rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

In Memoriam

The cousin who keeps track of things called yesterday afternoon to tell us that my father's last surviving sister had died. She was the last of my aunts who was a blood relative. (I still have two aunts who are married to my two surviving uncles, one on each side of the family.) She would have been 96 this spring. Her name was Velma. I don't think anyone is being named Velma anymore. I remember quite a few characters named Velma in old movies and in books of the early to mid 20th century. Many of them were a bit on the wild side. My aunt Velma was a bit wild in her youth -- she might even have been considered a flapper. She enjoyed dancing and smoking and visiting speakeasies. By the time I knew her, she had settled down to respectable smokeless and alcohol-free middle age. She had acquired religion. When I worked for a while in the family print shop, she operated one of the folding machines. Quick and lively, she moved about the place singing hymns, only snatches of which I could catch over the racket of the machinery. For a while in the 1930's, she lived on Catalina and worked in the pottery there which made arty figurines and such for the tourist trade. The products of the Catalina Pottery have since become collectors items. Whenever I see a piece made at that time, I always think how my aunt Velma might have had a hand in making it. Individual artisans didn't sign their work there, but I like knowing that objects she made anonymously are out there, scattered about the world, valued by their owners.

Velma Marion

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