My aunt deserves a post all of her own. I will do my best to do her justice.
She was born in 1937. My grandpa went off to war when she was only 4 years old and was gone for nearly 5 years. In that time she learned the importance of hard work, sacrifice, and prudence. She lived in a 2 room house with no running water with my grandma. My grandma often had a friend or family member staying at the house who was attending school in town. Can you imagine how cramped they must have been?
Even so, my grandma managed to save a bit of money from every paycheque that was sent to hear by the army so that they were able to buy a house after the war.
I think that it was during these formative years that my aunt learned how to be independent.
She married young (at 21), and bucking the trend at the time, was not a housewife. She worked full time as a legal assistant. She told me on many occasions that a woman should always have her own money and her own bank account.
Though unable to have children of her own, she adopted 2 in the mid sixties (my older cousins). She was a strict parent, but I'm sure that she had to be. She had 2 kids and was working full time. This was in the days before microwaves and boil in bag meals, so she had to plan all her meals in advance. My grandma once told me that my aunt would put a roast in the oven in the morning and set the oven timer to cook it later in the day.
I think that she enjoyed working as she worked until she was 65 (thought she could have retired much sooner).
Her house was always spotless and she had a soft spot for stray animals. We both hate raisins and we both love cats. I hope that I can be as organized as she was once we are parents.
She was only 72 when she passed, while that is much too young, I do find solace in knowing that she did not suffer for too long. I will always be reminded of her whenever I eat a pickled beet (we both enjoyed them) or when I see a Hummel figurine (she was an avid collector).