Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Birthday To My Aunt Florence!

My Aunt Margie, my Grandmother holding Aunt Florence, and my Mom.
(There are not too many pictures of my Aunt Margie because she had a heart condition and spent a lot of time in the hospital when she was young. I know I have pictures somewhere of the four sisters together but I couldn't find them in time for this post.)

My Aunt Marion, my Grandfather, my Aunt Florence, and my Mom.

Aunt Marion, my Grandmother, my Mom standing in front of her, and Aunt Florence off to the side.

Aunt Marion, my Mom, Aunt Florence

My Mom, my Grandfather, my Aunt Florence

Aunt Florence
(my Mom told me that they spent a lot of time 'up on the roof' and I can see from a lot of their pictures that they really did!)

I think the three pictures below are all school pictures but I'm not sure:

Aunt Marion, Mom, Aunt Florence

Mom, (I think the girl in the Communion dress is my cousin Mary), Aunt Florence
(up on the roof again!)

I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my Aunt Florence. She is my Mom's youngest sister, and I feel very close to her.
When we were growing up we lived right next door to my Aunt Florence, Uncle Tom, and my cousin Jimmy in a semi-attached house. Their home seemed like an extension of our home and I think I spent as much time playing next door as I did in my own home. There was no fence separating the backyards so it was like one big play yard, and Uncle Tom had set up a swing set for us, and in the summer he had a little play pool set up for us, and my Mom hung out her laundry to dry on a wash line that was set up on their side too. Our side of the yard had a garage and next to the garage was a little concrete patio with a picnic table and a barbecue and every Saturday in the summer my Dad and Uncle Tom would barbecue and we'd eat at the picnic table, then we'd run off to enjoy the pool and/or the swing set.
I remember too all the fun we had in the winter with my Aunt Florence, Uncle Tom, and Jimmy making snow forts in the back yard, and we would have 'wars' with Aunt Florence heading up the girls team and Uncle Tom head of the boys team. And they would take us sledding at the golf course. Some of the happiest times of my childhood were spent with my Aunt Florence, my Uncle Tom, and my cousin Jimmy.
Aunt Florence brought all of us girls our bouquets on our First Communion days, Aunt Florence used to bring us to the Easter Show (there was a little song and dance show and then a movie) at Radio City Music Hall, Aunt Florence and Uncle Tom took my sister Diane and I to our first Broadway Play (South Pacific), and Aunt Florence and Uncle Tom would always have some of the kids from our family along with them when they went on their summer vacations to Florida.
Aunt Florence and Uncle Tom were always the first ones out at Belmont Lake State Park to set up all the picnic tables for our family picnic reunions. And their home was the gathering spot for many family parties, Birthdays, Christmas, Fourth of July, and I remember the Sing-Along-With-Mitch nights.
Aunt Florence was like a second mother to me and I went to her just as often as I went to my own Mom for love, comfort, guidance, and advice.

Florence was there for every important occasion in my life, Communion, Confirmation, Graduations, my Wedding Day, she was there as Ray and I welcomed each new baby, and she was there for all the little moments too, and she and Uncle Tom were always there to lend a helping hand, lend support, and lend a shoulder to cry on. They were a wonderful couple and upheld many of us through trying times. There may have been times that we were down, but we knew we were never 'down and out' when Aunt Florence and Uncle Tom were around. Anytime we were moving, they were right there to help pack a box, drive a truck, move furniture, paint a room, anything that was needed, they were right there. If a family member was sick, they were right there at the door willing to fill any need. Aunt Florence's Cheesecake was at every party, and Uncle Tom was right there with his movie camera at every occasion. And they were good friends to Ray & I too, we had lots of fun with them on vacations, and camping trips, and we enjoyed their company and many times we would just drop in on each other for no reason at all.

I admire my Aunt Florence so much, and I am in awe of her Faith and her strength to carry on through so many hardships and heartaches. My cousin Jimmy, her only child, passed away fifteen years ago, and she had to see him suffer through many battles in his life, ending with losing a battle to cancer. She lost the love of her life, my Uncle Tom, it will be nine years this March that he is gone. Florence never complains, she never wallows in self-pity, and her Faith in God never falters.
We are all so Blessed to have this wonderful, loving, giving woman in our lives.

Happy Days! On one of our camping trips to Disney World.

