Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dear Irene

Dear Irene,

Dear, Dear, Irene...

Dear, Sweet, Dead Irene.

Dear Sweet Dead Great Great Irene,

Dear Irene,

First, I guess I should apologize. See, I found your portrait in my parent's attic a few weeks ago. You were there with your husband's portrait. Just in case you didn't know, he's dead, too. You look just like your niece, my grandmother-- as an FYI.



You and Herb were dusty and whoever you paid to do Herb's portrait, well, let's be honest-- you paid too much. He looked a little like Adolf in an American Colonel's uniform. Maybe Adolf didn't kill himself after all? Nah-- your husband was far too patriotic. At least, that's what I heard.

Why am I apologizing? You're out of the attic now and you survived the garage sale. Yes, I admit-- I tried to sell you. Does it count that there was no price tag on your glass? Leaning against the trash can in my parent's dew ladened grass that cold morning last Saturday, you stared at me all day long. Were you mad? Was it because it was your first time seeing daylight and you needed sunglasses? I could have fixed that.




In the end, the customers were more appalled that I was selling a family portrait than they were interested in taking you home.

"Can you believe she is selling that portrait of her grandmother?!"

My response: "Actually, that's Great Great Aunt Irene. Make me an offer! Everything goes!"

They were unimpressed. Come on, they were at a garage sale wheeling and dealing over 15 cents. Who should be unimpressed? And, besides that-- how did they know it was the woman that was selling the picture and not the husband?! Maybe I just have that look about me? What do you think, Great Great Dead Aunt Irene?

Well, let's be honest, my dear and dead Great Great Irene: someone stole a shirt from the garage sale. No lie. That's unimpressive. I would have been impressed if someone tried to steal you, though. I would have chased after them. Don't you worry your pretty little head off. Of course, you can be pretty mellow at times, especially when you need to be:


I hear you were proper and did all the right things, so let me be the first to tell you-- smoke something like that in public and you're going to get arrested. That is not polite in good company...

If you're going to smoke...


There, that's a bit more polite. Of course, this is 2016-- and people don't smoke much anymore... but you are trapped in a 1964 portrait, so who am I to judge?

You were saved from the donation box at the very last minute. Both you and Jesus. Jesus saved me, so I saved him. My friend was quite fond of you and I thought maybe-- we could visit her one day. When you got home, I was a little stressed out from a grant that was due and the the house being shown. Great Great Aunt Irene, I loved that you thought it would be fun to put some purple streaks in your hair... and maybe a little hat? 



I thought the polka dots were a nice touch. The polka dots got me thinking... I wonder if you resembled my father and I just couldn't see it? Black hair would help... and maybe some purple lipstick, too. 



Nope. Even with the black hair and purple lipstick, you do not resemble my father in any way, shape, or form.

I am sorry to report that you died in the 80s. While no spring chicken, did you listen to the music and dressed in the styles? An old lady can really rock a side pony tail and big bow if they have the right personality. The green bow matching your green dress is a nice touch. Purple lipstick? It's getting to be a bit much, don't you think, Irene? You were born at the turn of the century- before lipstick was even invented. Of course, you know that.



Great Great Dead Aunt Irene, did you wear your hair in pig tails when you were a kid in Michigan? Did you have bows? I know you had sisters... but did you have bows?




It really doesn't matter- if you had bows or if they matched your clothes. When you're an old lady, you can wear purple bows with green dresses and still pull it off. 




Great Great dead Aunt Irene, you know what I always thought was cool about your generation? All the coordination. People had accessories to match accessories. Purses matched pumps that coordinated with gloves and hats. It must have been time consuming and the effort it must have taken, let alone the expense, to pull it all together-- that is one thing I do not envy about the era which held your youth. But, the style! Oh, when it all came together with such perfection, Great Great Dead Aunt Irene, I do think it's beautiful when it all comes together.




The 60s were in a time before cross dressing was the norm-- not that it is the norm in 2016-- but we do see it more now than you did then. Cross dressing is not something I understand, but you know... you're old, and as you know... you only live once. I love how you tried to express yourself in any way you could. But, trust me, you in a beard is looking better than Herb with half a mustache. 



Before the kids saw you, I wanted to make sure that you didn't scare them. Sometimes, old people scare little kids. I guess it's the wrinkles? Whatever the reason, my kids love kitty cats; Bennie especially. She likes pink kitty cats and can actually draw one. Great Great Dead Aunt Irene, you'd be impressed with that kid. You'd be impressed with all my kids. Thanks for letting me dress you up for them.




Of course, if you can be a kitty cat... why couldn't you be a dog? Of course... if you're a dog... you could be a Mog! Half Man, Half Dog... you could be your own best friend. Because, after all of this, I have a feeling that I will no longer be in the running for your best friend. It's cool, I understand. I show you more attention than you've had in forty years, even if you don't have much say in the matter as to what kind of attention my family and I give you.


Of recent, my children can be heard saying, "Mama, where's Aunt Irene?" or better still, "Mama, can I please draw on Aunt Irene?"

"Okay honey, but just for a few minutes- because it is bedtime."

So, Great Great Dead Aunt Irene, I guess I should apologize for totally taking advantage of you when you cannot defend yourself. I am also sorry that your husband hit the Goodwill pile-- but I don't think he'd have quite the humor about this that you have. That being said, I totally get it if you end up haunting me. I think I have earned it.

Love to you and looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Your Great Great very much Alive Niece....

Wife

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