My grandmother, Auntie Gladys and Aunt Shirley in our dining room on Second Concession (Fryer Street), mid-1970s.
Who knows what mischief lurked behind Auntie Gladys's eyes in this picture, but it looks like a typical example of her amusing everyone else. She loved baseball, enlivening any situation and, as Gavin beautifully summed up in a post he wrote after she passed away on Monday night, "she loved her hugs."
She was always "auntie"—"aunt" was too stuffy for her joyous nature. Mom says I always ran to the door if I knew she was coming in, likely knowing there was fun ahead. Though she didn't have any children of her own, she acted as if her army of nieces and nephews were. Even when I reached university age, I called her from far-flung places to update her on my latest adventure in London or New York.
The last time I saw Auntie Gladys was on Christmas Day. I knew it was a matter of time before she passed on and her shrunken appearance was a shocker, yet I felt less despair than when I visited Dad for the last time. I think the presence of many others who passed through that day helped, as did as her laugh when I clumsily attempted to feed her water. Weak as she was, it showed a hint of the old spunk.