Florence, myself, Ellie (in front of me), Andrew, my sister Diane, Uncle Tom, Steve,
and my nephew William in front.

Florence and Tom at their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration.

Aunt Marion and Aunt Florence holding little Tommy (her great-great grand-nephew on his Christening day).

This was taken on a cruise a few years ago.

This is Florence celebrating her 80th Birthday a few years ago.


To my family:
I know you read here, and I know that I forgot lots of wonderful things to write here, so please fill in my blanks! What's your favorite memory of Aunt Florence?


  1. What wonderful pictures of a truly beautiful lady!!! Indeed, Happy Birthday! Cathy

  2. Everyone should have an Aunt Florence!
    Your chilhood reminds me of mine in a way, we lived on the same road, in a rural area though, by a grandmother, aunts and uncles. The families always gathered for meals on holidays and weekly fish fries or spaghetti dinners!
    Your Aunt Florence is a beautiful woman, Eileen...I see a family resemblance!
    Loved the old family photos!

  3. Oh I so remember sing a long with Mitch! How blessed you are to have such a wonderful aunt Eileen and she is so beautiful! So many warm memories she made for you all. Best wishes and a very Happy Birthday to her!
    Love Di

  4. I liked the duplex with the shared back yard and the families living so close. What a great childhood. These photos are special.

  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AUNT FLORENCE! Our other mother.
    Much Love, Diane

  6. P.S. I love seeing all of the old photos, the way everyone dressed back then. I can't wait to get a scanner! Love Di

  7. How beautiful your Aunt is and I think you look like her......I too was raised on a street filled with aunts, uncles and cousins and my grandparents were our next door neighbour......wouldn't of wanted it any other way.
    A very Happy Birthday to your Aunt Florence and may she have many more.
    Big hugs to Jayden and Mia....:-)

  8. What do I know, but I think you look more like your Aunt Florence than you do your mom. No? Those old pictures...oh my I love them. I clicked them larger so I could study detail. Don't you just wish you could climb into them for a moment and live those days of long ago?
    Well I think I may know now a little of why you are so nuturing and basically had 2 mothers!

  9. Dear Eileen,

    What a lovely heartwarming post. How beautiful your Aunt Florence looked even at 80! She has graced and aged like wine... and I felt so sad that she has already lost her husband and her only son...but still she looks fine through it all.

    I saw the picture of her great great grandchild. Are those little children with her her grandchildren?

    The pictures you have posted of your mom taken during the days when American was still not so urban and fast paced... they are just too lovely for me.

    You do have such a rich heritage, Eileen, and thank you for sharing. Please be sure to greet your Aunt Florence for me. Tell her that I was so happy to have read a lot about her.

    Oh, and by the way, I do remember my own First Communion Day, with my white long dress and veil, taken at the Catholic school run by Belgian nuns. I attended this school for twelve years of my life. Memories...memories...


  10. Eileen...the first thing that struck me about your Aunt Florence is her beauty. Notice that I didn't say 'was'....but 'is'...She is a very beautiful lady. I hope that she reads your blog...reads the comments...and knows just how special she is and always has been to you. She sounds like a tender and loving Aunt...and I'm glad that you enjoyed spending quality time with her. Bless her...for the tragedies she has endured...and endured with grace...not complaining and still showing the love that she has. She is truly a sweet and blessed Aunt. I wish her a very Happy Birthday.

  11. What a wonderful and heartfelt tribute to your Aunt Florence ♥ I loved looking at all of the pictures and reading your post. I couldn't imagine losing a child. It must have been so difficult. She sounds like such a special lady. Thank you for sharing this post with all of us. HAPPY BIRDAY AUNT FLORENCE!

  12. Jayden's MommyJanuary 26, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    I have so, so, SO many wonderful memories of Aunt Florence & Uncle Tom! The Disney trips, the pop-up trailer, Etta & Amel's farm in Connecticut (with Aunt Florence's pancakes & Uncle Tom making me tell you guys I drank milk 'straight from the cow'), their dancing at the family parties - usually at the New Hyde Park Inn - and everyone in a circle watching the two of them dance across the floor, and SO much more! I was blessed to have had the two most perfect Godparents in the world!!! Happy Birthday, Aunt Florence!!!

    Oops! I can't leave out the best - Aunt Florence's Brownies - the most delicious brownies in the universe!!!!