Tuesday, September 30, 2014

52 Ancestors - #39 Elva Rosalie Tucker - A Flower Waiting to Blossom

I am posting this at 7:10 p.m.  - the hour of my mother's birth and on the 92nd anniversary of her birth.

My mother did not have a name for the first few months of her life. Her parents, Alva and Effa, argued for several months about what to name their new baby girl.  Effa wanted Rosalie and Alva wanted to name her Elva after himself. They finally settled on Elva Rosalie and had that added to her birth certificate on January 18, 1923.  She was known as Elva during school but she later used Rosalie which she preferred.

Elva Rosalie Tucker was born in Chehalis on September 30, 1922 at the nursing home of Mrs. Loomis.  During the 1920’s women often went to a nursing home or a midwife’s home to have their babies.  Mrs. Loomis was the same nurse midwife who had delivered Mom’s older brother Arnold and then later Jack. Rosalie was the fourth child born to Alva and Effa Tucker.  The first, a girl Vera Louise, died at birth on January 16, 1916, because the doctor was in a hurry. Alva was working on a ranch in Coulee City at the time. The second daughter was Stella Belle (later Jeanne) was born December 6, 1916, in Aberdeen. Their third child was a boy Arnold Virgil born December 3, 1919. 

December 1922 Elva Rosalie

1923 Rosalie and Arnold

With Arnold and Rosalie

1924 at Copalis Beach
Stella, Arnold, “Daddy Alvie” and Rosalie
The kids are eating Crackerjacks.

1924 At Alvie’s Garage at Mary’s Corner
Arnold, Stella, Rosalie and Effa
Alva had a wrecker and one of the few gas stations
in Lewis County, Washington – he sold Shell Gasoline

1926 Rosalie, Arnold, and Stella

According to Rosalie, she was just a brat when this picture was taken. She kept trying to run off so finally Arnold held on to her dress ties so the picture could be snapped.

Rosalie had very happy memories of the short time she had with her father who died when she was 4 1/2 years old.  When her mother would get upset about something, her father would take her by the hand and tell her “Let’s go for a walk Elva and when we get back Mama will be feeling better.”  She also remembered her father taking her and Stella and Arnold to the movies; she would get to sit on Daddy’s lap.  During the scary parts, Rosalie would hide her face under the lapel of his jacket and then she would peek out when he would tell her it was all right to look. Rosalie said once, “He loved movies and he loved good music too.  He bought the Victrola – a hand wound Victrola and bought some very good records ... beautiful music.”  Alvie loved kids and would entertain the whole neighborhood with fireworks on the Fourth of July. He had a way of making each of his children feel very special and they all adored him. “You won’t find anyone that will give you a bad word of any kind about him,” Arnold said about his father. Rosalie remembered that her father was “Tall, handsome with a very sweet disposition.”

Stella said that, “When Daddy was home, he gave her a lot of attention.  He would hold her and rock her until she slept.  Mother never seemed to have time for her, but then she didn’t pay much attention to Arnold and me.”

May 1927 Arnold and Elva in front of the house in Aberdeen

In 1927, they were living in Aberdeen and purchasing a house on Simpson Avenue.  Alva had forgotten to mail his life insurance premium and gave it to his sister Calla in Seattle the day they sailed for Victoria BC. Calla also said that he asked her to look out for his family if anything happened to him. It was not Alvie’s turn to go out but he only went as a favor to the owner of the company who had been Alva’s boss at the mill in Aberdeen.  The Captain had insisted on sailing in spite of bad storm warnings.  The tug went down during a horrible storm in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on May 24, 1927 in the early morning hours.  It had been last been sighted near Protection Island, and a woman in Port Townsend reported hearing a whistle and then seeing the lights go out in the water at 2 a.m.

When the men from the Tugboat Company arrived in Aberdeen to tell Effa of Alva’s death she pushed Rosalie’s head onto her lap and covered Rosalie’s ears saying, “Don’t let Rosalie hear this!” When the children were told of their father’s death, Arnold took off to be by himself – he felt as if he had lost his best friend – his hero.  Stella cried and screamed for her father – her loss was unbearable.  Rosalie stopped speaking and did not speak again for months – the light was gone from her life.  Alva’s heavy woolen mackinaw was found on the beach and brought home to the family. It was hung on the line to dry.  Stella picked the sand out of the pockets and found a notebook in the inside pocket – he had written a few words about each child in it the night he had died.

