Auntie Donnie


My Aunt Donnie died on Sunday.

I have gone through a whole range of thoughts and emotions, which is why it’s taken me so long to be able to write about her and her affect on my life.

Aunt Donnie was the last remaining of my mother’s older sisters, and always, my favorite-even though I know you’re not supposed to have them. Why? Because she took an interest in me and my brother and sister. She talked to me like an adult. She bought me interesting books. She took me places I never would have gone without her. She and Uncle Bob took me (and later on, my brother and sister) to the metropolis of Seattle from rural Montana summer after summer. I got to know my cousins better. She got me a library card at the Shoreline library and encouraged me to use it- I used to take one of cousin’s old bikes to the library every day, loaded down, to and from, with books. She enrolled me in day camp at Hamlin Park. She and my Uncle Bob took me and my brother to Mariners games. She let me stay up late, reading, as long as I wanted when I was at their house. They took us to real Chinese food. We went to the Pacific Science Center and museums and fairs and interesting shops downtown. In short, she opened up the world to me in a way I never would have been able to do without her.

She was my Auntie Mame.

I always wondered why she was called “Donnie”. That was not a name I’d heard on a woman before. Once, I asked her. She said “Because the Irishmen in Dublin Gulch couldn’t pronounce Donna.”

It stuck.

Her courage, her tenacity, her stubbornness, her good heart- all that stuck, too.

It still sticks, despite her ill health in the last few years. Despite the fact that I haven’t seen her for awhile- my fault. It sticks because she was a force of nature in my life and the life of my Mom and Dad, my sister and brother.

She was and continues to be a force in my life. Her encouragement gave me experiences that shape me to this day, and I’m grateful for her presence in my life.

I’ll miss you, Auntie Donnie.