A Christmas card arrived today from Aunt Rose in Florida. Aunt Rose is the last surviving member of my parent’s generation on my mother’s side of the family. She was married to Mom’s brother Jim. She celebrated her 95th birthday in September.
Aunt Rose appreciates the value of hand-written correspondence. For years she has spent part of each Sunday writing letters to her children and other friends and family members. Several times a year we would send her a card for some occasion or other, often with a photo enclosed. Within a few weeks we would receive a hand-written note in reply, usually several pages long, telling us how she and other members of the family were and what they were doing.
The card that arrived today evoked a bittersweet memory. The other Aunt Rose in our lives was Mom’s older sister, who passed away several years ago. I had many occasions to help her with her correspondence, and with filling out forms that required her signature. Although I had power-of-attorney on her behalf, she insisted on signing her own name. As her eyesight deteriorated because of untreated macular degeneration, she lost the ability to locate the spot on the page where she needed to sign her name. She would ask me to place the tip of the pen at that spot and orient the paper correctly, and she would sign. Her muscle memory from years of writing enabled her to write legibly even though she could no longer see what she was writing.
Aunt Rose in Florida wrote her own note and signed her name on the card that arrived today, acknowledging help from her daughter Nancy. When I write that the paper and ink of a hand-written letter embody one’s affection for the recipient, Aunt Rose comes to mind. Both Aunt Roses, in fact.