Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ghosts In Someone Else's House

There’s a picture in someone’s shoebox of my great Aunt Sylvia standing with a giant shark she caught. My aunt still uses the Queen's English after all these years so far away from her home in New Zealand.

Jack grew up here in Seattle. During the depression, he paid to take the streetcar while his father stood on the corner and waited for him to hand his transfer out the window as the rattling car passed by; they could not afford two tickets.

Tall gentle Milton was a B-17 pilot during the war, he bailed out of his shattered bomber at 20,000 feet above a dark German night. When he landed a farmer with a hunting rifle herded him into town and turned him over to the Nazis. Milton used the walk through snow covered farm roads as an opportunity to ditch his dog tags that identified him as Jewish. He ended up a POW instead of in a death camp.

Heinrick jumped from a box car bound for a concentration camp as it whipped through a frozen forest. He walked for weeks alone in the woods. He was eleven.

Earl played cards all over Europe, says after the war he can’t stand cards. Never fired a shot, because he was a dentist.

Madeline’s father, a wealthy Aristocrat in Vienna, moved his whole house to Buenos Aires, including the cooks and housekeepers. She speaks more languages than she lets on.

Billie went to Garfield, as did many of her friends she still sits with daily. She was the one all the boys wanted to go out with, “because I gave them what they wanted,” she says with a wink of her clear blue eyes.

Grace braided her husband’s hair while he slept in her lap Saturday afternoons at Volunteer Park. And those two have been together since high School (Garfield class of ’41)

Everybody gets old, as the song goes, we all end up ghosts in someone else’s house. Talk to an old lady today.

My Grandad met my Grandmother at a dance, family history says he went out with my Great Aunt Sylvia first.

she never married.

*I have rules at work: I changed all the names and such. The stories are true as when they told me though. I love you aunt Sylvia.

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