Posted by: patwogan | October 22, 2008

Aunt Anna

I previously mentioned Aunt Anna in the post about dressing up.  Aunt Anna was my mother’s aunt who lived in New York.  She was to me someone who was very glamorous and very wealthy.  As I mentioned earlier she had gone to New York City and become a private secretary for a wealthy man.  She married him and later when they divorced, she was granted alimony until she remarried.  She never remarried. 

I only met her a couple of times.  She had bought her mother a home in Independence on North Fourth Street just across Oak Street from Riverside Park.  I loved the house as it had a sunroom on the east side and a sidewalk that ran by it.  It was at that house we stayed while my Mom and Dad recuperated from the automobile accident.  Soon after we had gone back home, Aunt Anna came to visit.  She arrived with her boyfriend George who was driving a Rolls Royce.  We were all impressed.  I’ll bet that car looked nice in Grandma Greer’s driveway.  I imagine everyone who saw it in Independence was impressed.

While they were visiting, she took us to Coldwell’s Drug Store one evening for ice cream.  They had curb service and you parked in front, honked the horn, and the car-hop came out and took your order.  It was about the time that flat-bottomed ice cream cones were coming into use.  When the ice cream cone ordered for me arrived, it was in a flat-bottomed cone.  Aunt Anna informed the car hop that we had ordered an ice cream cone, not a bucket.  I don’t remember what the outcome of the situation was, I just remembered it didn’t matter to me what the shape of the cone was as long as it contained ice cream.  I guess things in Independence didn’t measure up to the standards of New York City. 

It was also Aunt Anna who introduced me to Roquefort cheese.  We had dry roquefort on our salads with Italian dressing.  I thought it was delicious.  We didn;’t have things like that at home.  I think I was an adult before I had it again…and then it was probably Bleu Cheese at that.  She also bought Grandma a pepper mill so we could have freshly ground pepper on things.  It was a whole new world to me that she brought with her from the city.

Everything she did seemed so wonderful to me.  She smoked cigarettes which she carried in a cigarette case and used a cigarette holder to smoke them.  She had a delightful accent when she spoke so unlike the midwestern twang we all used.  She wore fabulous clothes and even had a satin lounging robe.  She made my beautiful mother seem so plain compared to her glamorous aunt.  I wanted to grow up to be like Aunt Anna. 

She was somewhat mysterious about her lifestyle.  All I knew was she was wealthy and spent her time playing bridge and shopping.  Whenever her packages arrived it was a time of great excitement for me.  She might send some prize she had won at a bridge tournament, or maybe some books for me, and always there were the glamorous clothes that  Mom couldn’t or wouldn’t wear that became my new dress-up costumes.  Aunt Anna did send me the complete set of the Wizard of Oz books.  I loved to read and she knew that. 

My mother was her favorite niece and I became her favorite great-niece.  She, of course, became my favorite Great-Aunt.  When I was twelve, Aunt Anna wanted me to come to New York City to visit her for a few weeks in the summer.  My mother wouldn’t let me.  She said it was because she would miss me too much to let me go.  Aunt Anna offered to pay my way and everything.  I was quite angry with my mother for not letting me go.  I did not understand how she could deny me such a fantastic trip.  I pouted quite a bit about that and I imagine I let my mother know how unhappy I was and how much she was depriving me. 

When Aunt Anna died, she left some money to mother.  Not a whole lot, and the will was contested by the nurse who had taken care of her before she died.  In the end, though, I think Mother got a small inheritance. 

When Mother was in her nineties and was in the hospital, I turned our conversation to Aunt Anna.  I asked Mother what Aunt Anna did in New York City.  My sweet, never uttered a swear word Mother, about made me fall off my chair when she replied, “Oh, honey, I think she was a whore.”  I asked her if that was the reason she didn’t let me go to visit her.  Mother’s reply was of course that was the reason.

Things are not always as they seem, are they?



Everything Aunt Anna did impressed me.  She used a cigarette holder when she smoked, she dressed so glamorously, and she spoke with a



  1. What a great story with an even greater ending! Your mom’s comment was priceless.

  2. I am caught up to yesterday’s blog now and still think you are a superb story teller.
    I think I would like to see you recite the
    “crooked mouth” story again. Texas is too far away from Illinois. Will be keeping up with all of these blogs.

  3. Mike, they are fun to read, aren’t they?

  4. Laughing outl oud again… I did not expect that answer to be from Grandma. That is hilarious!!
    Keep it up, mom! Thanks for the smiles tonight.

  5. I can picture and hear granma telling you about aunt anna. Hysterical!

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