My husband has been a cleaning fool this holiday. Along the way, he brought in a box of books for me to sort through. I don't normally get rid of books, but my husband rightly pointed out that these books had sat in the garage for years. I agreed to look through the books before they were hauled off to Goodwill.
I'm glad that I did.
I felt a kinship with my aunt by this point, and I mourned a little that I never knew her. She and I would have had a few things in common to talk about. Mary Ann would have had some tales to tell, if she had only lived. But she was no longer a forgotten face in an old photograph to me; she was real. I gathered up the dictionary and the rest of the pieces of my Aunt Mary Ann's life and brought them back to my father. It didn't seem right for me to keep them, at least not yet.