The Birthday Aunt

Of all the things I always loved about my birthday, it’s that I shared it with my Great Aunt Bertha.

I lifted this from my cousin Mike Pung's Facebook page. Aunt Bertha and Uncle Ken.
I lifted this from my cousin Mike Pung’s Facebook page. Aunt Bertha and Uncle Ken.

Aunt Bertha was my Grandpa Riggs’ younger sister. She was a legend. Most people in my family have been. But Aunt Bertha was something super special. Gorgeous. Quick witted. Sweet. Compassionate. Ready and willing to do anything to help anyone. Determined. Tough. Gentle.

And, let me tell you, her marriage to my Uncle Ken was just about the best example of a romantic relationship I’ve ever seen. They loved each other. They were best friends. They loved their kids and grandkids. Deeply.

When it came time to write My Mother’s Chamomile, I wanted to include a sweet, very in love, elderly couple. Olga and Clive. As I wrote, I remembered my Aunt Bertha and Uncle Ken.

I miss them.

I’m so thankful for them. The example of deeply meaningful marriage. I believe that their marriage had roots that went deep down in their faith.

Every year on my birthday, I think of my Great Aunt Bertha. Remember the stories of her, still attracting the boys in her rollers and cold cream covered face. She was truly a beautiful woman. I remember the way her clear blue eyes would crinkle in the corners. How she laughed, not holding anything back.

I remember hearing a story of her, sitting on the patio of her cottage and saying, “Aren’t we blessed?”

And, today, on our birthday, I think of her and say, “Yes. And you were part of that.”


4 Comments on “The Birthday Aunt

  1. *sigh* I love Bertha, my surrogate grandmother. We still have a Christmas card she sent us on permanent display because it was so beautiful, it never gets put away!
    I laugh when I think of how alike Allison and I looked, and how both our grandmas would call us by the others name.
    I liked your uncle Gary’s story at her funeral of when Bertha babysat for him and Your dad and couldn’t tell them apart so she just called them both “twin.”
    She really was a fabulous person, baker, and card player!


  2. Today would have been G’ma’s 90th birthday! I have so many wonderful memories of her. She never said “thank you” when you complimented her cooking. She always said “I’m glad”. I too, have every card and and letter she ever sent because she signed everthing with “Mizpah”


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