Of all my Grandma's brothers and sisters the most memorable was Aunt Jenny partly because she was so constantly There and partly because she was such an incredibly amazing person........strong, brave, dependable, loving and giving beyond descrription. When my Great Grandparents, Louis and Sarah were aging and fading she took it upon herself to steer the family ship and even row the boat herself if necessary.
I think she was already married to Uncle Bill and had one son, Bud ,when it became necessary for her (or someone) to step into the role of Family Guardian and Benefactor. Out of the seven children she was the only one willing to make the effort and the sacrifice. In fact, she had already made another sacrifice prior to her marriage. It is no secret that there were two Kapnek brothers who courted her......one was the elder, Jimmy, who had gone off to South Africa to make his fortune and had, indeed, done just that. He was the first to make his proposal but she realized that accepting Jimmy would mean abandoning the family and relocating to South Africa. I do not know if she was tempted by the new vista or horrified by it, but the idea of leaving the family was out of the question so she turned down the chance for riches and adventure and opened the way for Bill to make his case, and so they married and Jimmy retreated back to his diamond mines and plantations or whatever. Uncle Bill was an entrepreneur who never quite hit the big time and though relatively comfortable Aunt Jen never had the experience of being filthy rich and it was probably just as well....she was much too down-to-earth to have played the other role successfully. Her true calling was as Earth Mother and Caregiver and that she did superbly, not just for the needy parents but for all the members of the family. She was the mighty oak under which everyone sought and found protection and comfort and, sadly, she received little visible thanks for it. I think the older folks, though grateful, came to take her for granted and the younger members chided her for being a martyr and were critical of her constant self-sacrifice. I started a blog some time ago about her and the situation in which she found herself and one day soon I hope to finish it and publish it. I call it "In Defense of Martyrs" and I not only defend my dear Aunt Jen, but my sainted Mamma as well. The fact is, the world needs martyrs like them if martyrs they were. My contention is that, finding themselves boxed into relatively unfulfilling situations, they made the best of things by deriving their pleasure from helping the people they loved.....that will be developed and expanded at a later date.
For now, to round off my Kapnek expose I will publish a bunch of photos.......I do not have too many but what I have will have to do. Sorry kids.
The pic on the left is Uncle Bill and oldest son, Bertram (Buddy) at that same fake beach we all know. I love this picture...Bud looks like he is about to be eaten by a lion, at the very least.
The pic on the right shows Bud and Lew all grown up, and Lew's wife, Barrie with Uncle Bill and Aunt Jen.
This next one is of the expanded family including my Grandma and Aunt Mary. Left to right back row, Uncle Bill, Bud holding daughter, Debra, Aunt Mary, Aunt Jen. Front row, Lew's wife, Barrie, my Grandma Mamie, Bud's wife, Bibbie (Betty) holding oldest son, Bobbie (Rob) and middle son, Bruce in the foreground.
Below we have the Bud and Bib Kapnek youngsters......Rob, the eldest, Bruce, and Debra the baby. To the right are Bruce and Bobby. In a lower shot Bib is holding Rob (I think) and Bud is definitely holding Rob....Bud was one of the "lucky" (?) guys to be drafted first in the 2nd World War but he was really lucky in being sent to a base in northern California for the entire duration. The photo shows him in uniform with Rob...who was still "Bobby" then.
So there you have it.....my beloved Aunt Jenny and her precious bunch. To say I love them madly would be silly...mere words are not powerful enough.
Maverick of a weird, but wonderful family. Have managed to stay alive for an astounding 86+ years kept alive by a passionate interest in many things and a sense of humor.
Have led 2 or 3 separate lives,the first 40 years as a starving artist, ceramist, and graphic designer. At age 40 a matchbook cover that said "Be A Computer Programmer" inspired me to go back to school and emerge as a binary fanatic. Loved my work, had a wonderful 20 year career as programmer and trouble shooter. At the same time I had the chance to meet, befriend and marry Jazz Cornetist Pete Daily,an idol of my youth, whom I had worshipped in my young life. Lost him to cancer after 11 wonderful (and sometimes awful) years. Retired in 1989 and had 20 years of fantastic travel adventures all over the world. Now I crochet afghans, tend my garden, my 3 cats, the neighborhood birds and squirrels, a flock of voracious hummingbirds and assorted wildlife like possums and raccoon families who come nightly to my Porch Buffet. A great life, and it ain't over yet !....(after all, I have just discovered Blogging....)