Happy Birthday Aunt Nancy
April Fool’s Day this year began like every other April Fool’s Day had before. Wake up late (IF it was a weekend day), lay there is bed, check emails on the phone, and then realize “Oh crap! I have to call Aunt Nancy or I am going to end up on her shit list!”
This year, however, I quickly realized that I might be off the hook, at least in the physical world, because we lost her shortly after her birthday last year. It made me think though. Over the course of my entire life, she was a constant fixture. I often spent more time at her (and Uncle Bob’s) house than anywhere else, and I loved to go over there and hear her quirky, sarcastic take of life and the state of everything – the least of which was not who was currently on the Aunt Nancy ‘Shit List.’
Admittedly, I spent some time there over the years for a few minor offenses, but for the most part, I consider myself lucky in that I spent very little compared to some others members of my family! That said, Nancy’s shit list was a pretty famous phenomenon across my very large extended family. So much so, that it was an oft spoken of topic at her funeral last year. I should qualify levels of the List though, and the reason I am revisiting it today, on her birthday of all days.
First, there was what I consider the “minor” list, which was the one she kept for smaller infractions within her group of family and friends… you know, things like being the target of some ribbing, and unintentionally embarrassed by someone at a family gathering. That was a minor infraction that could land you on the shit list, albeit, for not very long. The MAJOR list, however, was another thing entirely, and NO ONE who knew her wanted to be part of that list.
That list was the birthday list.
Basically, Aunt Nancy would wake up VERY early on her birthday, and as many of us in the family imagined, she would sit by the phone waiting for people to call and wish her a happy birthday, after which, she would remove their names from the shit list. Anyone crazy enough to NOT call her on that day was subject to a year’s residency on said list. Fortunately, I don’t think I ever forgot to call, because I would likely have never heard the end of it, seeing as how I lived so close, and spoke with her often.
I realize that I may be painting a picture of her that is not super positive, but in reality, she was wonderful. She was the glue that bound avery large family together, and while she has a very snarky and sarcastic side (New Yorkers would say she was a ball buster), she also cared more about people than anyone I have known, and would go out of her way to help someone in need.
I guess the gist of this post is to remember someone that had such a huge affect on shaping who I am as a person, and also to wish her a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! If I know my Aunty, she is sitting up there in heaven ticking the names of the people who remember her birthday off of the shit list, and damned if I am going to reside there this year.
I love, and miss you, Aunty Nancy.