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I finally finished the collage Pink Susie wanted me to make for the funeral. Pink Susie wanted to add her birth year, name, and year of passing at the top, so it’s still a work in progress, but thus far, this is what it looks like:

I am going to find something for Pink Susie to put into the obituary…a little poem or something appropriate for the occasion. Putting together the collage went fine. As I figured, most people didn’t show up to help, so the pictures were culled mostly from Pink Susie’s personal collection. Since she’d lost a large portion of her photo albums and keepsakes in a fire that burned down her storage shed, there was a lot less to choose from, but I think we did pretty well with what was on hand.

My great aunt lived nearly ninety-five years, from April 5, 1915 (amidst WWI) until the second day of 2010. Just imagine all the things that she had seen and done, all the history she witnessed. Luckily, I had the opportunity to sit with her and ask her about some of it. Actually, I got to sit and talk to a lot of the older family members. In 2005, when I helped put on a mini-family reunion here, Pink Susie and I traveled to visit many of the older family members that were left, a la Zora Neale Hurston and Franz Boaz, collecting stories and pictures in our endeavors to create a memorable family reunion. My great aunt, of course, I had opportunity to talk to more than once. I’m glad I did. Mr. Perfect remarked that of all the younger family members that she saw, she always seemed to remember me when she didn’t remember anyone else. I like to think it’s because I listened to her stories, because I showed her respect , not just from manners and courtesy, but because of all the things she must have seen and experienced, all of the experience and wisdom that was in her. I knew when I was outdone, and I respected that.

As we went through the pictures, I also found a few baby pictures of me, one’s with my mom and Pink Susie’s son and husband, pictures of me in cute little easter dresses and/or Big Bird bibs. A very alert baby, with bright eyes and always smiling. And always with Pink Susie and her family. On the family tree my aunt made, next to my name and date of birth, 6 1/2 pounds, the only one with a weight next to my name. Well, I was practically her baby she says. I am the one everyone calls her daughter. Yes, she exasperates me sometimes, and yes, going to Avon Park is a long trip that eats the entire day, but it’s worth it to remember that there are people who have always loved you, no matter what type of person you were then or are now. Even if they drive you up the wall and down the street. We are all works in progress, not fully finished. There are things we could all work on, things that we do that drive each other crazy. Some we do on purpose, lol. I love my crazy, maladjusted family, the one Pink Susie has diagnosed as half depressed and the other half bipolar. Maybe we are all one or the other. But man, what an attractive bunch of crazy people!