After Norma Jean found her address and phone number and sent them to me, I decided to call her. It was strange in the beginning, when a small voice said, "Hello?" I identified myself as Jan, you know, your sister's oldest daughter? "Who?" Once she finally realized who I was and I told her I wanted to send her a card to mark her birthday next week, she said disconsolately, "Oh. Yeah. I know. Ninety." She doesn't sound happy about it, but I suspect I wouldn't be either. I said that the store where I found a card also has booklets with the happenings of different years, starting with 1930. I asked her if she has some special year after 1930 that would mean something to her (thinking maybe their wedding anniversary).
"Oh, well... there's the year I had my back surgery. I was 31. You do the math."
"Well, you were born in 1921 and adding 31 years would make it 1952, right?"
"If you say so." She said this with a giggle.
"Okay. I'll find 1952 and send it to you."
"That would be nice. I don't have your address!"
"I'll send it with the card, Aunt Quetita. It's been great talking with you. Bye now."
"Bye."We said a bit more about health concerns, but mostly it's the whole turning ninety that amazes me. Since neither of my parents made it out of their sixties, I do hope I inherited Aunt Quetita's genetic makeup, but there's no way to know. I think if my mother hadn't gotten breast cancer and then been treated with massive doses of cobalt, scarring her heart muscle, she might be alive today. Sometimes you can survive the disease but die from the treatment. But I still have one first-order relative alive who is of my parent's generation: my wonderful Aunt Quetita. I'll celebrate this most excellent milestone with real happiness!