Today my Aunt Florence turns eighty-five!
My Aunt Florence and my Uncle Tom were like a second set of parents to us as we were growing up. They lived right next door to us in a semi-attached house, and this way we got to share our yards so it was like we had one big backyard to play in. I have so many wonderful memories of barbecues and splashing in a play pool, and building snow forts in that backyard along with my brothers and sisters, my parents, and extended family. My parents had seven children and Aunt Florence and Uncle Tom had my cousin Jimmy (he was like having another brother), and they included us seven in on everything, picnics, trips to the park, vacations to their friends farm in Connecticut, and vacations to Florida each summer. They would always have at least a few of us along. And their house was an extension of our house.
I think that while it was exciting for me to be moving into a bigger house when I was nine, it was hard letting go of Florence, Tom, and Jimmy and that physical nearness to them. We did remain close though and we are close to this day. I am Blessed to have her in my life, and Blessed to have her in the lives of my children and grandchildren. Over the past few years she has lost her only son and her husband, and still, she is a woman of Faith, independence and strength.
Florence through the years:
My Aunt Margie, my grandmother holding Florence, and my Mom
My Mom and my Aunt Florence (with unidentified man)
My Mom and my Aunt Florence with my cousin Mary (on her First Holy Communion Day)
My Aunt Marion, my Mom, and Aunt Florence
On one of our many vacations to Disney World with Aunt Florence and Uncle Tom.
We have so many wonderful memories of so many camping trips with Florence and Tom.
My Aunt Marion and my Aunt Florence holding my nephew William (on his Baptism day).
I know I have hundreds more photos of Florence with my kids and grandkids, but I just can't locate them right now. But suffice it to say that she is a BIG part of our lives!
Many Birthday Blessings to you, Florence!