Growing up, who was your favorite aunt or uncle? Why was he/she so special to you?

There are a lot of choices to pick from with my Dad having two brothers and three sisters and my Mom having three sisters and one brother, not counting the oldest brother she never knew, who died before he turned five months old.  But the choice of favorite has to go to my Aunt Loretta, my Mom’s next oldest sister and six years her senior.  Like my Mom, Aunt Loretta was a very kind person and was always willing to sit down and have a chat.  Perhaps she is my favorite because we share the same birthday, October 8, and that somehow made her extra special.

Loretta married Joe Ryan and had five children.  Pat and Larry were much older than I was, but their two daughters, Mary and Nancy, were fairly close in age and are two of my favorite cousins.  Sadly, their first daughter, Barbara Ann, died ten days after being born.  It seems so sad, but losing a child was common back then.  Perhaps Grandpa Maurice and Grandma Clara helped her through her grieving, having been through it themselves.  Loretta outlived her husband by a dozen years before joining him in late 1984.

Being my favorite led me to name my daughter Laura after Loretta, although I don’t believe I ever told her mother that.  While searching for baby names similar to Loretta, my first choice was Lara, Superman’s Kryptonian mother’s name.  That didn’t fly, but my second choice, Laura did.  Besides being a lovely name, I figured that having a name that included two of the most difficult sounds for a child to make, L’s and R’s, would help in her speech development.  Who wouldn’t want to say their own name properly?   


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