I’ve written several posts on my mom. She was what you call very blog worthy. There was another woman in my life that helped me through my adolescent years. Aunt Jess was my best friend Charley’s mom.
Most kids have a back-up mom through those difficult years. Aunt Jess was my back-up mom.
I met Aunt Jess when I was in ninth grade, one week after my folks moved from Long Island to New Jersey. I was at Charley’s house after school. We were goofing around and our goofing turned into a full-fledged wrestling match. We were fighting for real but in a friend kinda way…it’s a guy thing.
Charley’s mom was at work. Charley’s dad had passed away years before, and Aunt Jess was a single working mom. She came home to a disheveled living room and a broken lamp.
“CHARLEY!! What in blazes are you doing!”
There are not enough exclamation marks to convey the shrillness of this woman’s scream and she screamed often.
“Hey Jess, meet the new kid.”
That was my introduction to Charley’s mom. Chuck called her Jess, not mom. It was a show of disrespect yet somehow a term of affection. With equal disrespect, yet shallowly disguised affection, I soon called Charley’s mom “Aunt Jess.” She just called me Hagy.
Through the years this loud, shrill, annoying lady kept us on the straight and narrow. We strayed often, but the fear of that piercing voice kept us out of major trouble. Well Charley was the loose cannon, I think Aunt Jess kept me around as I was a stabilizing force on Charley…OK, I was a wuss, but Charley needed a wuss to tone down his crazy.
Aunt Jess was not always shrill, just most of the times, and we would bust her chops just to bring out the shrill. I think she knew it, but she never disappointed and countered our jabs with shrill retorts.
Often we just hung out with Aunt Jess, watching Merv Griffin or playing word games, eating Colonel Sanders Chicken and pistachio nuts.
Sometime after College Charley and I went our separate ways. We got in touch occasionally, but I am very bad at maintaining friendships. I often wanted to visit Aunt Jess, but...I am very bad at maintaining friendships.
I see Chuck now from time to time, and we keep up via Facebook. Aunt Jess passed away several years ago at age of around 95. I understand she was feisty to the end. I didn’t go to the funeral; I am also very bad at things like that. I never took the opportunity to tell her something I think she knew all along.
“I loved you; you old bat!”