Friday, October 19, 2007


When I was growing up, children referred to their parents good friends as "aunt" and "uncle," but this wasn't a title bestowed upon just anybody, only special people.
My parents had two such friends close enough for that designation - Aunt Grace and Uncle Virge, and Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Bob. All of them played a significant part in my rearing in a time when a village still did indeed raise a child.
I've thought a lot about my Aunt Grace, Aunt Myrtle and my mom this week, as I have about Nick Gallo, a travel writer who died a few days ago while on assignment in Greece.
My Aunt Grace, Aunt Myrtle and Mom all died within 16 months of each other - my Aunt Grace - probably the most boistrous of the "old gang" - characteristically lead the pack two years ago yesterday.
I have good childhood memories of their coffee klatches in our living room on weekday mornings while their husbands were at work. Although I wasn't allowed in on most of the conversation - their voices and laughter mixed with the smell of coffee and cigarettes are a piece of my being. They serve not only as just good memories, but it was those relationships that act as a model in my life for lasting friendships. As in any relationship, their friendship wasn't all laughter and good times, they had their issues. But they always found their way back to the ties that made them "aunts" to each other's children. Role models indeed.
I didn't know Nick Gallo, with the exception of interaction with him on a writers forum to which we both belonged. But I took the time to read two of what I'm sure are the first of many tributes to come, and one of his articles, a moving letter to his son who was growing up as they do - way too soon. The solem anniversary of my losing my Aunt Grace, and loss of such a seemlingly all around good guy and writer made me think of love and loss and the sadness their absence leaves us.
But when we can see past the pain, we then can see the legacy they leave us too.
Nick not only touched his friends and family, he was able to touch people he never even knew, even after his death, with his writing.
My mom and her old gang touched me - in ways they probably didn't even realize.
Their legacy will be with me until I'm gone, and hopefully the model they showed me will be passed on to my own good friends.
And maybe, just maybe, I'll someday be able to write about how they touched my life in the same beautiful way that Nick wrote about his feelings to his son.
I can't think of a more positive way to honor the old gang, or leave my writing legacy.


Anonymous Italian Woman said...

Hi Kerri,
thanks for writing this. I will link to it on my blog. I'm sure Nick would be pleased that you were thinking of him. You're right about the other people who have left legacies as well.

8:00 PM CDT  

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