Week 11: March 15, 2014
My favorite aunt was Christine Askew Amos, my great-aunt, but always just Aunt ‘Tis to me, which is what I called her from a young age. She was my grandmother Ola Askew McKinley’s sister and she lived next door to us I was born.
Aunt ‘Tis helped my mom take care of me when I was born. My mother’s first daughter, Monica Yvonne, was born with spina bifida and died around six months of age. No matter what they told my mother when I was born, it took awhile for her to really believe that there was nothing wrong with me.
Aunt “Tis was a woman of short statue with long auburn hair -almost touching the ground when it wasn’t wound on top of her head; when she washed it, it was laid across chairs to dry. My favorite job was standing on a stool to comb her hair when it hung down in the morning. It never took Aunt ‘Tis long to braid it before beginning the process of encircling it to lay on top of her head. It was said she kept it long as her husband always loved her hair.
I never wanted breakfast at my house, but my feet would hit the grass toward Aunt Tis’s house yelling “Aunt ‘Tis I want pancakes.” That always worked, pancakes I got!
Whenever she went out, she always carried a red purse and if I was with her it became my job to carry it; that purse always fascinated me as a young girl and it was given to me after her death.
She was my grandmother McKinley’s favorite sister and she often came to visit – they’d sit out in the front porch swing and talk. If their other sister Liza was there, it become more of a gossip fest, but no one ever confessed that they gossiped. They would just say that they were only talking.
No matter when you stopped in at her house, she’d find something to rustle up to serve you. My mother never forgets just how good a pan of fried sweet potatoes and biscuits were one day; she still says, “I ate myself silly that afternoon.” A Southern woman can make a meal out of anything in her kitchen!
Thank you Aunt ‘Tis for all the memories!