By Stephanie Julianna
Many of my Saturday readers will remember recently my articles about my Lady Idols from the Golden Age of Hollywood and TV. Then there was the one about my Female Impersonator Idols, all of whom were gorgeous and eventually transitioned. These were the musings of a forever crossdresser as I was growing up and finding my footing with desires and my gender.
These are also the wonderful memories of an older crossdresser who appreciated all the feminine beauty around him from the earliest age. But all those idols were just dreams. There was no more chance of me ever meeting any of them than putting a man on the moon. LOL. All those early dreams predated that event. I am old.
A week ago on the 23rd, I had the most amazing experience that reminded me of one of the most important GG’s in my life. A bit of a back story is needed here. I am the youngest of the second oldest male on my Polish side and the oldest sibling on my Irish side. My Dad was born in 1915 and had 5 younger siblings with the youngest being born in 1925, my Uncle Al. He played Minor League Baseball for the NY Giants and married later in life than. But waiting worked out really great for him and he won the heart of a younger girl, eight years younger, making her my youngest Aunt. She was only five years older than my oldest sister.
Al and Genevieve married in 1954 when I was only five years old and I thought he married a movie star. None of my idols had anything on her. She was beautiful, had personality up the wazoo, and could even sing. She was Irish and gorgeous as only those lassies can be. If that was not enough, she was a fashion plate. She had an incredible sense of what looked good on her and the camera screamed to take her picture. That worked out well since Uncle Al was an avid photographer as well. A kinder and gentler woman never walked the planet. She made every niece and nephew always feel like they were the only one she wanted to talk with when the families congregated at each others’ homes. She simply was the girl I always wanted to become. She passed away in 2008 and left a whole in my heart.
So, why bring her up now? I got a call from my Cousin Clare to tell me that my Uncle’s ashes were going to be interned on the 23rd after he had also passed away this year. What I did not know was that my Aunt Gen’s ashes were also going to finally be placed with his since he had held on to them since her death. There was no way I was not going to attend this event. Al was the last surviving member of that generation in my family on both sides and I am an avid genealogist for both sides of my family. Having also been a Hospice Nurse, the significance of the event was not lost on me. My cousin could not come back East for the ceremony and her brother, my cousin, was most likely going to be alone if I did not attend. I made it clear that would not happen and planned to attend.
I drove three and a half hours from Connecticut to a small town in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. I actually got to the cemetery at the same time as my cousin who lived only a half an hour from the site. After he signed some papers with staff we were directed to go up to the grave site and the place had been prepared for the ashes to be placed in the ground. Neither of us had any idea what to expect. He had both urns with their ashes and a few items that his sister wanted placed with them.
We talked about what to do since it was just us and no priest or chaplain. We decided that he would carry and place his Dad’s ashes while I did the same with my Aunt’s. We prayed silently afterward and found a local eatery to reminisce about our families and past good times. Then I headed home for the long drive back feeling good about myself for having supported my cousins and honored the memory of my Aunt and Uncle. What finally came to my mind was that of all the family and dozens of cousins in my generation, I ended up with the incredible honor of being the last family member to actually touch my Aunt Gen. I even placed her urn in the ground. She meant so much to me. Back in the 60’s she had met many of the girls that I had dated but when she met my latest girlfriend she said something that she had never said before. After she had made time to chat the girl up she took me aside and said something she had never said before. “Bobby, this one’s the keeper.” I already knew that, but getting her stamp of approval just seemed to make the possibility true. And she was correct since next April, that girl and I will celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. December 17th we will be together 53 years. My dream Aunt knew who my dream girl was at first sight, just like I did. That was her super power. I believe I was her favorite nephew and I am sure that all my cousins would say the same thing about themselves. She just had that gift.
Every family has or had had an Aunt with those gifts. I hope her story reminds you of them and the wonderful example that they gave us of what a good woman and person we can be if we just recognize their incredible example.
The picture shown here is of Aunt Gen singing at a wedding in 1953 just before she married my Uncle. I just loved her sense of style and her movie star image.
Okay, now my mascara is running………