Aunt Lynne

When Shaun and I were in that first “getting to know you” stage, the person he talked about most reverently was his Aunt Lynne. She was his mother’s sister and lived right next door to them. According to Shaun, Aunt Lynne was the most one who had the biggest impact on his life.

She wasn’t the typical cuddly, cookie baking, you-can-tell-me-anything, have fun with type of aunt. No…she gave them a much bigger gift then that. Aunt Lynne gave Shaun and his sisters the gift of curiosity. She nurtured their interests, brought them books, taught them independence and encouraged them to think for themselves. To hear Shaun and his sisters talk about this woman, I got the feeling she was nearly ready for sainthood.

About a year after we were married, Shaun couldn’t stand it another minute. He wanted me to meet this person that was so important in his life. We hopped in the car and started driving to Taos, New Mexico where Aunt Lynne had moved to right after college as it was as far as she could get from her midwestern upbringing. Along the way, Shaun shared fascinating stories of where he grew up. He told me of the amazingly blue sky, the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Gorge and the people. The proud Spaniards that had lived there for generations, the Pueblo dwellers, the hippies that came searching, and the colorful art community. Taos was a place where everyone would find a welcome.

Everyone with the possible exception of me. Quite frankly, I was terrified to meet this woman. When Shaun asked me to stay in the car so that he could go surprise his aunt with our unexpected arrival, I was more than willing to wait and people watch. For some reason, I became fascinated by one colorful woman in particular.

I think it was her bright orange slacks that first attracted my attention. Or it could have been her matching orange, pink and brown shirt that enveloped her. Her long gray hair was braided all the way down her back with wisps escaping all around her face. Her feet were encased in multicolored moccasins and she was picking through the town’s trash cans.

Imagine my surprise when Shaun suddenly went running over to her, joyfully crying out “Aunt Lynne! Aunt Lynne!” before engulfing her in his arms. I sat there in shock. This disheveled homeless woman was the sainted and very dignified Aunt Lynne?

It turned out that all my worries were for naught. Aunt Lynne was one of the warmest, down to earth people that you can ever imagine. She was one of the first “green” people. She had been digging through the garbage to recycle aluminum cans. The thought of dumping them in the land fills was horrible to her. As for the brightly colored clothing…well…she just liked them.

Nobody could ever deny that Aunt Lynne was a very strange woman. She chose to live alone in a lovingly maintained ancient adobe once used as the holy home of Los Hermanos Penitentes, which she filled with many dogs and cats. The best thing about Aunt Lynne was that she was always true to herself. She did what she felt was right and always tried to empower others. She was one of the few people that truly didn’t care what others thought about her.

The day that Aunt Lynne died was truly tragic. Our girls will never really know what a wonderful and colorful person she was. I’m really glad I was able to get to know her…

For reasons beyond me, I agreed to join Linda on a new blogging adventure that she is calling Tuesday Tributes. (Personally I think they should be moved to Thursday, but that’s just me…)

Linda says: It seems to me, that all of us have the privilege of knowing a few extraordinary individuals. Some are outrageous characters, some are incorrigible scoundrels, some are ordinary people, but all have the ability to elicit in us a strong emotion, either with their gifts… or lack of gifts, or by their quirky or different slant on life. It also seems to me that we are ripping off the rest of the human race by not sharing these characters, at least a description of them, with others.


As there are only a couple of us joining in on this new venture so far (that means you can join in too!) I think it would be noticed if I blew this off. So I had to put on my thinking cap and really think about some of the extraordinary people I have met along the way. This was my first offering…

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0 Responses to Aunt Lynne

  1. Hilary says:

    Lovely tribute, Susan. Thanks so much for sharing.Coincidentaly, I wrote about long-passed aunts and an uncle this week too.

  2. Lisa's Chaos says:

    She sounds like quite a character! Reminds me of my great-aunt Margie and my great-aunt Zelda, I come from a strange family. 🙂

  3. Jay says:

    That was a very nice tribute.

  4. Marianne says:

    I LOVE this idea — a blog should be a blend of now and then with memories you want to share with your family and friends alongside the everyday craziness of life!

    Could you send me the link for the Tuesday Tribute? Don’t see it on your post….will also search myself.

    Thanks! And what a lucky guy your dear hubs was to be influenced by such a strong woman!

  5. chrisb says:

    That is a lovely tribute~ she sounds amazing and probably ahead of time as far as the environment is concerned!
    The Tuesday Tribute is a wonderful idea but I don’t think I’d better tie myself up on to many days each week. Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t be reading them all !

  6. Karina says:

    What a lovely tribute! Aunt Lynne sounds like the typeeccentric yet loving family member everyone should have the pleasure to meet.

    By the way, I am working on a way to reveal my “secret”, so check back later.

  7. Frances says:

    She sounds wonderful.
    Which actress would you pick to play her in a movie about her life?
    Waving at you from New York,
    Frances

  8. Stephanie says:

    She sounds like she was a really cool person. I loved your tribute. :o)

  9. lauramcintyre says:

    That was lovely, it sounds like both of you were truly blessed to have Aunt Lynne in your life.

  10. renate1945 says:

    Aunt Lynne sounds wonderful! I could come up with a couple of memorable characters myself; good and bad both. My Mother, of course, but also a truly unforgettable, highly manipulative boss I had when I was 20. The experience with him truly left scars that exist to this day.

  11. Kell says:

    That was a wonderful tribute. She sounds amazing.

  12. Jocelyn says:

    This is a wonderful idea and a wonderful post. I adore Taos and the whole sensiblity of the place, which seems to have inhabited Aunt Lynne completely.

  13. Swampy says:

    Lovely tribute to Aunt Lynne. Filled me with memories of my Aunt LouJean…Thanks for the memories.

  14. gawilli says:

    I really enjoyed reading about Aunt Lynne. It sounds like she was truly a free spirit in a time when that was not quite so easy. Beautiful story!

  15. Dorky Dad says:

    Cool. I love people like this. It’s sad to see them go, but it’s nice to know them all the same.

  16. mrsgatt says:

    I wish I had a sibling, so I could be the cool aunt. Looking forward to more tributes.

  17. Pamela says:

    hey .. nice job. Enjoyed meeting her — in your words.

  18. Peggy says:

    Wonderful story, beautifully written! I love people like Shaun’s Aunt Lynne.

  19. Cheryl says:

    If it weren’t for Shaun, you would have never met a character like Aunt Lynne. You are the lucky one!