Aunt L's Big Heart

The first few summers I spent at Aunt L's and Uncle A's house they had downstairs neighbours who had 5 rambunctious boys. Well, really 4 rambunctious ones and 1 who had been born with some kind of neurological problem. There was something wrong with his arms, he couldn't bring his arms together and when he did something with one arm the other involuntarily did the same movements. If he waved to someone he did it with both arms up in the air. This made the boy the butt of vicious teasing from his brothers and his parents didn't seem inclined to put an end to it.

This boy found refuge in Aunt L's house. He would saunter over right after breakfast and spend the day, going home only for meals. Aunt L made sure that he took part in all my cousins' and my games. Whenever we would play wedding Aunt L would let me dress up in her wedding gown and Uncle A would take out his suit jacket so that the boy could play groom to my bride. Aunt L even took ''wedding photos'' of the two of us dressed up in aunt and uncle's finest.

Then, one summer day, the boy tearfully knocked on Aunt L's door and announced that his family was moving away. He would still be in the same town, but too far to walk over and riding a bike was out of the question for him. Uncle A would sometimes go pick him up to spend a Saturday with us, but the move seemed to have taken the joy from the boy's life. It just wasn't the same.

The new family who moved downstairs  had 2 children, a boy and a girl. The mother would lock the children out of the house as soon as the father left for work, and would unlock the door just before he came back. Again Aunt L opened her heart to these children. The first time she saw them they had come upstairs asking if they could use the bathroom. They were dirty, and by the way they were looking at the fruit basket on the table, Aunt L knew that they were hungry. So everyday she washed their faces and arms, and fed them breakfast and lunch. One day she decided that she was going to untangle the little girl's long, matted hair. It wasn't long into her endeavour when she discovered that the little girl had lice. The next day she bought a treatment and that special comb for dislodging the lice eggs from the hair. She spent the better part of the day carefully combing every strand of the little girl's hair and applying the treatment.

The mother, instead of being grateful that someone was taking care of her children, was resentful. I don't know if that was the reason, but by the end of that summer they had moved away. Now, before anyone wonders why Aunt L didn't get child services involved, I have to explain that in those days child services only intervened in the worst cases of physical abuse, neglect then was not really considered to be abuse.

I believe that this was the greatest lesson I learned from my magical summers at Aunt L's and uncle A's house. I learned that people can be totally selfless and get great joy from that. I also learned how fulfilling a marriage can be if both partners are on the same wavelength, because I could feel the mutual admiration between Aunt L and Uncle A. She opened her heart and her home and he very much encouraged and participated in that.

I am so blessed to have had them in my life.I love you both, Aunt L and Uncle A! 

jojewel jojewel
56-60, F
2 Responses Mar 13, 2010

Thank you Frito. Uncle A passed away in 2005 from a very aggressive form of lung and bone cancer. Right after the funeral mass, Aunt L took me aside and asked me if I recognized the man standing next to her. It was the boy with whom I had wedding so many years ago. He was there with his wife. He went on to tell me how my aunt and uncle had changed his life and the way he viewed himself. He married, happily, and had 3 children of his own. He and his family now lived in a different town, but he insisted on paying his last respects to Uncle A.<br />
They did for him what they did for me. It is amazing how a bit of love makes a child feel worthwhile.

What special folks...I still feel kinda sad for the little boy that moved away...<br />
There's just no telling how much your Aunt's love impacted the lives of those kids...but it's got to have had a strong effect. Great story! :)