L.to R. Aunt Julia, my mother, Uncle Emil
One of the greatest joys of my youth was any Saturday morning when my parents came into the bedroom of my sister and me and said, "Who wants to go to Jeannette?" Jeannette, PA, was where my Aunt Julia (only sister of my father) and her family lived. (See - The Stengers of 3rd. Avenue.) "Going to Jeannette for the week-end" was a very special treat for both my sister, Marie, and me. I'm certain it was a treat for my parents as well, since my mother and father were both very close to Aunt Julia and Uncle Emil Monier. Since the Monier's had three daughters, there was a daughter close to the ages of both my sister and me. My cousin, Olga, was the same age as my sister, Marie, and my cousin, Emilene, was my age.
Jeannette was 105 miles from our house in Clarksburg and it took about 4 hours to get there. (Today, with our 4-lane highways, the trip takes exactly 2 hours.) To a 7-year old whose patience was non-existant, the time it took to make the trip was interminable. It finally got to the point where I was promised a dime and then a quarter if I didn't ask, "How many more miles before we are there?" But when we finally did get there, it was all fun.
I remember Aunt Julia as the epitome of stoicism. Whatever happened in her life, she simply put one foot in front of the other and did the next right thing to do. She was an excellent cook and I'm sure had made great culinary preparation for our frequent visits. I remember Uncle Emil as a large, tall man with a boisterous laugh who enjoyed telling jokes and provoking laughter in everyone.
We were all avid card players and often played for an entire afternoon and sometimes into the evening as well. When we really didn't want to quit playing, my Aunt Julia would serve us all sandwiches at the card table so we didn't even have to quit to eat.
After the young people in both families had married and started families of their own, Aunt Julia and Uncle Emil and my parents traveled even more frequently to each others homes for visits and often took road trips together.
The picture accompaning this story was taken at the farm home of Uncle
Louie and Aunt Zula. They often had New Year's Eve parties at the
farm and Aunt Julia and Uncle Emil often came to Clarksburg to celebrate
the coming of the new year. I remember lots of harmonizing around the piano
at Uncle Louie's parties.
© 2001 Olga S. Hardman