Saturday, May 23, 2015


My Great Aunt Rita passed away yesterday morning.  We knew this was coming but knowing it surely doesn't make it any easier.  My Dad, sister, brother in law and nephews were able to drive to Chicago on Tuesday to say good bye.  She was my Dad's Godmother as well so this is hitting him a bit harder.  My dad has lost 3 Aunts in a very short time frame.  Aunt Rita had a few nicknames all having relating to the fact that as a young girl she had very, very RED hair.  So she was always known as Red or Redski.  She loved that Princess Bear (PB) was following in her footsteps with the red hair!  To say that Red was a character would be putting it mildly.  There were a few things that Red was die hard about.  She loved her beer and her Chicago Cubs.  She was as outspoken and unapologetic as all get out.  She was superstitious as all hell.  There is a Polish superstition that if someone puts shoes on a table that a horrible fight or death is going to happen in the very near future.  Once when PB was a baby I had put her little dress shoes on the table.  I mean I don't even think PB was even 3 months old yet.  My grandmother had just had a major stroke and the family was all coming to Peoria to visit with her.  Red walked into the house and saw those baby shoes on the table and flipped!  She threw them on the floor and started praying.  She was very into astrology and how your sign contributed to your personality.  She would always give me the run down on how I am a "typical" Virgo.  As I mentioned she loved her beer and her Chicago Cubs... preferably at the same time!  If you made the mistake of calling her when a Cubs game was on you were going to get an earful and then be hung up on.  She'd call you back after the game but dammit!  Don't interrupt her game!

She was tough.  Liked doing for herself.  I think some of it was because she was widowed fairly young and raised her daughter along.  She never drove.  At least not that I can ever remember.  Didn't stop her from getting around though.  If someone in the family couldn't take her well then screw it!  She was taking the bus!  She was also fun.  She loved playing canasta.  Several times during summer vacations my sister and I would go spend a week with Aunt Rita and her daughter.  It gave everyone  a nice break and was a great opportunity for my sister and I to get to spend more time with our family in Chicago.  She always used to tell me that I was the easy one.  As long as she kept a stack of River Phoenix movies and romance books at the ready I was entertained.  My sister on the other hand was tough.  They'd butt heads and my sister wanted to be entertained by others.  Red finally figured out that if she taught my sister (who is very competitive) to play Canasta then she could invite some of the other Aunts over and they'd have a rockin' card game and my sister was happy.  She also wasn't going to do anything she didn't want to do.  That included cooking.  Whenever we stayed there it was pretty much "what restaurant do you want your meal from". 

She was gruff by nature and wasn't shy about telling anyone off whenever the mood struck her.  If you did something she didn't like you were going to hear about it and sooner rather than later.  Beneath all that gruffness though was a teddy bear.  Especially with her grandchildren. 

Bottom line is that she was one hell of a lady and she's going to be sorely missed.  This weekend we'll get together and drink beer and watch the Cubs and reminisce.  While we're doing that I'm pretty sure she, my other Great Aunts and Grandparents are up in Heaven playing Canasta.  Rest in Peace Red.  Love you!

 photo Red2_zps7w05conm.jpg


Michaele said...

This was such a good post and I love that you added a photo which I can tell by looking at her that she was all you said and more. She would have been fun to have known. I am truly sorry for your loss.

Terry and Linda said...

What a beautiful tribute! I had an Aunt Marie that was a pistol...adored her!