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Happy Birthday, Great Aunt Dot.

March 1, 2010

On this day, 110 years ago, my Great Aunt Dot was born. Great in that she was indeed my Great Aunt (my mother’s aunt). Great in that she was a great and awesome woman. Great in that that was how my father always referred to her, rolling the R like we were Tony the Tiger.

Aunt Dot and I in a good hug circa 1985

Aunt Dot was a teacher of science for over 40 years. She graduated from Mount Holyoke in the 20’s and later received an honorary doctorate there for her work in teaching. She taught chemistry at the school I went to as a child when my mother was there as a child–the only chemistry we did together was baking. She made special time for me and my siblings after school, and always made us feel so loved. She taught us about a proper cup of tea, how to make the best molasses cookies on the planet, and that needle point is a great way to calm a crazy monkey child like myself. Aunt Dot was the wisest of women, and her words still get me through tough moments. I like to think that my ending up in a science had something to do with her, that somehow I inherited some of her science bones.

My birthday–in two weeks–falls near St Patrick’s day. One year all I wanted was to bring in a green birthday cake to school. (Why St Patrick’s Day was so important to me that year I’ll never know–I am neither Catholic or Irish.) So all afternoon the day before, she and I worked in the kitchen to bake a great green cake. I remember feeling so important and so grand with that cake. I think tonight I will bake for her.

I miss her terribly.

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