Stella had this to say about Rosalie as a small child after the death of her father, “she was very shy, so quiet and her eyes were big and dark—so sad.  Remember the Walter Keane paintings?  I bought one when we visited his gallery in San Francisco because it reminded me of Rosalie. She was too young to grasp what had happened — we were all grieving; it was a terrible time.  She had a little rocker and she would sit and rock and suck her thumb and sometimes she would cry, silently.   She was always obedient — never made waves except when it came to eating.  Coffee and toast were her main diet.  Mother would make a big issue of it because she was painfully thin.  Mother always had good, tasty meals and the rest of us flourished.  I think she embarrassed the rest of the family.  She no doubt told you about the toothpicks and salt — in spite of that and sucking her thumb.  I loved her a lot and always felt protective of her.”
After Alva’s death, Effa lost the house and moved back to Mary’s Corner with her four children – Vina Louise had been born on March 22, 1927 and Alva had only seen her once at the nursing home when he had taken Rosalie to see her.  My Mom remembered the visit to see her new baby sister. He asked her if she would mind him holding Vina and she told him that she would sit on Daddy's lap and hold the baby for him.
1927 Mayme holding Vina and Elva Rosalie

The neighbors at Mary’s Corner pitched in and helped Widow Tucker build a home next to her parents on an acre of land JT and Mattie had given her. The year after Alvie died all four children got the whooping cough and Rosalie and Arnold were the sickest.  Vina had a rupture and couldn’t be allowed to cry so Effa took care of her while Mattie and Stella took care of Arnold and Rosalie.

1927 Rosalie, Mattie with Vina, Effa, Stella and Arnold
At Mary’s Corner

The life insurance policy helped Effa get through the depression with four children.  Stella dedicated herself to taking care of her younger brother and sisters now that her father was gone.  She was a generous and loving big sister to them and Rosalie thought she was wonderful.
At Mary’s Corner the children attended Jackson Prairie School just down the road from their house.  Rosalie referred to herself as “obnoxious and disruptive” and the teachers at the two-room schoolhouse definitely earned their money.  She was very bright and intelligent and in an effort to keep her challenged they ended up promoting her twice ahead of the kids her age and even had her tutor other children.  When Rosalie was caught talking and entertaining the others, she would be ordered to write, “I will not talk in class” on the chalkboard.  She would do so with great gusto holding two pieces of chalk in her left hand and one in her right and writing three sentences at a time when the teacher would leave the room.  Since she was left handed, it was easy for her as was writing upside down and backwards.

1929 Rosalie aka “Fussy”

1929 Rosalie aka “Dado”

1929 Rosalie, Vina, Stella and Arnold

Their mother Effa married Warren Nixon when Rosalie was about 8 years old. Their son Jackie Eugene was born March 13, 1931.
When Stella was old enough to date, she insisted on taking Rosalie if we were going to a movie or whatever she might enjoy.  Stella says, “George wasn’t a boyfriend, really — more a friend of the family.  He was tall and skinny and so homely, but he liked the three of us so he got a package.  After the movie we would go to Dick Usher’s (does the name Usher sound familiar?) Ice Cream Parlor and have treats.  She would eat then - chocolate sundaes, hamburgers and fries.  George could make her smile which was something she rarely did.  Dick was a really nice guy and sometimes things were on the house.”

June 17, 1934 Rosalie at Paradise on Mt Rainier – almost 12 years old

Later on this day she fell over the edge and then rolled to the edge of a cliff overhang – a tree stopped her fall to the canyon floor. She was terrified of heights after this accident.

As a child Rosalie was extremely close to her Grandmother.  She would spend a lot of time with her and often accompanied her to church.  Going to church with Mattie provided Rosalie with material with which she entertained her family at dinner (although NOT with her grandmother present).  Mattie, at that time, was attending a church where people spoke in tongues, gyrated, and sang and danced with great gusto – giving Rosalie plenty to work with – her family “rolled in the aisles”.  She admitted that it was very bad of her but she couldn’t resist getting the laughs.

