Elnor (my grandma), Leona, Alma, Tillie and Ada
My grandma was one of five sisters. All but one of them stayed in their hometown to raise their families, which made for a big, extended family with plenty of parental figures. Luckily for my sister and me, my mom stayed there, too. As the children of these sisters started having kids, we gained even more caretakers around town.
The families of the sisters spent a lot of time together; they played a lot of euchre and had lots of family dinners. By the time we were old enough to run around town by ourselves, we were comfortable enough to pay unexpected visits to all kinds of relatives in town. Most I knew well enough to help myself to the cookie jar or refrigerator.
Because my mom worked, all of the sisters and many of their daughters or daughters-in-law watched us at one time or another. Regardless who was our actual mother, there was always a nurturing female relative ready to minister to our needs. If we got sick and couldn’t go to school, someone would always be there to take care of us.
We were lucky enough to spend time with the fifth sister (who left town), too. My sister and I spent three summers living with Aunt Onie (Leona) in the fertile farmlands of Wood County, Ohio, where she relocated after her marriage. She, like the rest of Mom’s aunts, cared for us as if we were her own.
I guess you don’t realize it at the time, but now I feel so lucky to have been a part of this big, idyllic familial joy ride. Families don’t always exist in this manner anymore. I’m so fortunate, too, for the influence these five women had in my life.