By John Hubbuch
My Aunt Bea would have been 103 on Sunday. She died in 2004 at the age of 96.
Aunt Bea is representative of those adults ,other than our parents, who exercise significant influence on our lives. As we grow older we realize that we are not self-made , and that others have made us what we are.
Aunt Bea was what was once called a spinster. She never married. Her father died when she was a teenager, and as the oldest it fell upon her to help support and care for her siblings and her mother. The details are murky, but despite the twin handicaps of lack of money and being a woman, she somehow graduated from Georgetown College in Kentucky in 1931 --32 years before Betty Friedan wrote "The Feminine Mystique". She eventually retired after a long carreer as as the Dean of Women at St. Mary's College in Maryland.
I went to Vanderbilt University. I had never heard of it until my Aunt Bea brought it to my attention. She brought me trinkets from her trips to Russia,China,Japan and Mexico inspiring my interest in history and politics. She aged so very gracefully living alone in a nursing home with her reading, correspondence and University of Kentucky basketball. She sued her extended care carrier. A 94 year old plaintiff. The carrier wisely settled. She is my exemplar for old age.
Whether it be a grandparent, a teacher, a coach, an uncle or an aunt or a boss, we all need someone like Aunt Bea to help us on our life's journey. I will always remember Aunt Bea.