My mom's older sister is my Aunt Mary. Mary was always in my life. She took me on trips to Texas in the summer. She let me stay with her in her various apartments in San Francisco. I remember Mary getting her degree and masters from UC Berkeley. Mary had been a journalist during WWII. I'm not clear on all the details, but I remember her telling about being "stationed" in Panama for part of the war. She also lived and worked in Texas. During that period, she was engaged to a military test pilot. Sadly, he died. Note to self - find out more!!
My summer trips to Texas with Mary were to visit my great-aunt Mazy in Houston, visit her financee's family down on the gulf, and to visit friends in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area that Mary worked with at SMU. At the time I had no curiosity about the people or places we went. I was more interested in the great open fields of Texas. The smothering humidity of Houston and the Gulf Coast, the way Mary drove REALLY fast through the gully washer deserts of the southwest. Now I wish I had asked more questions and learned more about Mary. I loved her, but I didn't really know her.
I do know that she was the only person I knew that could stand up to my Mom and Dad and get away with it. THAT was power.