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I Will Remember You

March 22, 2013

I flew home this week… back to the North. The last time I went to my hometown was in October for a wedding. This time I headed home for a funeral. Talk about extremes. My Aunt Georgie passed away last Friday and she was such a large part of my childhood I wanted to be sure to pay my respects.

My family on my mother’s side is a bit confusing. Well, I guess confusing might be the understatement of the century. My Grandmother married 4 times, so my Mom has three half-siblings, seven step-siblings, and a number of siblings my Grandmother informally adopted and called her own. Then they all had kids, many of who have had their own kids. On top of that my Grandmother had two brothers who had their own families that we are all connected with. So when you sit down and try to look at my family tree it takes a lot of paper and a lot of little lines running all over the place. But I was always taught that it doesn’t matter how you are connected to them: family is family. You love them, you look out for them, help them, protect them, laugh with them, care for them. And while I know I didn’t have the most normal of childhoods, I never for one moment doubted that I was loved.

Aunt Georgie. Circa 1994

Georgette Hagen Hall was my mom’s step-sister, but I just grew up knowing her as my Aunt Georgie and I never for one moment doubted that she loved me… even if I was a spoiled brat at times. She was a fixture in my childhood and some of my favorite memories revolve around her. She and her family would come over every year on Christmas afternoon from as far back as I can remember. I can still see her sitting on the couch with my Grandmother… They each had a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Granted, that image could have been any Saturday morning, not just Christmas. There were so many Saturdays in the summer where she would come pick me up and take me to Sunlight pool for the day. I adored going to Sunlight with her and those are probably some of my favorite memories of at place even though I have been there with plenty of others over the years, I associate it with her. Especially the big water slide… She would sit me in her lap when I was really little to go down it and I was too scared to go alone.

My Aunt Georgie was also the secretary at the elementary school that I went to, so I literally saw her everyday at school.  One of my childhood friends, Amber, and I used to run around school helping teachers, playing at recess or organizing plays and whatnot. We were always into one thing or another and she used to refer to us as Lulu and Cookie… what are Lulu and Cookie getting into today? As a result a ton of my creative stories when I was a kid were about the “Adventures of Lulu and Cookie.”

The best school story was when I was in  fourth or fifth grade. I was a bit of brat as a kid, but I usually had good behavior, but one time I got in serious trouble. I was walking home with Anthony Honkomp, who was my neighbor and a year or two younger than me, and I swatted my soft-sided lunchbox at him when he made me mad. The zipper cut his face and he started bleeding a lot, he even had to have stitches. I had to take him into the principal’s office to get help… to the principal and my Aunt. I probably should have gotten suspended for that stunt, I mean he had to go to the hospital and get stitches! But I got detention after school for several days. And not even detention with the other kids that had detention… but by myself in the principal’s office.  You think that would be a huge bonus, right? Easy detention. NOT. It was detention with my Aunt who was not pleased with my  behavior. I spent days cleaning and organizing every.single.thing. in that office. Nuts!  I never got in trouble in school again after that. Lesson learned.

In reality, I learned more than that lesson from her… she taught me so much more and gave me so much. I loved her very much and I’ll never forget her.

I like to think that she and my Grandma are up there in heaven now. Having a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette that is smoke free and smiling down on us. Knowing that we will all see each other again some day.

Humor me with the photo dump.

The Hall Family circa 1983.

The above photo is my Aunt Georgie, Uncle Ed and their three boys- Eddie, Eric and Chris during Christmas in 1983.

The 1990s

The above is from the early 1990s.

scan0009My Aunt Georgie, my Grandma and me (rocking the the blue dress covered in puffy paint and I believe that is a scrunchie headband, not to mention the dorky facial expression) in the early 1990s

scan0011

At my Uncle Jeff’s wedding in 1986 with my Uncle Tommy in the background.

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