice and just respond to the comment left by my sister Dina.

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  23. How bittersweet and unexpected. Very emotional and well told. I can picture you in your dress uniform at the funeral and it breaks my heart.

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  24. The contrast between this older sister who wanted to be the aunt she genetically was and her death while in a horrible relationship is so sad. And the part where you broke. I was surprised you stayed together that long.

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  25. I'm so sorry for you loss. This was beautifully written.

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  26. Ginny Dempsey ScottJuly 26, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Wow Joe, That was heatbreaking.... I'm sorry that happened to you and Linda. xoxo Gin

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