Ostomy Memories of Aunt Gussie

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She was not an attractive person, my Aunt Gussie. Her face had the look of an old leather bag that had been left out in the weather too many times, a strange brown from too many hours in the sun, with rifts and crevices that would challenge even the most expensive facial cream. My sister always said that Aunt Gussie smelled like beef stew, but she had a better olfactory nerve than me, and I always tried to hide in my bedroom when the old lady visited. But then my mother would call out, “Henry, come say hello to your Aunt Gussie,” and I would have to slink out, forcing myself not to grimace, to suffer her gnarled hand upon my chin and a wet kiss on my cheek. “Look how he’s grown,” she would always say, and I would catch a glimpse of my sister smirking off to the side before I could escape out into the yard, wiping my face with my sleeve. How Aunt Gussie was related within our family I never knew for sure, but her elderly decrepitude and her widowed status lent her the kind of familial preeminence that necessitated a certain level of obeisance from adults and children alike. The worst part was that my sister’s observation put me off beef stew for the rest of my life.

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Hello HenryM.

I too had several aunts who more or less fit the physical picture you describe. However, my take on them was they they were always kindly disposed towards us children and their embarrassing hugs and kisses were taken as a form of affection and genuine interest in our wellbeing. Not so with many of the uncles who visited. The contrast could not have been more stark in that they were horrid, abusive bullies, who seemed to delight in trying to establish their dominance over us and were not averse to using physical and psychological abuse to do so. I always put this behaviour down to a generational thing, where the men had been brutalised over two generations going off to war to kill people. They then came back home and could not break the habits and  training to be abusive towards their enemies. At the time, I tried hard to believe that their appalling behaviour was not entirely their fault, but as the years progressed, I realised that this tendency to bullying permeated the whole of society and was therefore, not the result of brutalising wars , but a deliberate choice on their behalf to be as they were. 

I welcome the memories of my kindly aunts, if only as a counterbalance to the brutality of their men.

Best wishes


Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Henry............that was great!Everyone has an Aunt Gussie or three. I can remember the exact same sequence of events whenever my "Aunts" would always come over. I'd pretend to be very busy playing with my toys or such........but it was always "come say Hi to Aunt xxxx". Part of the Great Divide between youth and Maturity I guess......but good memories now. And I'd give pretty much anything to have one more chance to meet them again today...cheek pinches, pecks on the cheeks, hand squeezes and all. Thanks for the memory!



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