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Thursday, July 18, 2013



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!”


  1. Very nice tribute to your "Aunt Jess".

    Colonel Sanders Chicken and pistachio nuts? Gee, I would have gone with the mashed potaotes.

    Like you I'm very bad about maintaining old friendships. Now I'm regretting it.


  2. Nice tribute, and I'm sure Aunt Jess smiled in Heaven at that last line. Take care.

  3. It's wonderful to have such fond memories of the folks who have influenced our lives. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I can picture your dream tonight. It'll be Aunt Jess yelling, "I LOVE YOU, TOO!!"

  5. Very nice. I know she had stories to tell about you, too, and did. Too bad no one wrote them down.

  6. I love the expression of the back-up mum. But you should have made the effort and told her, because without the effort, how would she know?
    I hope you show Charley this post. Then HE will know.

  7. Seems the women with what could be male type names (Jess, Ronni, Bobby, etc) were the tough cookies but often highly respected. We either respected them or got our tails whipped.

    I'm sure Jess knew. She let you stick around didn't she?

  8. Well, you couldn't go wrong with Merv Griffin and Colonel Sanders Chicken. That right there conveys the value of Aunt Jess.

  9. I'm not good at funerals either, but I think you made up for it with this tribute. Nicely done!

  10. men are terrible at maintaining friendships, so don't feel bad. I'm sure she liked having you around too.

  11. Terrific post. I really like the term "back-up mother." That's exactly what they were; I was blessed with several. And I have a feeling Aunt Jess knew how you felt about her.

  12. I love that saying - bust her chops! She sounds like a 'hard stick' that's a Kiwi term! I bet she's got the message now :)

  13. Don't worry -- the old bat knew it.


    And I'll bet she would've gotten a kick out of knowing that people she never met in places she never went to now know her name and what an influence she was on your life.


  14. It is so very good to have "another Mum" to look up to, and to know they have your back :)
    Good on you Aunt Jess for being so you right to the very end, good to hear a person stays true to themselves no matter what.
    And Yeah I reckon she knew you loved her.


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