TRAVEL BUG TALES: A LITTLE FAMILY HISTORY
Just to remind you, I’m reminiscing about a trip my sister and I took to Houston to get to know our cousins. We’ve already been to Uncle Al’s and Aunt Helen’s. We were about to go to my Aunt Sis’ house.
My Aunt Sis
My dad adored Aunt Sis. They were more similar to one another than they were to any of their other siblings. From childhood Dad had jokingly called her Sis, instead of her actual name, Elizabeth, and everyone adopted the same habit. It was one of the few things I ever heard him say he regretted doing.
Aunt Sis had her own ideas about everything. She loved all of us as much as a person could love anyone, but at the same time, she had plenty to share with you about how you could improve your present situation. That’s one of the ways she was like my dad. Dad’s philosophy about life was that if you thought about it and tried just a little bit harder, then you could always do something better, faster, cheaper …whatever. For a girl like me, who thrived on praise, it was frustrating.
Aunt Sis’s version of that philosophy was a little more Bible-centric than my Dad’s, but otherwise very similar. Perhaps her focus on the Bible came out of her brush with tragedy. She was married to a wonderful man, Mr. Cole, and they had two children, Gene Alton and Sharon. Then Mr.Cole was killed in an industrial accident.
If I have my family history right, Uncle Ralph had been a union representative at Mr. Cole’s job and took an interest in the Cole family after the loss of their husband and father. Eventually, Sis and Ralph fell in love and married. I’m pretty sure all this happened before I was even born or at least when I was too young to remember, because Uncle Ralph was the only husband I ever knew she had – until one day when I asked my dad why my cousin Gene Alton had a different last name than Aunt Sis. That’s when I was filled in on Elizabeth’s story.
A Little More About Uncle Ralph
Last week I talked about my Uncle Billy and how even though he was only my uncle by marriage, I felt closer to him than my Aunt Helen, who was my blood relative. I felt the same kinship to Uncle Ralph, but was also close to Aunt Sis. Uncle Ralph was always so much fun and full laughter, in spite of Aunt Sis’s constant efforts to contain him into the model person she had picked out for him to be. He loved to eat, but there was one thing he loved more than food and that was to tease people. That huge humor I remember so well doesn’t even show up in the only picture I can find of him, but in the picture in my head he’s laughing.
Ralph and Sis were the only Caves who came all the way out to Georgia to visit us. That tells you something about the bond between Dad and Aunt Sis. During their visit, Mom just about worried herself to death about an old yellow stray cat that was hanging around our yard. Uncle Ralph teased her the whole time, threatening to catch that cat so Mom could give it a good home. Shortly after they’d left Mom got a package from Uncle Ralph. It was a large yellow ceramic cat. Mom was both angry and tickled.
I’ll tell you something else, Uncle Ralph adored my little sister. I knew he loved me, but I knew I was no competition for the petite red-head who made no qualms about the fact that she adored her Uncle Ralph.
So that’s Aunt Sis and Uncle Ralph. Come back next week and meet my cousins.