Thursday, June 17, 2010
I think most every family growing up has those special friends that are more like relatives than friends. Ours did. When we were younger, we often spent vacations, holidays and the occasional Saturday or Sunday with some of our parents' best friends and by default their friends' kids. Since we were were lakefront residents, Mardi Gras parades were often watched using one of their houses as the 'base camp'! The Charbonnets, Cranes and Gaudrys lived uptown where the parades would roll! Very often the Gaudry household was the welcoming place for a fais do do.
Charbonnet, Crane and Gaudry are names as familiar and special to my childhood as any 'official' relatives' would be. I know my kids have their own set of 'unrelated family' names that would play equally a special place in their hearts.
A few nights ago I received from my brother a forwarded e-mail from one of the sons of a very dear and beloved, non-related 'Aunt'. Aunt Margaret Gaudry was one of the most loving, kind and fun-loving ladies I was blessed to have in my life. She was a childhood friend of my Dad's, and it was always touching to see the affection they had for one another. When my parents had to evacuate to North Carolina after Katarina, Aunt Margaret often called and wrote letters to keep them in touch with 'home'.
The e-mail brought the sad news of her death in December of 2008. With the passing of my own parents, and with most of us no longer living in New Orleans, we had lost touch with those dear families, and no one knew of her passing.
Happily, the e-mail sparked back and forth e-mails from some of her other sons and evoked wonderful memories of growing up with the 'Gaudry Boys'! As we were a family of five girls, (Bill, bless his heart was late to the party, as the last in the line), and they were a family of five boys it was always exciting when we got to hang out with those wild and wooly creatures...boys! They did exotic things...while we were in a beach cottage...they went beach camping! They could actually build the bonfires after we girls gathered the driftwood! Guess we weren't so far away from the 'Hunters' and 'Gatherers', back then. They played cards like real card sharks, but we quickly caught on!
Aunt Margaret's visits were always special and fun! We shared all of our girly stuff with her and she made us feel special because of her interest in all of our feminine toys. We had Dolls, and Doll Houses! As a mother of four boys I can relate to her excitement in being able to abandon all things 'testosterone related' on occasion! Aunt Margaret is the woman who told me that God blesses mothers with lots of boys by giving them wonderful daughters-in-law as a reward. This sage tidbit was passed along to me after the birth of my youngest son. She was right!
One very happy piece of news in one of the e-mails contained information that two of the very special ladies in our parents 'krewe' are still very much alive. I know Aunt Margaret would be proud to know 'Doc' invites them over to dinner.
Aunt Margaret...we love you, and I hope you knew how you packaged up in your own special way heartstrings we still have tied to you and yours...