Alphabet Challenge: A

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2021

The challenge is to blog the whole alphabet in April and write at least 100 words on a topic that corresponds to the letter of the day. 

Every day, excluding Sundays, I’m blogging about Places I Have Been. The last post will be on Friday, April 30 when I finally focus on the letter Z. 

AAunt Anna’s Apartments

Aunt Anna lived in an apartment above a florist shop in Linden, New Jersey. She didn’t drive but she could walk along Wood Street where Mom and Pop stores lined the road. Once, inside a large Polish deli where ropes of sausage hung on hooks from the ceiling, Aunt Anna insisted on buying smoked garlic Kielbasa for me to bring home to my Polish mother. 

When she moved to Carteret, she lost the vibrant neighborhood. But she also lost the long staircase she had to climb up to the second floor, the traffic noise from the street and isolation from her neighbors.

What she gained was a sun-lit, ground level one-bedroom apartment, closer to her grandchildren and great grandchildren, a quiet neighborhood with a front porch she shared with a woman who lived next door—a new friend. 

Aunt Anna, my Italian father’s sister, was the second youngest and now the only sibling still alive among her five brothers and five sisters. When I last visited, she was in her late 80’s, twenty years older than I. We laughed together as if contemporaries. Opening the bottle of Chianti I had brought, we played Mob Hits CD’s and shared a bag of potato chips. My husband never could understand how I craved potato chips with fine wine. “It’s in the genes,” I would tell him. 

Aunt Anna and I sipped our wine, sitting side by side on the sofa, listening to the Italian songs from my childhood. As the music played, nostalgia filled us with sadness for family members who had long since died. 

Living in North Carolina, I planned another trip to New Jersey in a couple of years. I never made that trip. Aunt Anna died suddenly. 

What would I have done differently knowing on that last visit I would never see her again? Wine and potato chips, Italian music and reliving memories—not a thing. 

I miss her. 

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