My mom wielded a hot-glue gun for the second time in her life to make us special Christmas gifts. Pinterest made her do it and I couldn’t be happier.
She took recipes from my great-great Aunt Iva’s cookbook and framed a set for each of us. One of the recipes is in Aunt Iva’s handwriting and another is from the Yakima Herald Republic printed in 1958.
Aunt Iva was a special lady. She was the original Martha Stewart–before the modern-day Martha was even born. She cooked amazing food, decorated beautifully, had an old buffet full of folded cloth napkins and table linens, her beds were immaculate with chenille bedspreads and her sweet house on Hall Avenue had a sleeping porch surrounded by windows. She also had those cool, old heating vents that you could talk through. My aunts, uncles and siblings and I would “booooooo” all night long through those things and she didn’t care. Her favorite color was pink. I can still remember what it felt like to hold her pink, knobby drinking glasses.
Aunt Iva never married or had children of her own. Instead, she spoiled her nieces & nephews, great nieces & nephews and great-great nieces & nephews. Thanks to Aunt Iva, my sister and I had new school clothes each fall. She loved to shop and we loved to shop with her, even though she was disappointed every single year that I wouldn’t agree to wear a polyester suit complete with silk neck scarf. I was nine! What 9-year-old wears a suit?!
Aunt Iva worked for years at the Yakima Herald Republic. She was Ted Robertson’s personal assistant. The cookie recipe that was printed in the paper on May 22, 1958 just might have been her submission. Who knows? Aunt Iva was a world traveler. She went with the ladies to Australia, Africa and Europe among other places. And rumor has it, she could drink any man under the table.
When I was in third grade Aunt Iva was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My mom told me that there would come a time that Aunt Iva wouldn’t know who I was. I thought that was absurd. We spent so much time with her that I didn’t think that was ever possible. But she was right. That time came a few years later. Her disease progressed slowly. But it was still sad and scary. She could tell you the name of the kitten she had when she was four years old and remembered that it was black. But she couldn’t remember that we weren’t in her apartment at that very moment, we were somewhere else.
Aunt Iva died several years ago. But her recipes, some of her cloth napkins and a few pieces of furniture live on in the homes of her family. We have great memories, some sentimental, some funny (like the time she looked down my shirt to see if it was time to buy me my first “brassiere” as she called it). I can laugh about it now but it wasn’t that funny in sixth grade.