Posted by: lafouch | March 30, 2010

My Aunt Mattie (2)

The other room in my Aunt Mattie’s house where I spent a lot of time was the sun porch. Her sun porch was taken up with two desks facing each other. One was often used for sewing and the other had a typewriter on it. Sometimes we were playing with paper and sometimes with cloth. Usually, scissors were involved. Here I learned to sew. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the neat, small, even stitches in my sewing that she did so easily in hers; however, I did get the confidence to sew which made it easier to make my clothes and clothes for my children. Whatever we did when I spent time there, there were always strict picking-up rules. Every thread or scrap of paper that fell on the floor had to be picked up before we were done for the day. She would see the tiniest thread even when I couldn’t.
The porch windows looked out on her backyard and garden. The garden went all the way through to the next block. For many years my Aunt Mattie and Uncle Bill kept that garden growing. There was a fence that separated the backyard lawn from the flower and vegetable garden. There was a free-standing garage to the left of the house and behind the garage there was a grape arbor and a compost area. My Aunt Mattie for a long time was able to pick weeds from her garden and lawn without bending her knees. When I was a pre-teen, I took over the job of digging the clover out of her lawn. A friend and I would go over after school and sit on the lawn, armed with a paring knife and a little berry basket. We’d fill our baskets and then take them to the compost heap. We’d earn ten cents per basket full.
When I was born, my mother wanted to name me Martha after Aunt Mattie. However, she didn’t like her nickname, Mattie and convinced my parents not to do it. So, we shared a middle name only.
Most people didn’t know my Aunt Mattie the way I knew her. Some knew her as a teacher. Many knew her as a genealogist. They came to her for her ability to research their forbearers. You can still find her research on the internet.
My mother knew her as someone she could rely on. When my mother was making many of our clothes, I know she went to Aunt Mattie for her assistance. When somehow it was decided that I should go to nursery school as there were no children close by for me to play with, it was Aunt Mattie that paid my tuition as my parents were just starting out. My only wish is that I could have known her as a young girl. I got a glimpse of that side of her sometimes when she related to my Uncle Bill. With Uncle Bill, she would sometime even giggle.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a photograph to show you.

Judie Fouchaux


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