Look around; there are echoes in here.
I sat by the springhouse built by my grandfather, a small pool of water and a stone step at the front of the grotto. Built by hand, the small stones and concrete describe a rounded form. My mother sat here with her sisters, and my grandmother. The water was dark and cold and as near as I could tell, reached the other side of the world through the mysterious passageways of the inner earth. Time existed there but it was not the time we associate with the everyday. Time was suspended, opening doorways into ages past and ages to come. The springhouse was a tiny spot on the face of the world where the rules we so often abide by no longer operated as they should, or I suppose, as expected.
This is where Aunt Fanny and her five sisters came from. A place that existed in many forms but one that in our family memory is like no other. Six sisters who are by turns loving, laughing, stubborn as mules, cantankerous and a force of a united one. They may fuss with each other, but God forbid you got sideways with one of them for you were sure to hear from all of them.
That bond formed Aunt Fanny’s life for 92 years. As did the unbreakable one she had with Uncle Skee, a force of his own. She was demanding, pushy, challenging; but you loved her like all the others and knew that if got yourself in trouble, she would charge in and rescue you. As kids we were always a little afraid of Aunt Fanny (but not as much as of Uncle Jack!) but we knew she loved us and would, at all times, save us she if we needed it. There are so many funny stories of Aunt Fanny but here is one that I think represents her dogged determination (and consumer creativity!) to get what she wanted.
And boy, if heaven thought Aunt Marty could be difficult, they just welcomed a pro!
Aunt Fanny- Ink Saleswoman
In fifth grade, Aunt Fanny, always on the lookout for making a bit of money, came across a jar of beet juice. So, at St Matthews Grade School, she went into sales mode and asked some boy if he wanted to buy red ink. He did, 10 cents passed hands and Aunt Fanny commenced her sale and presumably went back to the Glen.
Unfortunately, when he took the red ink home, he found black pepper in the bottom of the jar and discovered, almost assuredly by his parents, that he has been sold a jar of used beet juice. So, the natural Catholic education justice system kicked in gear (yes, the nuns, God help us) and told them he was hoodwinked by Frances Schneider, master criminal.
She had to give the money back. It is unknown how jars of beet juice ink went unreturned. She was something unique.
We all loved her as the family she was.
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