Today my Aunt Sylvia is 100 years old. She’s my Great-aunt, but to us she was Aunt Sylvia. She’s nearly blind, yet still mobile (with assistance) and feisty. I remember meeting her in New York City to attend ballet matinees and then shop at Bonwit Teller, where she worked. Always impeccably dressed, she is still concerned about her appearance and clothing.
Thanks to Aunt Sylvia, I had a letter published in the New York Times. I’ve submitted many over the years; this was the only one printed to date.
I wrote in response to an op-ed, “I Shopped Them All”, by Letitia Baldrige, the former social secretary and White House chief of staff for Jacqueline Kennedy. (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/08/opinion/08baldrige.html?scp=48&sq=letitia+baldrige-&st=nyt)
Here’s my letter:
To the Editor:
When I was a child growing up in rural Connecticut, it was a special treat when my mother took my sister and me into New York City by train to meet my grandmother and great-aunt at Bonwit Teller, where my great-aunt worked.
She knew all her customers and was so proud to show off her grandnieces. Dresses (often matching) were bought with her 20 percent discount. I still have a Bonwit Teller violet pin.
Though there may be a few department stores left, Internet shopping makes them all look the same.
100 is hard. Most of her friends and family, including her beloved older sister, Mae, my grandmother, have passed on. Her memory sharp, she recalls the past, remembering events, who attended and what she wore.
Still, it’s cool saying I have a relative who’s 100 years old.