From Stella – “Mama didn’t want me to finish school and when Aunt Calla heard about it she came after me and took me to Seattle.  She put me up at the hotel for women only until I could find a place to live in the Roosevelt district.  She had connections — professors at the U Dub.  I moved in with one of their mothers, a Mrs. Lamont.  That was my sophomore year and she was already thinking ahead to the U.”
Stella and Rosalie’s youngest brother Dale Allen was born June 17, 1936 and then another sister Cleta LaVerne was born August 21, 1937.  

August 10, 1937
Rosalie almost 15 years old

Rosalie was determined to graduate from high school AND to get her teeth fixed even though her mother had wanted her to stay home and help her take care of the younger brothers and sisters. As Stella says, “Mother made the same mistake with Rosalie.  She didn’t think high school was needed; girls didn’t need an education to get married and have babies.  By now I was married.  We had a nice roomy apartment and when Russ heard that Rosalie wasn’t going to finish school, he suggested she come stay with us.  We were on Capitol Hill in the Broadway High School district.  I had gone to summer school there and it was so dreary — like a dungeon.  By now Calla knew she was with us.  (I had been such a disappointment to Calla).  Anyway, she took charge and I’m glad she did.  She bought Rosalie clothes, enrolled her at Garfield High and found her a place to live with a nice family.  She did chores and mostly took care of their two sons.”  Rosalie worked as a nanny for room and board for the Westbo family who were very well to do.  She played tennis with the Westbo boys, helped them with their homework, and absolutely adored them and they her.  She attended Garfield High School and played on the Girls’ Basketball team.  This is how she injured her knee that bothered her in later years with arthritis.

July 1, 1938 Rosalie

1939 Mrs. Westbo and sons

According to her niece Rita, “I have the distinct honor of being Aunt Rosalie's first born niece and from all accounts by my mother, Stella Long, I did not disappoint her. She was only 17 years old when I was born thus enabling her to spend her free time doting on me. While I don't remember specific details, I know we spent time having picnics and playing at Volunteer Park while I was very young. I'm sure the abundance of love she gave to me from the very beginning is what made our bond so special.”

Rita with Rosalie

Stella says, “Rosalie worked hard, didn’t play or have dates, but made excellent grades and won herself a scholarship to a business college.  She had so little free time, but when she did she spent it with us.  She doted on Rita and loved to play with her.  Our fun was packing a lunch and spending an afternoon at Volunteer Park. 

If Russ had a free Saturday, she and I would go downtown to the Embassy Theater and watch three great first-run movies for 25 cents.  We both loved movies and could watch forever.  When we got out of the theater, our eyes were red and bleary — Bettie Davis always made us cry.  Our treat was hamburgers at a hole in the wall cafe — it didn’t seat more than ten at a counter.  The good part was they only charged 5 cents for them.  We would splurge and have two, they were so good.”

Rita and Rosalie on Graduation Day

 Rosalie graduated June 14, 1939 at age 16.  From Stella, “The night she graduated from high school was I ever proud.  You have the picture of her in the lovely white dress — she was beautiful and when they called her name I cried like a baby.  Aunt Calla was with me and she was doing the same.  The ceremony was held at the Music Hall Theater downtown Seattle.  It was a beautiful building and it is no longer there.  The graduating class was so large; the school couldn’t accommodate the crowd.”

During 1939, The Story of Alexander Graham Bell came out staring Don Ameche in the title role. For years after that the telephone was known as the “ameche” an expression that both Rosalie and Stella used with each other.
Rosalie met Lionell Mitchell when she was attempting to purchase her favorite candy bar. The clerk kept trying to persuade her to buy something else and she was quite persistent about what she wanted.  Lionell admired her spunk and struck up a conversation with her. I am not sure when this happened but they were in love and writing letters to each other when Rosalie went home to her mother’s in Toledo in late October 1939.  Mrs. Westbo had become jealous of Rosalie’s relationship with her sons so Rosalie went home to help her mother who was expecting another child.  Myrna Lee was born November 13, 1939.

