My Aunt Inez passed away several years ago. She was the oldest of Grandma's nine children. Grandma and Grandpa moved to Tulsa for a short time after Inez was born. Grandma was so afraid that someone out in the big city would steal her baby she pinned their nightgowns together. No one ever took her baby.
As the oldest child, a lot of the responsibility for the younger children fell on Inez' shoulders. She said she was instructed to mind or take care of her two years younger brother and knew she had better do it well.
Because Aunt Inez lived in California and only came in one time a year, I did not know her very well. Although Grandma rode a bus all the way out there to be with her daughter at the birth of her first child, Inez raised her children alone in what we thought of as a foreign land.
Grandma and Inez exchanged frequent letters though. I know this because I was standing next to Grandma once when she was reading one of the newsy missives. Grandma moved the letter aside and told me it was not polite to read someone's mail. I told my grandson just yesterday not to read my text messages.
I remember hearing Inez tell how all three of her "stair step" children had the chicken pox at the same time. She said she sat up all night with them and made them each a pair of pajamas. That makes me sad to think of her so far away from her Mama when her children were sick.
As my uncle could fly airplanes, they sometimes flew here for their vacations. Once during the sixties, he was going to give us all an airplane ride. We went to the airport but Daddy would not let us kids ride. He always imagined the worst things would happen. I think it is better if kids are not raised to be scaredy cats.
Inez came to visit one hot summer when Grandma had put in her usual big garden. Grandma asked Cathy, Inez' only daughter, to pick the green beans. She was eager to help and picked every green bean bush in the garden.
Aunt Inez came to spend a couple of weeks with Grandma while they still lived at the farm. As usual, several of us grandchildren were there while she and her three children were visiting. We were all lined up on the sofa, complaining of an upset stomach, and waiting for Inez to give us a dose of Kaopectate. When it became my turn, I made an ugly face and refused to take the nasty stuff. Inez said, "Fine" and screwed the lid back on the bottle. I decided later that I needed it after all but she would not give me any. I thought she was being mean when she tried to make me take the medicine but then really mean when she would not let me take the medicine. Even back then, I was hard to please.