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My Favorite Aunt

Everyone has that favorite relative…it could be an aunt, uncle, or cousin. There was just something different and special about them that made them stand out in your mind. Mine was my Aunt Peg, who was married to my mom’s brother, John.
Peg was a petite woman with bleached blonde hair worn short, with loose curls on top. She wasn’t thin; she was what some would call “curvy” or if mean, “chubby.” Peg also had an eye condition, which caused her to wear tinted glasses at all times. Those glasses, paired with deep red lipstick, made her seem like the most glamorous person I ever saw up close.
But her best quality was she was funny…she was hilarious! And her humor was appropriate to whoever she was talking to, whether it was a 6 year old or a 40 year old. She was my role model growing up.

I’d often spend weekends with her, and she’d spoil me rotten…I was allowed to stay up late and watch TV with her into the wee hours of the morning, and when morning did come, I’d have coffee (with a lot of milk and sugar.) She smelled of coffee, cigarettes, and her signature Chanel No. 5. Peg’s preferred color was black. Black pants, black tops, black sweaters… Occasionally she’d go rogue and wear a beige top. I never saw her in a skirt; always pants, even at weddings. Looking back now, I see how she influenced my fashion choices, as my closet resembles a professional mourner’s.

One of her many quirks was her hair routine. I’m not talking about the bleach she’d apply every 3 weeks (which I started doing for her when I was 12) but her styling method. The woman used cardboard tampon applicators as rollers.
Yes, you read right: the cardboard housing for tampons. The first time I realized it, I was dumbstruck…why? was the first thing that popped to mind. Her answer: “I get two sizes – small and smaller, and they give me the size curl I want.” I howled…when she took the “curlers” out, she’d run her fingers through the curls, messing them up a bit,  then sprayed the hell out of it. Her hair could withstand hurricane force winds.

Peg was full of surprises. She was an incorrigible flirt – she could have guys 30 years her junior wrapped around her little finger. She loved Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, which was to be expected. But she also loved Elvis and David Bowie, which tickled the hell out of me. I think she envied his hair and makeup from the Ziggy years.

After my uncle died unexpectedly from complications of a routine surgery, her light dimmed…and not too long after, she suffered a massive stroke in her sleep. I arrived to the funeral home early, before the viewing, and realized her hair looked too neat. I reached in and tousled the top of her hair to more resemble her normal look. I felt it was what she would have wanted me to do.

See you on the other side, Aunt Peg…




  1. Avatar
    Kelly J Randall

    I think this may have been the best work of yours I have read to date!
    Excellent job, Mod!
    “Looking back now, I see how she influenced my fashion choices, as my closet resembles a professional mourner’s.”
    My favorite line!

  2. Avatar
    George Pal

    There’s always someone, in an extended family, for whom there is an inexplicable affinity. There are vignettes to try to explain it all, but they merely deepen the mystery. I love mysteries.

  3. Avatar

    Welp- I just freakin love you Mod. Damn sure got me thinking.

    Mine, was my Uncle- on my mom’s side. 300+ Green Beret. He raised me.

    Might give you an idea, of who I be. Oh the stories I could tell.

    He took me to my first night on the town. Lets just say. me, a women 15 years older, and much fun. Not to mention the idiots who thought they were tougher than my Uncle. Them were the days. Always felt safe with him. I don’t think he ever had his ass whooped, except- fer me grand paw.

    Love yer sheat girl.

    • Modesty Fiona Blaise
      Modesty Fiona Blaise

      Thank you, Hanoch, for sharing about your uncle…the key words were that you felt safe with him, and you can’t ask for anything better than that.

      Love you too, cowboy!

    • Modesty Fiona Blaise
      Modesty Fiona Blaise

      I’m glad you liked it…she was a riot! And yep, when we get to Heaven, just listen for the laughing and clinking of wine glasses!

    • Modesty Fiona Blaise
      Modesty Fiona Blaise

      Linnea, when my uncle was alive, they danced all the time in their living room if a song they liked came on…and if it was a soft-rock type of thing, she’d do a little wiggle shimmy move that was so cute. So yes, she danced…
      And you’re right…the stories. Listen to the stories, they are a history of sorts.

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