my great-aunt rose o’hara was one of my favorite people on the planet. she was brilliant and kind, and she had a thatch of curly white hair and the type of loud, throaty belly laugh that never failed to make others laugh along with her. when i was little, and spent summers in pennsylvania, she used to take me out for lunch, and it was always such a treat. usually, we’d go to a quirky little diner and she’d tell me silly stories while we shared french fries and i sat across from her in our booth, my legs dangling over the edge of the seat, totally enraptured.
two of my favorite things on earth have come from my aunt rose, who was also a talented seamstress: an old-fashioned christmas stocking she sewed for me when i was a little girl, and a knitted stuffed lamb — appropriately if not creatively named “lamby” by me — that moves with me wherever in the world i happen to go. when aunt rose passed away, more than 10 years ago now, my mom told me that she had been making me a sweater, and i like to think of her sitting in her favorite chair in her apartment, knitting and purling, laughing that deep laugh.
recently, my mom passed on another object that evokes wonderful memories of my lovely aunt, as well: the antique floral-painted china in the photo above. mom had been holding on to it because of the obvious sentimental reasons, but because floral isn’t really her style, she’d kept it out of sight, behind the closed doors of her armoire. knowing she wasn’t using it but not wanting to give it up, she asked me if i’d like it, and of course i said yes. i keep bracelets, brooches, bottles of perfume and other trinkets on it, and it makes me smile and remember my wonderful aunt every time i look at it. at the risk of sounding like an old lady, there’s something so old-fashioned and feminine about it. things just aren’t made that way these days.
flower-painted china from aunt rose: i’m so happy to own it, and i’m not sure there’s ever been a more perfect, appropriate gift.
photo by me