Horizon at Sandy Point

Friday, February 11, 2011

free single and disengaged

My mother's sister never married. She was an elegant and refined woman with a bank job - in an age when fewer women were employed outside the home. As a manager in the bank, she had a head for numbers and invested wisely. Her tight skirts - the fashion of the day - though below her knees, were slit up the back. Even by today's standards, ultra high heels defined shapely calves. She was always well put together.  Her dressing table was fascinating to a girl - carefully arranged perfume, lipsticks, make up; jewellery and trinkets. She took care of herself, her hair and skin. By contrast, my own mother settled for lipstick and powder - and for my part, I never learned those arts.

Next to my mother and her older sister with whom she lived, she was a bit of a mystery. She had no children of her own, but kept a book full of the birthdays of godchildren. The book was also full of addresses of friends in faraway places.  And she kept in touch in an age before email and facebook. She was a prudent person and organised the wherewithal to travel. Auntie was always gallivanting to some distant place. To this day, her "children" and family are around the world  - hundreds of people, blood related or not, who call her Auntie.

To my juvenile mind, I believed that Auntie was like a second mother to my godmother's nine children. (I have since been told that was not so.) There is no such thing as a second mother when one's own mother is alive and motherly. But whatever her relationship, and without words, Auntie showed us a different way to live - free single and disengaged was the term that was slightly disparaging, even dismissive. She was independent, empowered, self-sufficient and generous.

I don't see Auntie much anymore, but see her spirit everywhere in today's women.

A little of Auntie in all of us!


  1. Do you remember when I was very young and was asked what I would like to be when I grow up, and my answer was "An Auntie"? This was because I thought aunties were special people. And I loved this one in particular. She has always been kind, generous and a beautiful spirit!

  2. I wonder if every family has at least one Aunt like this? This article could be describing one of my Mom's sisters; the fashion, the travel, the investments,and the independence!

    I certainly watched her with an eye to having some of that independence in my life too!

  3. She is still very much part of our lives. However, her dislike of the cold means we see her mostly in Summer.
    Yes, she is indeed still independent but accepts help graciously and gives generously and two of her nieces have followed her example.