No, I never had one formally. But I did. They’re called Aunts. Real Aunts, great Aunt, friend Aunts and motherly Aunts.

Mostly, as I lump them into a pile here, they taught me to believe in myself and others, and that learning is the key to strive and survive. At times at work, I thought that all the guys who golfed and got off work hours before I did (I was single) had a mentor and I’d never had one. I was wrong. I had Aunts.

Great Aunt O introduced me to my first gay man, let me put on a helmet and take a motorcycle ride with him. I can say that now that Mom’s been gone nine years as she never knew I rode a motorcyle! I’ve been a “gay magnet” ever since. O’s husband used to say “if there’s a gay man within a mile he’ll find my wife.” I love my gay friends. I love my Black friends and that’s not someone I ever saw in our little village of 400 folks. Tolerance.

Aunts AL and J, education. We moved away before I could be taught by them Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, the Holocaust, and Native Americans. That is not right. They taught me every day we were together. When we were helping out and needed to use the “loo,” we had to find a word in the dictionary we’d never heard, pronounce it, spell it, verb or noun then use it in a sentence.

I just gave a condensed 1973 edition of the OED to local kids, and have a Webster’s Collegiate edition in our guest “loo” for errant children like I might have been. I don’t think I was errant, probably too complacent before I evolved but interested in education.

J the friend Aunt helped me to think for myself and believe in myself and for that she deserves my never-ending thanks. J the godmother always gave me praise and in doing so, helped me on my way.

You know how kids always ask “when is there going to be a children’s day?” The adult always says “every day is children’s day!” When is there going to be an “Aunt” day? All the pets in the neighborhood call me “Aunt Dee.” Cheers! Auntie D


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