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Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

This is a dreary, icky, melancholy day. It is the week of Thanksgiving and what is on my mind most is that I miss my Aunt Tammie. Her birthday is November 28th, and so she is on my mind. She died at the age of 37, car accident. My dad, her big brother, died when he was 27, car accident.

It felt strange when I outlived my father’s age, and it will be weird to live longer than my aunt did, unless something happens to me. I guess there is still plenty of time for something to take me out early… for what little bit of family I have left, I hope not.

I want to think about all of the fun and crazy times I shared with Tammie. She was a character! She was boisterous, animated, hysterical, and the list goes on and on. She was only 12 years older than I, so we did some really silly things to pass the time. When I was 11 or 12 and she was in her early twenties, we would stay up all night finding something to entertain us. We made videos pretending we were MTV VJs, made up dances, dressed in costumes… she taught me how to twirl a baton and how to do “The Bus Stop” and other dances from the late 70’s. She introduced me to music that was before my time. We watched countless 80’s movies over and over. She taught me how to play poker… and lots of other things. But most importantly, Tammie would tell me stories about my father… funny, silly stories… memories that would really give me a sense of what it was like to hang out with him. She painted pictures for me that I so desperately needed. No one else did that in my life.

Tammie was so loving and she just wanted to feel loved and appreciated in return. Unfortunately, people found a way to take advantage of her good nature and she did not have the best relationships with men in her life. She had the potential to do anything in the world she wanted to do. She was mad smart and could get any room rolling with laughter. She also had a multitude of talents. The thing is, she got bored really easy… so she tried out a variety of occupations. She was a passionate person. She loved animals and gave that to me. I looked up to her so much. Even though she was unstable a lot of the time… she was artistic, crafty, wrote poetry, painted, had a beautiful voice, could play the piano by ear, was a fabulous cook… and was also good at math, computer work, and interested in science. I thought she was amazing! I wish that she had felt amazing… I am certain that she never really did.

Tammie never recovered from losing her big brother, my dad. I didn’t realize to what extent until I went to her funeral. I won’t go into details here, but she carried that broken heart around her entire adult life. I later learned that she spent a significant amount of time at his grave site. When we buried her, she was placed beside him.

Back to the fun stuff… she used to dress me up like I was her doll. I was 5 and she would paint my face with make-up, complete with a beauty mark – always – and curl my blonde hair into ringlets with shiny ribbons tied in bows. She taught me how to roller skate and we would go to the rink in the middle of the day and skate under the disco balls and flashing lights until dinner time.

One of my fondest memories is being on a cruise ship docked in Mexico… it was incredibly windy, and the band played “American Pie” and “Brown-Eyed Girl”… Tammie, my sister, and I twirled around and ran around dancing for what seemed like forever. It was one of those magical moments in time. We had a blast! I am so thankful for that. You couldn’t be around Tammie and not have fun!

Okay, now I am ecstatic! I just stepped away from the computer to try and find a picture of the two of us… and I found one from the night in Mexico!!!

One summer at camp I went by her name instead of my own. It wasn’t on purpose exactly, but I played along. I had an old t-shirt of hers that was black with gold sparkly letters that spelled her name. I wore it to camp one day and the girls I met there called me “Tammie” for the next couple of weeks. I never told her that.

She took me to the beach several times while I was a pre-teen. We would take our floats out past the wave break and float and talk all day long. She took me to my first Bon Jovi concert. I was 10 and obsessed with the band. She stood outside in the rain in line for hours so we would get good seats. She also drove me an hour away and stood in line so that I could have my picture taken with Kirk Cameron (you know, the kid from “Growing Pains” back when he was cute and before he went crazy).

I wish that I also had a picture of her before my father passed away, back when she took better care of herself and still had her dreams alive for a bright future. When I think about it, I carry on a lot of things I picked up from her. She absolutely loved Halloween, made a big deal out of birthdays, always wanted to learn something new, and she treated her pets like her children. I hope that she recognized, even a little, that she gave me so much and influenced me in some pretty damn cool ways!

I just had to get out the mixture of thoughts and memories swimming around in my noggin today. I miss my big “sister”… I always will.

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