Saturday, July 23, 2011

cRaZy aUnTs

Every family has one. Maybe they’re born or perhaps they evolve. Could be God just puts one in every clan to create humor. They don’t need a Red Hat Society. They inspire!

My Great Aunt Iscar was the first one I remember. Even as a little child I knew she was a mold-breaker. Married to my grandfather’s brother, she suddenly became a young widow with two small children.

She worked as a maid in a Virginia Beach hotel but knew that would not provide for her family. So she got a loan and BOUGHT the hotel! Most unusual for a woman back then.

We spent a lot of time there when Dad, a Navy man, was out to sea.
Me with Elaine
My first birthday with my brother, Bert, at New Castle

Today New Castle is a multi-million dollar high rise on the oceanfront, run by the third and fourth generations of her family. Crazy? Like a fox!
Aunt Iscar swam in the ocean, weather permitting, almost daily into her senior years. Doug and I went to her penthouse one afternoon for supper. Plans were for her to demonstrate how to bake her special pound cake after we ate.

“But first, let’s go fishing, Doug!” They went to the pier while my cousin, Elaine, and I worked on supper.

Suppertime came and went. We waited.

Finally we strolled the pier to see the catch. They were quite a team, Doug in his 30's, Aunt Iscar 80 something. Too weary to cast and reel, she designated those tasks to him.

“Now I want to bait the hook and feel the tug of the fish.” She loved the feel of the fish too, so she took them off the hook. They were pulling them in two at a time! Supper could wait. She was giddy.

After supper she still had cake baking energy for my lesson. “You young people don’t know how to scrape a bowl properly. You leave too much batter for lickin’. Now watch, Kathy.”

And I did. She was my hero! Newcastle hotel Families.JPG
(front row) Kent & Kimberly
(back row) Doug, me, Aunt Iscar, Elaine

The next generation’s crazy aunt was Daddy’s sister, Aunt Virginia. She loves God and people with a passion. She’s outlived three husbands.

“I just love ‘em to death.”

She found her last one at McDonald’s where after church they often ate alone. Marrying fixed that.

Also widowed young, with three small children, Aunt Virginia lived in New York with her sister while she went to beauty school to learn a trade.

More recently her son, Charlie, sent me an email. The subject line read: "Mama’s new boyfriend.”

Surely she’s not dating again in her 80s!

I scrolled down and saw this:
Yep, it’s Andy Griffith, a neighbor and customer of my clock-fixing cousin, with Aunt Virginia! She happened to arrange a visit to coincide with Charlie’s trip to Andy’s. They both have large clock collections.

“I’ll just tag along and meet Andy on clock business, son.” Official clock business, you know. Her ruse.

“Now, Mama, he doesn’t like a fuss made over him. Folks here in the Outer Banks respect his privacy. So don’t treat him like a celebrity. Act normal.”
Yeah, right. Crazy aunts don’t do normal.

But they practiced what to do, to say and not say. She and Andy hit it off, chatting about old age, their aches and pains, comparing surgeries. But she HAD to get that photo op before they left.

She’s buried a young son. And a grown daughter. Each trial God made into a triumph because she’s soft clay in His hands. She’s written a book about her life, “The First Eighty Years."
To buy a copy, request "Book" from my cousin, Charlie at:
Or go to

1577362721: The First Eighty Years: A Story of Testing, Tragedy, and ...

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She’s my hero!

I wondered who the crazy aunt would be in my generation. Then one day I went to Nashville to sing at my niece’s wedding. Doug and I arrived at the pre-rehearsal shindig and a lovely young lady, a total stranger, greeted us at the door.

I introduced myself in my most dignified lilt, “Hello. I’m Karen’s Aunt Kathy.”

Her eyes lit up as if they’d seen me before, “Oh! YOU’RE crazy Aunt Kathy!”

She smiled and I didn’t see “those nice young men in their clean white coats coming to take me away." So now I know who this generation's crazy aunt is!
Karen's Wedding.JPG
Notice how the crazy aunt was top and center,
shoving the beautiful bride off to the side! Now that's just crazy!
Brian & Karen Hampton, my beautiful niece who bestowed my title.

Crazy least we don’t collect cats!

Lord, make my footprints sure for my family to follow. Keep my eyes on You and order my steps. Make me their hero.

Live, Love, Laugh like crazy and send Blessings!

Evolution of a Crazy Aunt:

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