Carl Henning

Aunt Susie

I always thought it was cool to have an aunt who is younger than me. Aunt Susie was four years younger.

One of my earliest memories is going to see my newborn Aunt Ruth Susan. Auntie Sis came back from Arizona to see her. I’m guessing she drove since regular people didn’t fly. Auntie Sis, Raggedy Andy, and I took the train from Newton Falls to Pittsburgh. (I was 4 so don’t make fun of Raggedy Andy.) Took a steam engine train from the now gone Newton Falls station. Why didn’t we just drive down the turnpike? There was no turnpike then. No interstate highways either.

My next memory was of a three-year old Aunt Susie. I was in second grade; Paul in kindergarten. Aunt Susie was kind of chubby and we teased her about putting on makeup. I don’t know where that came from.

One Christmas we visited. I think Ruth, Grandpa, and Aunt Susie we’re living on West La Mirada. I remember getting clip-on skates and we all played in the street. I thought how cool is, this playing outside in warm weather at Christmas.

Maybe seven years later, Uncle Harry and Aunt Vi flew Paul and me to Phoenix. We spent a lot of time in the pool, sneaking up behind Aunt Susie in the pool and throwing her. (I think she was patiently waiting for us to “sneak” up on her.)

In 1965 after graduating from high school, I spent weeks in Arizona on 14th Street. A lot of that time by myself in the pool, but also making cooler pads with Aunt Susie. Auntie Sis took us (Aunt Susie and me) on a tour of northern Arizona. Years later this trip got me into a lot of trouble. We stayed in a cabin at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Years later I insisted to Kay that we had been there together. Oops. It was Auntie Sis and Aunt Susie.

We also went to Rainbow Bridge on the still-filling Lake Powell. It was a long hike in and the facilities consisted of a coffee can catching spring water. In those days you could go under the bridge where you could see Zane Grey’s autograph chipped into the rock.

Skipping our visit in 1969, some memories from 1978: The whole family made the trip by air! The kids first airplane trip. At 14th Street, Aunt Susie arrived with Sean on her left hip and a cigarette in her right hand. She plopped Sean on the kitchen counter. She didn’t think about how the choice to smoke would impact her later.

I miss her.

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