"It's In Their Blood" by Scott Lee Needham

"It's In Their Blood" by Scott Lee Needham
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Letters of "Light" For Aunt Amelia


Growing up on Erie Street in Rochester was a magical thing.
My parents had each come from large families (of 10 brothers and sisters); the extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins was massive.   As a result, every night was a party mostly because every night was a celebration of someone’s birthday. 

Into this mix were regular visits by any number of neighborhood or lifelong friends, and sometimes even kind strangers; all were welcome into the double red brick house that my immediate family, my Mom Frances, Dad “Herbie P” and sister Pam then shared with my Uncle Carl, Aunt Elva and cousin Eva Easton.
Also, too, of course were the holiday parties through the year.  The summer holidays were celebrated between Aunt Rita and Uncle Vincent Tacci's summer home in Honeoye Lake and my Aunt Sue and Uncle Pat Borrelli's summer home in Waterport.  Easter, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were mostly celebrated on Erie Street, as was Christmas Day.  New Year’s Eve took place at my Aunt Rita and Uncle Vincent's house on Lake Avenue.  Thanksgiving was at Aunt Anna’s; and Halloween would be spread across the board, depending on where we’d learn that the combined children of the family would best be served as trick or treaters. 

Many times we'd celebrate Halloween at Aunt Amelia’s on Arnett Blvd because that was the largest, safest neighborhood.  Aunt Amelia and Aunt Alice, and their respective families, shared a double house on Arnett (though an “up-and-down”; and not like Erie Street’s “side-by-side” configuration).
Suffice it to say, Halloween was the main reason I liked to visit Arnett Blvd.

But there were other, more important reasons.
Aunt Amelia, Uncle Val, Rita, Fred and Bill Valerie (the latter of whom, God bless him, just passed into Heaven) lived downstairs; and Aunt Alice and Uncle Angelo Schiano lived upstairs in a home that was placed in what I had then perceived as a Leave It To Beaver neighborhood.  It seemed every house had a white picket fence in front with lots of manicured brush, and each displayed the greenest of lawns.

Aunt Amelia and Aunt Alice also had the most magical of “inside front porches” that they used to call “sun rooms,” mostly because of the visual light and physical warmth that these rooms exuded. 
But clearly that “Light” and “Warmth” could also be defined as and possessed of a spiritual nature.

I spent many an hour in those sun rooms, reading old magazines, and book’s like Archie Comics and the Farmer's Almanac. 

And every so often, when dozing off in Aunt Amelia’s sun room in particular, she would walk in and ask me to mail one of her letters.

And that didn't mean emailing or even driving to the post office; it meant walking to the corner mailbox.
Uncle Val was a mailman, and maybe that's partially why Aunt Amelia loved to write letters; because her husband was on "the inside" of the postal circuit.  But she also loved to write letters because she loved to talk and communicate with people; she had several friends with whom she corresponded.

So I always enjoyed walking to the mailbox for her; I felt honored, actually. 

That little red and blue mailbox was only one block up the street, although it seemed like a mile away at the time.
Yet it could have been two miles from her house; I didn’t care.  I had a mission and a purpose.  I felt important that Aunt Amelia trusted me with her trusted written thoughts to her trusted countless friends and family (including the wonderful Bob and Bonnie Marinetti; and Rene and Maxine Piacentini).

I miss those Leave It To Beaver days and neighborhoods.  I miss Halloween on Arnett Blvd, and Christmas on Erie Street.  I miss my Mom and Dad; Aunt Elva and Uncle Carl; Aunt Anna and Uncle Tony Fort, Aunt Alice and Uncle Angelo; Uncle Joe and Aunt Antoinette Turri.
And I miss mailing those letters of “Light” and “Warmth” from…and for…Aunt Amelia.

 

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