Yesterday, our family celebrated the life of my dear Aunt Lorraine. She is the last of her generation to pass on. Brother, sisters, husband, mother, father, cousins, friends… everyone in her generation is now gone. Those who believe, as I do, that she is now on a different plane of existence (call it heaven, call it “other” doesn’t matter – her physical presence has passed) — we are sad.
She was a great aunt to me, a fine friend and a great hostess when it came to putting on a party. And we had a lot of them at her home. When it came to family holidays, her home was the one we gathered at most frequently. Big living space, lots of room for twenty or thirty people to gather round for a Christmas feast, and a backyard that could manage both an in-the-ground lobster/clam bake and a game of croquet all at the same time. Even with toddlers playing guns and robbers and running around crazy.
My favorite time was after the dishes were cleared away and the scrabble board or trivial pursuit game came out. I always wanted to be on her team. She knew everything and we often managed a win!
Now the mantle of “hostess with the mostess” falls to my generation. I’m sure the kids in the family see us as we saw my Aunt. A friendly, older person who puts on a good time. This Easter we are combining Easter and Passover and my job, among others, is to organize the Easter Egg Hunt. My cousin will bring the brisket and I will do up the ham with all the fixins. But it’s not the same. Even so… we put on a good show for the next crowd behind us.
But we must not dwell on the past. The future is now, the party is at hand, so raise a glass of Mainishewitz! And put on the Benny Goodman in honor of my aunt and the greatest generation.