Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day of the Dead Remembrance Altar

An altar in remembrance of My Aunt Gertie
Done for the Day of the Dead Challenge on
Art on the Darkside

I remember my Aunt Gertie well. She had standards. Her standards were the standards of her day and she applied them firmly and with an air of righteousness.

When she grew up and married my dad, my mother used to dread Gertie’s coming to visit the house. Gertie would check for dust and looked under things, She sought imperfections and found them! She would call these imperfections to my mother's attention. “Now, Phyllis, perhaps you didn't notice but there are dust bunnies under the couch...” etc. There must have been an orgy of housekeeping before she came to call or, God forbid, if there was an unexpected visit, despair. Gertie, however, was not given to unexpected visits. Her premise was “Let them do their best. I'll still find something wrong!”

She was a widow with no children. Her apartment was perfect. In the dining room there was an oak dining table and a glass-fronted case with bone china cups in it as well as the good dinner service and a tea set. Gertie never served coffee, only tea. She had a neat little kitchen and a sun room. The living room was the jewel. There were needlepoint chair cushions and framed needlepoint works hanging on the wall as you came up the stairs to enter the living room. These were not done by herself. She wasn’t a crafty person. Needlepoint was the accepted feminine art of the day so she collected some. The mantelpiece held Royal Doulton figurines, which used to fascinate me as a child. A beautiful oriental rug in tones of red and blue was on the living room floor. Everything in the room was ‘just as it should be’.

In the bathroom on the back of the toilet ledge there were two rather unusual antique Plaster of Paris figures of small boys sitting on chamber pots. One had a broad smile on his face and was labeled “Billy Can”. The other was sunk in gloom with a dejected frown on his face. He was labeled “Billy Can’t” When my Aunt, in her elder years was getting ready to go to a Home for the Aged she was giving away different things and she gave everyone their choice and I chose “Billy Can” and “Billy Can’t”. I still have them.


Anonymous said...

Love your post. It makes your Aunt Gertie come alive.

Meikoningin said...

Beautiful piece and the story is moving ! Well done :D