Wednesday, October 06, 2021

A Memory of Voices


In the above photo, Helen is 22 years old and recently married and Joanna is 16.  Both were older sisters of my father and thusly called aunt by me.  Born and raised in small village of rural New York they each moved on as they "came of age."  And so when I came along 15 years after this photo was snapped they were well established in their adult lives.  Helen lived in a major city some 4 hours from my home and Joanna, by then a Grey nun of the sacred heart, resided in many cities as assigned by the motherhouse; Buffalo, NYC,; Jackson Heights, Washington D.C., and the Mother house in Pennsylvania.

My memory being like swiss cheese, lots of holes in it, is less accurate than in past times.  Although I don't think it was ever completely 100 % accurate.  I recall, as I grew up, Aunt Helen and Aunt Joanna coming to visit us and the numerous relatives nearby at least once a year.  I was made aware yesterday that they did not in fact visit every year, well at least both didn't always make a yearly visit.  But it was regular enough for me to think it a yearly occurrence.  They were delightful, down-to-earth aunts with a genuine affection for all their family members, even their youngest brother's namesake.

I always looked forward to their visits and the stories they would tell with vivid detail.  They exuded warmth and love and genuine fondness such that  I always felt comfort in their presence.

They both have long since gone home to be with their parents, siblings, and most important, their Lord.

Joanna first at age 81, and Helen, the last of all the siblings to pass on, at 93.

Sometime prior to their passing both my sister and I "interviewed" Aunt Helen and, fortuitously, my sister tape recorded their conversation.  Joanna resorted to using tape recordings to correspond with Helen due to Helen's failing eyesight in later years and she passed along one of those tapes to my sister. My sister had a cd made of both tapes and passed a copy along to me.

Yesterday I listened, again, to this cd.  Most of the family lore carried therein were stories I already was aware of but the point of telling you this is that the sound of their voices carried me back to those times when they would tell us stories of their growing up times. calm, matter of fact, lilting and soothing voices. It was as though they were sitting there and conversing like they were still here and present.

The memory of their voices gave voice to my memories.


Blogger JML said...

Yyyou made me think that I should do some voice recordings of my favorite family stories. It has often been suggested to record our aging relatives but now I am in the aged group and I'd like to think that some of the younger family folks might like to hear my voice. Thanks.

7:11 PM  

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