|Dollie and Irene|
When Irene was with us, she and my mom mostly stayed close to home, cooking and catching up on all the stories of relatives and friends in Hawaii, but occasionally we would all go out somewhere (shopping, a park, the zoo...) I remember how irritated they would always get when there was a long line or a huge crowd. Sometimes there was someone especially slow or frustrating in front of them, and they would want to talk discreetly to each other, so they would slip into what sounded to me like a "secret language." I never knew what they were saying to each other, but I was always so envious that they had a language no one else could understand. I think they were speaking Hawaiian, but I really don't know for sure.
Irene always brought gifts with her when she came from Hawaii, mostly food. Every year for my birthday, she sent me a check for whatever number of years I happened to be turning plus an extra dollar. (Why can't I make that sentence sound coherent?? When I turned 5, she sent me $5 + an extra dollar. Get it?) She did that until I was 18.
When Irene moved to San Marcos, I visited her all the time. She loved to play bingo and quilt and read the National Enquirer. We would run errands or play cards on her porch. She would send me to get her mail or take care of her plants outside. And every now and then I would get to go with her to Bingo Tournaments. I carried her little quilted bag with all of her daubers in it, and sometimes she even let me use them on her cards! I loved hanging out with her.
I had no idea when I was growing up, how exactly Irene and I were related. I knew she was my mom's best friend and I called her Auntie Irene, but I didn't know how she was actually related to me. Everyone in Hawaii is an auntie or an uncle, and everyone is family, so it didn't really matter. All I knew was that we had a lot of people come to visit us often, and a LOT of family who totally spoiled me when they came. I loved Auntie Irene. My mom and I were both heart broken when Irene passed away in 2004. I found out in 2010, shortly after both of my parents passed away, why Irene always felt like more than an "auntie."
|Dollie was my adopted mom.|
|Chris is my birth mom.|
|Irene was Chris' mother.|