Friday, September 15th, 2000


Farewell, Aunt Nell

My Aunt Nell passed away yesterday. She was 90 years old. One of my mothers four sisters, she was probably my favorite aunt when I was growing up. She had been deaf since she was four years of age having survived a terrible bout of spinal meningitis. Her long deceased husband, Bill, taught me to shoot a bow and arrow when I was very young. He was an expert huntsman with a bow and that was no mean feat as had lost an arm during World War II.

I remember seeing the love between Aunt Nell and Uncle Bill as they signed to each other with incredible speed and beauty. None of my mother's family ever learned sign language as they could always make out what, to most people, must have seemed undecipherable utterings and Aunt Nell wouldn't let them sign to her…she always wanted to improve her lip reading. She became such an excellent lip reader that, as my mother once related to me, she laughed though silent movies in her youth because of all the vulgar words the screen actors were actually saying (as opposed to the sub-titles on the screen). I never had any trouble understanding her and thought she was one of the wittiest persons I ever knew.

I think she was the sweetest woman I have ever known and I know she would be the first to declare that she lead a complete and fulfilling life.

Rest In Peace Aunt Nell; I shall miss you terribly.

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