Arnold had met Lionell and approved of him and the family was eager to meet him.  While in Toledo, Rosalie and Vina would attend the local dances.  Arnold and Stella would go with them when they visited. By early December 1939, Effa was urging Rosalie to do something with the scholarship so she could be independent and have a career (this change of mind might have had something to do with Effa just having her ninth child).  Lionell was in Seattle and looking for work since they couldn’t be married until he found a job. By the middle of December, Rosalie was planning on returning to Seattle in January 1940 to work and to start attending school, but she was needed by her Grandfather JT to help take care of her Grandmother Mattie.  Mattie was very ill with a “toxic goiter” which they were not able to operate on.  Mattie was sent home from the hospital since there was nothing to be done for her and she was not expected to recover. 
By early March 1940, Rosalie was still at her grandparent’s house at Mary’s Corner.  Lionell was still unable to find a job in Seattle and had been thinking about heading to Texas to find work.  Mattie died March 21, 1940, and Rosalie returned to Seattle after that.  It must have been during this time that she used her scholarship and attended Business College in Seattle since she was unable to afford a four-year college. 

March 4, 1940 Rosalie and Arnold

1940 Rosalie Tucker (almost 18) and Lionell Mitchell (age 20)

 Lionell Burris Mitchell and Elva Rosalie Tucker were married on February 15, 1941 at St. Clement of Rome Episcopal Church in Seattle, Washington. They lived in an apartment at 503 1st West in the Lower Queen Anne Hill area of Seattle.

503 1st West

Rosalie’s brother Arnold lived with them for a while after they were first married.  Rosalie had cooked a nice, economical tuna casserole, but unfortunately, Lionell was a meat and potatoes man and was not happy with the casserole.  An argument ensued and tuna casserole was flying through the air until Arnold quietly took it away from them and said, “Would you let me dish up, before it all ends up on the floor?”
The tuna casserole was only the first of many such dishes over the years.  Whether it was because he had mellowed or given up, Dad later seemed to greet various culinary experiments with a look that was bemusement, resignation or a combination of the two.

They lived on 1st West until June 1941 when they moved to the 1400 block of 3rd North West in the Seattle Phinney Ridge area near the Woodland Park Zoo. From my Aunt Dorothy, “My memories of Rosalie are very precious! To me, she was more like an older sister than a "sister-in-law". I was only about six years old when she married my oldest brother Lionell. And I was lucky enough to live only a few blocks away from their apartment.” They didn’t move again until September of 1941 when they moved to 112 Valley Street which was also in the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood.

September 1941 19 years old

This is from Rita: “One of my first conscious recollections is that she had a wonderful kid magnet called a phonograph and a collection of 33 1/3 RPM records that she allowed me to play with. I still remember removing the record from its jacket, placing it on the turntable and then ever so carefully lowering the arm and placing the needle in the first groove. Kind of a tricky thing to accomplish while the record was going round and round.”

“The one record that I couldn't seem to get enough of was of Marion Anderson singing Ave Maria. The sound quality of the record left much to be desired but I loved it and played it over and over and over. In hindsight, I'm sure I was the reason the sound became so scratchy. I think if it had been anybody else, they would have hidden the record from me but she never admonished me in any way.”

Mitch went to work in December 1941 for Boeing in Seattle at Plant #2. In March of 1942 they moved to a larger apartment at 1428 Queen Anne Avenue – the Galer Crest Apartments which is now a historical building.The building was located at the crest of the Queen Anne Counterbalance which was no longer in use after August 10, 1940. 

Galer Crest Apartments 

1942 Elva and Lionell aka Rosalie and Mitch
Visiting Effa


On April 24, 1942, Rosalie went to work for West Construction Company as a stenographer at the Port of Seattle.  Her ID card indicated that she was 5’ 2” and 112 pounds.  Even though she was only 19 according to Stella she was the head of a department. “By now Rosalie was coming out of her shell — before she was never assertive so you were hardly aware of her.  But now all of that was changing and with the years and the good jobs she held, she became an entirely different person — very confident, well read, she could discuss any subject.”

December 1942
Arnold (23), Stella (26), Rosalie (20), Vina (15)

After one miscarriage, Rosalie was pregnant again. Their first child, Marc William, was born January 1943, during the midst of a horrible snowstorm. Aunt Dorothy says, “Rosalie was always loving & friendly. When her first born arrived, she taught me everything she could about the care of babies. Fortunately for me, she must have thought I was responsible because she would often let me baby-sit for Marc.”  

