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My twin Aunts were as different as they could be.

Edith was born 22 minutes before Annette, and when Annette arrived, Dr. John Lloyd turned to my Grandfather and said, “Charlie, these are not twins they are just two babies.”  There were two separate amniotic sacs according to the Doctor.  Grandpa told my dad the story later on.

Annette was a born “rebel” most would say.  Daddy said that Grandma treated all the kids the same, with the exception of Uncle Chuck, whom “she spoiled to death.” The rest she tried to beat the devil out of.

Annette was a good 6 inches taller than Edith and was blonde, no one else in the family was blonde.

She was a pretty, slender girl, but “meaner than the devil as a kid.” 

Aunt Nette

In School she was a fair student and learned, but with more effort than Edith.  Her grades were passable and she never failed a grade in School. 

She was far more interested in boys.

The last year she attended High School, she fell hard for Red Cash, and it never ended.

Aunt Nette, as we called her, and Uncle Red were everyone’s favorite Aunt and Uncle, hands down!

She was brassy, pretty, and out-spoken.  She had style, taste, good china and crystal – the only one in the family to do so.

Uncle Red was about the funniest guy around, and though their marriage was far from perfect, it was obvious they loved each other…cussing and fighting aside.

They did a little of that.

But, like I said, they met while Annette was in High School.  Red was playing baseball for the local league, and was handsome, athletic, and fun loving.

Annette fell fast and hard for him.

My dad told me once, “I remember being in the garden working with Dad and Chuck and Dad’s brother and his wife, Uncle George and Aunt Matt (Mattie Hickman). Mom’s Sister in law and also her half aunt…”

Yes, dad often talked that way, and if it weren’t for inbreeding, we’d have no relatives.

But, I digress.

“…They came down the road by the garden in the old black Model T ford that Uncle George drove. We talked at the fence for a couple of minutes and Aunt Matt said, “Charlie (my grandfather) let the boys go back to work, George and I want to talk with you.”  We got the message, went back to working with our hoes and never knew at that time what the conversation was about.  I knew Annette had been away from home for a while staying with them over at Tinkerville, but did not know why.  Seldom did we just visit unless it was kids like Chuck and me going to the home of an elder sibling like Margaret for a few days during summer vacation from School. Annette did not return home and I wondered why until I heard that Annette had a baby girl, born at the Home of Dad’s sister, Aunt Hessie Clark in Lexington. The father of the child was Red Cash, aforementioned.”

The child was born with a cleft pallet and a V – lateral mouth.  Dad was 12 at the time, and when they brought her home he was excited and felt like he had a little sister.

He literally adored her.  Grandma took her to Charlottesville University Hospital, where surgery was performed which corrected much of the condition.  She was a brilliant child, gifted with a mind that dwarfed the whole family.

Before Annette and Red were married, Annette went to Waynesboro to work for DuPont and Mom kept the baby full time like she was her own child.  At Waynesboro, Annette met Richard Foltz and they were married, but had no children.  

He was a good man, but it didn’t last.  

She divorced him, because she never loved anyone else but Red Cash.

When their daughter was 4 or 5 years of age, Red and Annette got married and spent the rest of their life in a stalemate of love, often fighting, but loving each other too much to separate.  

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There were good times, and there were bad times, but luckily, they never fell out of love with each other at the same time.

Red died first and Annette several years later in 2000.  She was the last of the Aunts to go, leaving Dad the lone sibling.  After they were all gone, he sat down and wrote memories of his siblings.  Much of this is gleaned from that.

As a kid, visiting Aunt Nette and Uncle Red was a treat!  She’d take us to the Clover Creamery or the Corner Café, or whip UP something that we never had at home in the minuscule kitchen. She’d drag out the china or the Fire King Jadeite – the real stuff – (which I have), and every moment was like a little party.

The real deal, not the fake stuff Martha sells.

The real deal, not the fake stuff Martha sells.

If we got on the road and someone in front of her was going to slow, as most were, she’d hit the horn; shake her fist out the window, and say, “…I hate a poke assed driver.”

And we’d titter with laughter in the seat next to her because we never heard language like that at home.

Red would sit in his chair, nurse his well disguised beer, smoke his Luckies, and chuckle at just about everything she said.

Thinking back on it, I realize why Dad “sermonized” most of the way home.  He didn’t necessarily approve of all that Red and Aunt Nette did, and he wanted to make sure we realized that we weren’t to behave that way.

Not unlike, I’m sure, what happens when my nieces and nephews and their children leave an evening with me. 

But, in their own odd way, they loved one another, and it worked.

It was a stalemate of love.

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