"Chuch" is a Russian word for "aunt"

Dear Chuch,

Today when I told Nana* about the dress I got at Syms, a stunning Marilyn Monroe-esque cocktail dress, for all of $5, I smiled and said, "Yeah, Chuch was with me yesterday." She said you and she would shop at Syms. Yes, and Marshalls, and anywhere there were good sales.

I remember your CB handle used to be the "Bargain Hunter," and I remember hearing you rattle off CB slang on trips home from the city like it was your second language. "Frankie Louie" was one of the exits on the expressway, Francis Lewis Boulevard, and there was always congestion.

I was talking to a good friend yesterday about weddings, and saying if/when he got married, "I would be there with a hat on." You (and by association, Donna) were the only ones who wore hats to my wedding, where I wore a grand and inspired one myself. I've a picture of us, both in our grand and inspired hats, you with a wig at that time because of the chemo. I loved you with the hat and wig, and I loved you later without the wig, with snappy shortish brownish hair. (? Who knew! Weren't you a 'natural' redhead like Lucille Ball? Indeed!)

I have my $5 dress and countless other bargains, also in a wide range of sizes to account for chaotic weight swings. I have a smallish cabined filled with spare gifts, picked up from discount houses and all over, 'just in case' someone needs a present, or someone extra shows up for Christmas. You were a great and giving hostess, and master of that kitchen with two stoves that always astounded me; two stoves, indeed! You always had the kitchen and basement and fridge stocked, and you could probably live for years, and give Christmas presents, without ever entering a store.

I remember when I was a kid and my parents were fighting - a bad one - and I was scared to go in the house, and you met me outside, big and commanding in your mink coat, and let me hide warmly inside the great dimensions of the coat, and walked me inside to my room yourself, holding me close. That was safety, and love, cause nothing bad could happen if you were protecting me.

I remember going to your house to watch the Islanders-Rangers game with my dad, your house fiercely divided along team lines, and cheering on 'your Islanders' at my peril. So much fun!

I remember you and Uncle Walter coming to my college graduation, so proud. I remember you and Uncle Walter bickering but still being loving. I remember you yelling when you needed to yell, and hugging when you needed to hug. I remember you speaking your mind.

I remember barbecues. I remember playing your piano, shyly. I remember the Real Christmas tree (not at all like our fakey one), the best smell in the world.

I remember you, and I miss you.

Love you, wherever you are,

*footnotes are a pain...but for those two readers who don't know me, Nana is my grandmother, 89 and kicking, and Chuch was her sister, my late great aunt who died of cancer.

No comments: