Norma Lee is my great aunt. She's my grandpa's sister on my dad's side.
Growing up, she lived about 45 minutes away from us in Frederick. (She still lives there, now in a nursing home, but I now live about 11 hours and 45 minutes away!)
Beth and I would spend a week every summer with her and other times throughout the year, including a couple New Year's Eve parties with our second cousins. She didn't have children of her own, but I don't think she could have loved us more if we were her direct descendents.
Lately I've found myself thinking of all the wonderful things we got to do at her house, probably in part because I'm starting to envision Jane's childhood and how it will compare with my own.
At NLP's, we did crafts: puff paint on plastic visors and T-shirts, beaded bracelets made of safety pins, drawing our own fashion lines, etc.
She had a killer Lego collection and we could express our creativity that way.
She took us to get hair cuts -- particularly WEDGE hair cuts. She also taught me that pulling all your hair forward on your shoulders is a TERRIBLE look because of the rear view.
We swam in a horse tank full of water in the summers.
We had 10 am Coke breaks and watched a craft show on TV. I learned that you want the cup that has the least amount of ice NOT the one that's filled closer to the top.
We watched many an episode of The Golden Girls.
She took us shopping -- to Gibson's, to the department store, to the children's clothing store that's long since gone but that had a play area for kids.
She loved to dress us up, buy us clothes and even toys. There was
even a blue, floor-length, ruffle-skirt prom dress that became a dress
up gown. There are photos of all of the girl cousins wearing it in turn.
She took us to church and to her church's baked potato suppers.
She would do a variation on "patty cake" with her cats, which I then used on Owen and now Jane -- both love it: "Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man. Roll 'em, roll 'em, roll 'em ... THROW THEM IN A PAN!" (When we visited NLP in the nursing home she did it with Jane's feet.)
I don't know what kinds of relationships Jane will forge with the other adults in her life, but I hope she has someone like Norma Lee in her childhood.