Sunday, February 6, 2011
I have been able to visit Aunt Jean a few times in the passed couple of weeks. Each time I go we talk a little about "today" and mostly about before. She openly talks about how much she hates Alzheimer's Disease. She hates not remembering things and losing her thought mid sentence. I am glad she will talk about this with me. She has tried so hard for a long time to seem like everything is okay, so I am sure it is nice to finally just stop pretending. If not by choice, by neccesity. When we bring up the past I always talk about the nights I spent with her. Saturday nights, every so often, when Mom and Dad would go out. Aunt Jean and I would go through her jewelry, eat something including Green Beans and watch Empty Nest and Golden Girls. I vividly remember this part of my childhood, which is nice, because I don't remember a whole lot of it!
When I ask her about her childhood she was able to remember a lot. She told me how my Great Grandparents met. Emma Cundy (my Great Grandma Ahrens) worked at a restraunt and Bill Ahrens (my great grandpa) made a delivery there from a delicatessen where he worked. He asked her on a date and the rest was history. Aunt Jean said she and my Grandmother were always close growing up. Aunt Jean is older, but they shared many of the same friends. When they were young they lived in Clifton. She said they would often dress in their best clothes and heels and walk to Eden Park to hang out with friends. Snow, Rain, heat...always dressed in heels! I can't imagine walking 1/3 that far in heels. She said a friend of theirs Uncle ran the shelter at Eden Park, so they were able to hang out there. My Great Uncle John owned a Bar in Clifton. She said My Great Grandpa owned a linens company and provided the linens for the restraunt. My Great Grandma would not only cook all of the meals for the bar, but also make aprons and linens for my Great Grandpa. I asked Aunt Jean what her aspirations were as a child. She said she always wanted to be a Secretary. She started at 17 and was a Secretary into her 70's. I guess she was exactly what she wanted to be. When I asked her how my Grandma and Grandpa met she thought long and hard. She thinks it was when she was at Westinghouse and went on a date with a man there and Grandpa and Grandma were set up as doubles. I am not sure if that is how it happened, she got a little distant when thinking about this one.
When I went over yesterday she gave me all of the written history of the Ahrens, Cundy and Fosse families. This information dates as far back as the 1600's. I haven't had much of a chance to look over it yet, but I plan to soon. I guess maybe this little idea will be more than just a two part project.
A few of the pictures I added are from Aunt Jean's album. Aunt Jean as a toddler (with Jewelry on, she remembered always wearing jewelry as a child) , The Ahren's Family - Great Grandma Ahrens, Grandma Strasser(Dot), Aunt Jean and Great Grandpa Ahrens, My uncle John's Bar and Aunt Jean and her first car