1943 Mitch, Marc, Rosalie

Mitch quit Boeing at the end of May 1944 to go to work for Spokane Air Material 4169 AAF Base Unit working up and down the coast on radar stations for the military.

October 1944 Rosalie on the right at West Construction

Terry Allen was born June 1946, the doctor was late and Terry was almost born without him.  At the time Terry was born, they were still living in an apartment and Rosalie couldn’t let Terry cry at night.  She ended up getting up with him every night for several hours.   He just wanted to play and be entertained (as Terry put it “always a night owl”).

Marc, Mitchell, Rosalie and Terry

In April 1947 Mitch went into business for himself doing work on radios. In January 1948 the Mitchells moved from the Galer Crest Apartment after six years there to Northwest 92nd Street in the Crown Hill neighborhood which at that time was outside the Seattle city limits. They lived there until April when they moved in at 1214 East Columbia Street with Lionell’s mother Ruby Champlin who was a widow now. Once they moved to a house, Rosalie put a stop to the midnight socials with Terry and after he cried most of the first night in the new house.  After that he then slept every night straight through or at least played quietly alone. 

1947 - Rosalie and her siblings
Mom Effa, Stella, Cleta, Arnold, Rosalie, Vina, Myrna, Jack, Dale

In the summer of 1948 Rosalie, Marc and Terry went up to Sunrise at Mt. Rainier and spent several weeks camping with her “sister Vina”, brother-in-law Teck and nephew Larry and Mitch would join everyone on the weekends. Mitch went back to work in August 1948 at Boeing Plant #2 and also worked his radio business.

They lived with Mitch’s mother Ruby until September 1948 when they moved into a two story Ballard neighborhood duplex with an upstairs unit and a downstairs unit at 1132 West 58th Street, Seattle. Their neighbors from the downstairs duplex were Viv and Gordy Nelson and they became lifelong friends. 

1132 West 58th Street

Dorothy says that, “I often babysat for both Marc & Terry. Frequently, I was allowed to bring both Marc & Terry to my house and keep them for the weekend. (Rosalie said she knew they would be fine, because I was even stricter than she was! That was good training for later raising my five kids).”

In 1949, Lionell purchased a kit to make a television set from a magazine.  He put it together and the family watched KING TV’s broadcast of a boxing match on the little tiny screen in their living room.  Every afternoon after school, the neighborhood children gathered at the Mitchell house to watch the television. They would play in the backyard until Rosalie called them in when “Uncle Miltie” was on.  They also watched Sid Caesar as well. Television was still quite a novelty. Just the year before the Mitchell’s got their television; there were less than 40 TV stations in the country – most of them in the East. 
In March of 1950 Mitch quit Boeing for the second time and went into business for himself as a television repairman.  Mitch was affiliated with McVicar’s Hardware Store and had a work area at the store. He purchased a 1951 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery for his new business.

The Mitchell family was still living in Ballard in 1951 and Terry attended Kindergarten there. Rosalie insisted that Terry memorize his phone number – GLadstone 6243. After school, the boys had a babysitter “Murch” who lived up the street. They moved to 14310 24th Place NE in Lake City before Terry started First Grade in 1952. The house only had two bedrooms so Mitch built a room in the basement for the boys. As Rosalie always did, she painted and wallpapered.

This is from Stella:  “When the family moved to Lake City, we were both ‘housefraus’, staying home being good mothers (we hoped) and those were the days of the ‘Infamous Home Perms—mainly Toni.’  Such disasters we had — hair turning orange, touch of green, brittle split ends and fuzz or frizz (lots of that).  She called me one morning after one of our disasters and said, ‘I can’t go on.  I’m going to kill myself!’ (Joking, of course).  So I went over and shampooed and hot-oiled her hair until I got most of the damage out.  Nothing ever stopped us, we carried on.  It’s a wonder we both developed such good hair later.  Watching Maevè and Lisa laugh at our stories about those days was worth it.  They never seemed to tire of them and always wanted more.”

