kin to the Escapules means a lot of long-lived locals to the Tombstone
area, and an awful lot of past memories. It's not easy narrowing
it down to one story at a time, when there is just so much in
my mind screaming to be shared. Since I do have to begin somewhere,
my Aunt Betty is a wonderful subject to start with. However, I
cannot bring her into the picture without first mentioning my
Uncle Charlie, for if he had not taken her for his bride I could
never have claimed her as my Aunt.
Uncle Charlie was the most
handsome man a girl could ever lay eyes upon, not to mention his
kind ways, intelligence, and creative abilities. Even if his face
were hidden you could always tell if it was Uncle Charlie in a
photo by the missing section of finger on his left hand since
he was just a child. Chopped off down in Walnut Gulch by a heavy
iron wheel, there may have been hope of reattaching the severed
joint to his little hand, if not for my mom's pet crow "Snowball"
snatching up the small morsel and flying away with it.
When Charlie met the eye
pleasing Betty Foster everyone knew it was a perfect match, for
she was just as intelligent, and creative as he was, not to mention
the glow of love surrounding them and their lives when they were
together. I can barely remember a time when Aunt Betty was not
a part of my life. Always my mentor she taught me all that any
young un ought to know about growing into a fine human being.
When we weren't out here in Arizona visiting she was my pen pal,
and when we were we were nearly inseparable.
There isn't much in my adult
life that hasn't been based around what she taught me, or I just
simply learned from watching her. I was well trained on the more
important teachings in life such as how to revive a drowned fly
in a dollop of salt, or how to mix up, roll out, and fry tortillas
from a bit of flour, lard, water and salt, always measuring the
perfect teaspoonful in the palm of her hand. I learned how to
make bread too, only the dough became much whiter as time passed,
and I became more experienced than I was with that first small
black loaf I had worked so hard as a young child.
Aunt Betty could do anything
at all with very little effort, for it seemed that everything
came so easily to her. Of course it was difficult for me to understand
at a young age just why she was so multi-talented, but I sure
do realize now that her abilities all stemmed from the hard toils
she experienced as a child growing up, which was just part of
a normal life to her. She cared for her father and brothers from
such a young age, doing all needed chores from preparing meals
for the ranch hands, to helping build a cabin made of timber and
mud for them to bunk in. That very cabin is now a historical treasure
next to the San Pedro House on hwy. 90. She giggles about that
old structure now being a landmark, but I am a proud niece sending
all that visit, to view a bit of my beloved Aunt's past.
She taught me how to squeeze
an egg as hard as I could in the palm of my hand, with it never
breaking, until we pulled a trick on my cousin with an egg that
had a hairline crack, and the yolk was definitely on him! She
taught me how to sew with fine floral yard goods that were nothing
more than emptied feed sacks, how to milk goats, collect eggs,
and sketch horses with a pencil and pad.
Aunt Betty was the greatest
animal lover I have yet to meet, taking in all the homeless creatures,
be it furry, feathered, or scaled, giving them all a loving home
for life. She could hatch baby chicks from eggs, help birth any
newborn when a mama was in need of aide, and always had a cure
for any ailment if a harmed critter was gently carried to her.
She just seemed to have a special touch with everything.
Anything Aunt Betty said
was as good as gold to me, for I trusted in her with my life.
Who else could have gotten me to eat goat or cow tongue, and actually
like it?! She tended to her family, her home, her gardens, her
animals, and anyone or anything else that needed tending too,
always there to lend a helping hand. She and Uncle Charlie were
always there to care for the sick, elderly, or needy in any form
or fashion, never voicing a complaint, no matter how inconvenient
the timing may turn out to be for their own personal lives.
There's been nothing in my
life that wasn't based around something my Aunt taught me about
being a decent individual. I have failed miserably at times, but
then I stop and think "What would Aunt Betty do?"
and I try to make it right again. I strived to become a carbon
copy of my Aunt, and all she had done, be it human, animal, or
material, such as envisioning all sorts of fun innovations in
creating my homes. Equaling her creativity in building has been
quite a challenge with my attempts at accomplishing anything comparable
to her hand made stone wall that frames the aquarium made from
a five gallon bucket and a 1947 Chevy windshield, but it has taught
me that my visions always have a possibility of becoming reality.
I shall never be able to recite all the knowledge she has gained
and shared with me over the years, nor will I ever be as kind,
giving, and patient as she has been, but I am still a work in
progress, never giving up hope of reaching my goal. Although I
have been unable to see her as often as I had dreamed of doing
all those many years I lived so far from here, she is and always
will be close to my heart, whether it be in person or in my thoughts.
Thank you to my special friend .... my Aunt Betty.