Maybe our closeness started when I was born on her 17th birthday. Maybe because we had a few years together before she had her own kids (I know how great it is to be the single, “fun” aunt). Anyway, we bonded and have done lots together over the past 35 years.
For my blessing day in October 1971, she bought me a beautiful christening dress—three layers of fluffy white with the most beautiful embroidery and matching bonnet. It was so special to put that dress on Addie for her blessing day.
Aunt Marti has earned several nicknames, the most popular being “Auntie M,” “Aunt Party,” and my nephews even used to call her “Aunt Mommy.” She’s called Aunt Party by Willy and me because we always had a party at her house and our friends were even welcome there. We were much older than her kids, but we used to hang out there and torture my little cousins and it was always a fun get-away.
Aunt Marti’s personality is intense. Sometimes I chuckle when I imagine her and my mother as young girls because they have two very big personalities (like my girls)—I imagine lots of drama and fun, just like my house! She is very serious about living the gospel, but also about having fun, doing things right, being honest, getting to know and help other people. She is also humble, though, and has been as willing to learn from me as I have been to learn from her. That always makes her more comfortable to be around—a friend as well as an Aunt.
On my 29th birthday, she called me and said, “We’re finally the same age!” Heh, heh. And we will be now, forever!!
I always appreciated Aunt Marti’s interest in my life. Now that I am a mom with a home and kids to care for myself, I know what a sacrifice it must have been for her to wait up for me when I came to visit and to stay up late and talk. I know it must have been hard to watch me grow up and make stupid mistakes and still be one of my greatest fans. I have learned so much from her example as a woman, mother, and friend, and from her and Uncle Ralph as parents. They showed me that if you set a family standard and goal and never waiver, eventually all your kids will come around and be really decent people. My Mayberry cousins are all really cool and so much fun to be around. I hope I can be the kind of mom who raises that kind of family. I hope I can be the kind of friend, daughter, and Aunt the she has been. I hope we get to spend lots more of our birthdays together, even though we’re almost 1400 miles apart these days.