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Monday, 18 June 2007

Aunt Sue and The Electric Typewriter

By Nancy Leitz

My husband's sister, Sue, was one of those people who you like instantly upon meeting, and love in about two weeks.

She was born to German immigrant parents in 1912 in a tiny row house in South Philadelphia. Her father was a baker who always made us laugh with his English pronunciations, i.e: "I have to make my duff" He meant dough. If you questioned him he would patiently explain that T O U G H was tough and R O U G H was rough, so D O U G H was duff! And that was the end of the discussion!

Sue was his pride and joy and from the time she could walk she followed him around his small bakery and "helped". Her mother was very frugal and nothing was wasted. In later years when I joined the family (1950), just clearing the dinner table for mom could be traumatic. If there were 3 peas left in the bowl, you were torn whether to cover them and put them away or – gasp - throw them away. Whichever you did, you could not win. If you threw them away you were a wasteful girl, and if you saved them you were wasting her wax paper covering them.

So that's how Sue grew up. Nothing wasted. Shirt collars turned, buttons moved from one side of a coat to the other depending on whether a boy or a girl would be wearing it this year, socks darned so hard that folks in the neighborhood thought my husband was a crippled boy because he limped to school in his patched up socks.

When Sue was in her early twenties she married a boy from the neighborhood and had three sons whom she brought up to be wonderful men. They all married very nice girls and Sue was delighted with her family and having all the daughters she never had.

It was at Sue's that we had the festive Christmas dinners, and Thanksgiving was always at Sue's because she loved having everyone. In short, she was the glue that held our family together. She adored her grandchildren as they came along and they thought the sun rose and set on their mom.

She was very active in her church and acted as the secretary for many years. Her job was typing up long reports for the minister and keeping the records. She had an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter that she used for 25 years. You could always hear her clackety clacking along doing her church jobs.

In 1985, Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer and had her right breast and her lymph glands removed. She went down hill from there. She gave up on herself, sure she was going to die very soon. She came home from the hospital resigned to her fate. Then, something happened that changed everything!

Her boys and their wives got together and bought her an IBM Selectric Typewriter. Sue sprang back to life and couldn't wait to tell me about the gift they had given her. She had it all figured out in her mind. All of her life, nothing was bought that wasn't going to be used for YEARS! She just knew that those kids wouldn't have bought her an expensive typewriter if she was going to die.

So, she didn't die. She lived for years after that, still typing away on her wonderful life-altering gift.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:20 AM | Permalink | Email this post


We should all have a 'Sue' in our families.

Whst a wonderful person and a great storyteller to share it with us.

Thank you Nancy

This is a cute story with a great message! Thanks for sharing it.

Something to think about!

Thank you for sharing... funny thing is that I think of YOU as the glue that holds our family together.


Well done, Nance. Aunt Sue was reincarnated today as I read your story.

Thanks for letting me take a few minutes back in time. She was a great woman and I think about her often.

Hi Nancy,
Something to live for or a darn good reason! Our minds and body are so deeply connected. It's great to have that reminder in this story of your dear Sue.

I came over to this story after reading MaMa and the Ragdoll. When I have time I'll read more. I remember loving Roy Has a Friend in Heaven.

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