My family moved to Central Florida in June of 1960 from Eden, New York, outside of Buffalo.  I was four so I don’t remember living in Eden or the move south.  When Aunt Jean, Uncle George and my cousins came to visit I was always excited.  Aunt Jean is dad’s sister and her husband, Uncle George, is mom’s brother.  George Jr. was my age and Robin a couple years younger.  

I can’t remember the first time they came to Florida, it was probably Christmas or Easter.  Those were the times that company usually came to visit.  Aunt Jean was loud and funny and laughed freely.  I love that about her.  My mom is quiet and reserved so I think it was normal for me to be drawn to the difference. 

Aunt Jean loves football, the Buffalo Bills, of course.  She was the first woman I knew that not only watched football games, but understood them.  And she yelled at the ref’s, called them zebras and cussed like a sailor.   She wasn’t a girly girl that wore dresses and dolled up all the time.  She wore jeans and sweatshirts and sneakers.  That seemed normal to me, I could relate to her and I absolutely adored her.  She was bigger than life.  She could laugh at herself.

I saved my babysitting money and when I was twelve, I flew up to Eden to spend a month with Aunt Jean and several other relatives.  In those days flying on an airplane was a big deal.  I remember wearing my Sunday best on the plane.  That summer in Eden is still one of my fondest memories.  Aunt Jean has always had a way of making me feel very special.  Between her and the rest of my relatives, I was one very excited young girl.

Many years later Aunt Jean and Uncle George spent winters in Florida.  It was always a treat if I was able to be home when they were there.  Playing cards or just sitting up half the night talking, it was always fun just to be with them. 

I have always kept in touch with Aunt Jean.  I still get excited to talk or get an email from her.  A few years ago, John and I went up to Eden and stayed a few days.  It was just as wonderful then as it was when I was twelve.  Her house always feels like a warm hug.   I am grateful that I have such a special Aunt in my life. 

Happy Birthday Aunt Jean.  I love you very much!


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