The family used the sedan delivery with the RCA dog “Nipper” on the side and also the McVicar name for all the trips to the Stillaguamish River and just about everywhere else.  Marc and Terry used to vie for the coveted “between the seats perch” – the end of the flat platform between the seats.  My brother Terry thinks that the site at the Stillaguamish River was on a farm belonging to relatives of their friends, the Nelsons, and let both families use it any time they wanted. There was a memorable trip home from the River when Marc and the family dog, Prince, ran afoul of a skunk.  They had to ride all the way home (about 40 miles) with Marc and the dog stinking to high heavens in the back while Mitch and Rosalie chain-smoked to try and cover the smell.

Summer 1952 at the Stillaguamish River
Aunt Vina, Uncle Teck and my Mom – Rosalie
Cousin Cheryl and my brother Terry

Dad and Mom – there was always a lot of laughter and joking around at the “River”

A friend of Lionell’s had a little girl and Lionell thought she was just enchanting.  Rosalie took this opportunity to convince him they should try again. As with both the boys, she was horribly sick with morning sickness all day long. Rosalie’s 1939 Plymouth Coupe had broken down so Mitch had sold it to make sure Rosalie had cab fare in case she went into labor. Stella would come over and visit Rosalie at least once a week. Rosalie was now one week overdue and Stella spent the evening with her – they made fried chicken, had a couple of beers (after debating on whether or not they should) and laughed a lot. She went into labor that night and Maeva Rosalie was born at Virginia Mason Hospital on March 1953 at 5:30 a.m. Rosalie was absolutely thrilled to finally have a daughter, but she didn’t quite believe the news.  When the nurse handed me to her, Rosalie laughed and said, “She would have a nose like mine!” (I had scratched my face and nose soon after birth and it had swollen.) The nurse then threatened to take me away if she wasn’t nice. The nurse cautioned her not to un-wrap the new baby, but Rosalie un-wrapped me the minute the nurse left the room to make sure she had a girl with 10 toes and 10 fingers. Her nurse also convinced her not to spell my name “Maevè” and to use “Maeva” instead so it would be easier to pronounce.

November 26, 1953 Thanksgiving
Vina and Rosalie

Mitch and Rosalie worked very hard on their yard and it was beautiful.  There was a large weeping willow tree in the back yard and flowers everywhere. The front yard was in two levels because the house was located on a hillside. The upper front and lower back of the front yard were divided by a rockery.  There were evergreen trees on both sides and Rosalie’s prize rhodies were on one side. I sometimes helped her out when she was picking the dead blossoms off of plants.  She often told the story of me coming to the back door and holding out my chubby little hand filled with bleeding heart blossoms and saying, “Mama, I been helping you.”

On weekends we often went to the Stillagaumish River for picnics with family and friends.  The River of my childhood memories was magical and always fun.  I can still hear our parents’ friend Gordy Nelson doing his bull elephant impression while swimming in the river.

Summer 1954 at the “River”

When I was eighteen months old, Lisa Ann was born in September 1954.  Mitch and Rosalie now had two red headed little girls.

While living in Seattle all four children were given nicknames, with Rosalie naming Marc – Marcus Apopolous, Terry – Humphrey Pennyworth (after the cartoon character) and Lisa – Dupper Do Little (she would just happily sit where ever Rosalie would put her.)  Mitch nicknamed Maevè – Poot (I am not sure why.) 

One of my favorite pictures – Rosalie, Vivian Nelson, Stella
Hamming it up for the camera.

Marc, Terry
Lisa and Maeva

Rosalie, Maeva and Lisa
December 1954

Stella moved to Auburn and learned to drive because as she said, “I had to see Rosalie and my Girls and did that every week for years until I went to work permanently. Those were great times—we seemed to agree on everything.  We never quarreled or had bad feelings.  We both loved good books, movies and could talk for hours about everything and everyone!!” I remember a story that Stella told me once about my mother. Stella came over to visit and found Mom making Lisa and I new dresses. Why? She didn’t want to iron the ones she had washed. Rosalie was famous for hating to iron. Stella ended up taking several baskets of ironing home with her to iron to help Rosalie get caught up.

From Dorothy – “By the time Maevè and Lisa arrived, I was already married so, unfortunately I didn't have time to do much baby-sitting for the girls. But Rosalie would call often and invite Dick & me to join them at "the River". It was such a fun time there. Family getting together and enjoying all! Most of all, I remember that sweet sound of Rosalie's laughter - I miss her precious hugs!” 

