Flowers for Annie

My Aunt Anne always said, “never miss a ‘simcha’- (Yiddish for celebration); don’t wait for the funeral.”

I’d visited my aunt several times in the past four years since she’d moved to Connecticut after many years in Florida. By the time she was 94, though still active playing cards, collecting antiques, and volunteering at a local college, her family convinced her to relocate closer to them. She died last week and her funeral was yesterday. A large gathering of friends and extended family- grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, her children and their spouses, and of course her sister Lillian, 92, and my father, 87, assembled to celebrate her life.

Mom, Aunt Lillian, Dad, Aunt Anne: April, 2014

Mom, Aunt Lillian, Dad, Aunt Anne: April, 2014

Annie, as all called her, loved to shop, especially if it was shopping with and for children. My sister Madeline remembers her taking my brother and her to a pet store and buying them hamsters and gerbils, much to the dismay of my parents, especially upon realizing that the pet store had matched a male and female gerbil together, resulting in several batches of babies.

She loved family gatherings and even towards the end, relished the constant stream of visitors and contributed to conversations as she could. She grew up in Queens, NY, and by 9 years old, was taking care of her sister and brother, and also helping her father at his glass store in Greenwich Village, where she learned to cut glass and mirrors.

After catching up with cousins— promising to keep in touch and find an occasion to get together—though knowing how hard this is with everyone’s busy lives, we decided to face the I-95 traffic and realized we had enough time to do what we’d originally planned for the day—our annual visit to the New York Botanical Garden’s orchid show.

This year’s show features the Victorian era history of orchid collecting and propagation, where orchid hunters risked lives to seek out rare species around the world. I did wonder where the thin line between scientific passion and dangerous obsession met, but found the tales incredible nevertheless.

Strolling through the exhibit, I thought about Annie and her many gifts and hoped she’d have approved of our excursion.

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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8 Responses to Flowers for Annie

  1. Love this. You have a warm and loving family with great memories to provide comfort. Aunt Annie sounds like she was a great person!

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  2. jfrances40 says:

    Your aunt sounds lovely. I am sorry for your loss. We have been to the orchid show and it is wonderful! I bet she did approve!

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  3. I bet she did approve Lisa and probably was there with you! Never miss a simcha sounds like good advice to me. So sorry for your loss. *hugs* ❤
    Diana xo

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  4. Nice tribute to your Aunt. Orchids are gorgeous. Remember the book abu the “Gosrt Orchid”?

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  5. I’m sure Aunt Annie would approve! Every child deserves to have an aunt like that, my sister in NYC is still the aunt mame to my children. So sorry for your loss Lisa.

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  6. Deepest condolences, Lisa, but what a wonderful tribute to a rich and beautiful life!

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  7. Pingback: Taking the Piercing Plunge | cyclingrandma

  8. Helen Aylward says:

    love seeing the photo of your parents…i prefer pen and paper but this is the future…we re awaiting our first grandchild…due very soon…the circle of life…from over the pond….Helen

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