Thursday, April 13, 2006

Paramus, A Flat Tire and Aunt Rose

The latter half of the day consisted of the absolute mundane. Going to Ikea in Paramus to buy a storage system for the dressing area of our apartment, which included fixing a flat tire (I love fixing flats. I’ve done it so many times. It seems like such a good thing to know how to do. And when you do it, a very big problem gets solved.)

But the first half of the day was quite something. My Great Aunt Rose is 88 years old. She lives in a senior citizen housing tower right off exit 117 on the New Jersey Turnpike. Hazlet. Not quite the shore. But certainly not Newark. She’s a saucy broad, sitting there in her house dress. She had an incredible life, in a way. She never married, but had a love affair with Frank, for ten years starting around 1947. Apparently, Frank’s wife was an awful bitch and Rose met Frank at a political meeting and they hooked up for ten years. He was minor Mafioso and would get her anything she wanted. He was twenty years older than she. And, of course, he never left his wife, died, and Aunt Rose stayed living with her own mother until her mother died, upon which she moved into a series of senior citizen homes, usually arranged by either my grandmother, Netty, or my Great Aunt Helen (Who just died and left me the most awesome lamp from the 1950’s. She was my Godmother and I loved her so.)

Aunt Rose is sharp. So sharp. And lonely. So lonely. She told us so many stories today. Why don’t people listen to old people more often? They are truly fascinating. She also has very similar quirks (twiddling the straps of her purse) and look in her eyes (sad kindness mixed with very intelligent acceptance of life’s terrors) as my grandmother, Antoinette DeFranza. It was a heart breaking experience. But I figure, I’ll just keep calling her when I can. Visit when I can. The truth is, when you get old, you can end up very much alone. Luckily, she has Letterman.

Thanks, Megan, for lending us your car.


RebeccaW said...

She sounds like me. But maybe we all end up alone at the end. Whether we're spinsters or not.

HelenBach said...

My pleasure, neighbor! Thanks for fixing the tire.