The following is from my Cousin Chris. “I’ve had eight aunts that I’ve known and two that I didn’t.  I’ve been fond of all of them (that I knew) to one degree or another — sometimes more, sometimes less, depending upon my age and circumstances.  But one always — from my earliest memory — stands out as the favorite and she is my Aunt Rosalie.  Just the act of writing that down makes me tear up. I’m sure my love for her has a lot to do with her relationship with my mom.  They always had such a good time together, with lots of laughter, that I’m sure I decided early on that she was FUN!  And that is the foremost attribute that I ascribe to her.  Now I’m sure she had more good qualities than you could shake a stick at — but when I picture Aunt Rosalie I see her laughing (and often smoking) and just being full of fun.”

“There were two things she gave me that stand out.  I was trying to determine why they made such a big impression on me and I think it was because they both took a fair amount of work and that told me she loved me.  I had visible, tangible proof that my favorite aunt cared.  When I was about 10 I got sick and was out of school and in bed for about three months.  Rosalie gave me a storybook doll for which she sewed and crocheted several outfits.  I absolutely LOVED it and spent countless hours during the illness playing with that doll.  I was so careful with her; I didn’t even mess up her hair.  I cherished my doll, kept it and saved it and when I had Melissa I wanted to share it with her.  When I deemed her old enough, I let her play with it.  I think she only got about two chances and then I just had to take it back.  She simply wasn’t being careful enough with it — that doll demanded reverence!  I don’t know that I ever even showed it to Ashley.  At any rate, I still have it, safely put away, long untouched but still cherished” 

“The other gift was a special birthday cake.  Again it was a dark-haired storybook doll. Its ‘dress’ was a decorated cake a la Gone with the Wind — full, bouffant skirt.  I don’t remember how old I was, but Mom and I both knew it was far too beautiful to cut and eat.  So we never did.  We just admired it for some time always keeping it safely wrapped in plastic for years.  I’ve wondered if it was Rosalie’s intent for the cake to be eaten.  I hope she wouldn’t be disappointed that it wasn’t, but there was no way we could have taken a knife to that gorgeous frosting dress.  Eat it?  Unthinkable!!”

May 19, 1958

“I’ve loved the times our families got together—at the ocean, for Christmas—whatever the occasion it was guaranteed to be a good time with Rosalie there.  I suppose there is some eloquent way I could describe her and how I see her—but it simply boils down to the fact that she was FUN and I would so love to have another family gathering with her there.  Now that would truly be something to cherish.”

Chris’ older sister Rita had this to say about her Aunt Rosalie. “I remember times spent with Aunt Rosalie and Uncle Mitch and my cousins, Marc and Terry, sometimes at their home but mostly at big family gatherings like the 4th of July picnics held at a park or lake, with wonderful food and enough fireworks to satisfy any kid. Family get-togethers also included some wonderful times spent during the holidays. By this time my cousins Maeve and Lisa had joined the family. There was always an abundance of food, bordering on the obscene. All the Tucker women are good cooks and Aunt Rosalie was no exception. I remember Aunt Rosalie as being the commander-in-chief at these functions; she had many wonderful qualities but organization was definitely her forte. She always seemed to know what to do, when to do it and who should do it.”

“I'm sure she started becoming interested in home decor right around the time she spent a weekend with my Mom, Stella, wallpapering the living room of the house we were living in, in Auburn. Once again, her organizational skills were put to the test and the job was finished with a minimum of problems and a maximum of laughter. I also remember they rewarded themselves with seemingly endless games of pinochle and a few "suds" during that weekend. Actually, that describes a number of their sister-fests. I always loved it when the two of them were together. Sometimes when they got to reminiscing about their childhood and the death of their father, it was sad, but more often than not their tales were hilarious. Aunt Rosalie's sense of humor and her quick wit and infectious laugh made for a great storyteller. Her zest for life was such that even the bad times couldn't keep her down for very long.”

“Other things I remember reflect more on her character as a person than specific occasions. To those who won't have the opportunity of ever knowing her, I would want them to know she was creative, intelligent, competitive, fun, enthusiastic, loving, fearless, tender, hard-working and a delight to all who knew her. She definitely left her mark on our family. She was such a treasure in my life and I miss her.”

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