Thursday, March 17, 2011

Aunt Faye, Losses, and Time

Unexpected events come into our world at the moments we tend to be least prepared. The last few days have been filled with a variety of events that will be shared over the next few weeks about many of my ancestors, but the ironies of life sometimes are the ones that hurt the most.

Yesterday afternoon I stood on the land of one of my ancestors with a previously unknown cousin that serendipity brought into my life. Finally I knew the location of the land they toiled over, and got the long awaited clue I have needed for 30 years about a family farm cemetery. Later we stood in one of the family cemeteries overlooking hills of ancestral land with the sun shining and I was amazed and awed by the strength of those that came before- as always. One of the great highs that come in this pursuit/passion of mine.

Within 48 hours of that time, my family is preparing for a weekend out of town  family funeral for a relative who died suddenly when she was out for a walk. Charlene is on my maternal side of the family, and although I had not had the opportunity to get to meet her in years, I was looking forward to the next time she was going to be in the area in order to learn about this woman that played a role in my family. Unfortunately, an accident took here away from those that love her prematurely. This weekend  will bring tears, memories, and the chance to reunite with family members from around the country- some for what could be the final time. There is always the part of me that wants to run around with family group sheets in hand and my tape recorder in everyone's face so that I don't miss any important information, yet respect the pain that each  person carries at the time of these events.

Then I awake to yet another set of sad news, this one digging deeper and hurting more.

Yesterday I lost my dear Aunt Faye.

Alma Faye Tucker and her husband, my uncle
Aunt Faye was one of eleven children born to Clarence Lemuel Tucker and Flora Maude McDaniel in Maunie, White County, Illlinois. When she was a child, the family moved to Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana and lived at what was called the "LN & Y", actually a row of section houses at the railroad where Clarence worked. My grandfather later was proudly able to buy a home nearby for the family on the west side of Evansville. Aunt Faye went to Centennial School and Reitz High School, and worked as a secretary at the huge shipyards that were on the Ohio River in Evansville building LST's during World War II.

Later she moved to California with her husband and son. Her sister, Leona and family also moved to California and they lived closely to each other throughout their lives.

Aunt Faye was a character, a scrapper. She had a wicked sense of humor, loved to go out and have a good time, and was as sentimental as they came. I never had a conversation with her that didn't involve tears at some time.

Aunt Faye was one of the best dancers in the city, winning some contests, and taught my father how to dance. She also stepped in a couple times when he was in a fight as a boy and finished the fight for him (Faye is several years older). Aunt Faye was also strong-willed and determined, not afraid to stand up for herself when she was younger, and a bit rebellious.

I had learned something new about the family just yesterday (Irish news no less) and had planned to call Aunt Faye today to ask her about the information and to share a little gossip. Unfortunately, I will never get the chance. My angel is gone, but I have treasured every moment of getting to know her and to learn from her experiences.

Let this be a reminder to us all. My family is dealing with two losses this week. Don't say , "I'll call tomorrow...." when it comes to anything that you can possibly take just a second to call today about. We all have regrets about the missed opportunities when it comes to our genealogy, so let's not compound it any more. shall we?