Aunt Delma’s birthday was last week. As usual I am remembering late. I am cut/paste the blog from five years ago. In this cancel culture time, I dare say there are a lot of bigots who have pegged Aunt Delma with a stereotype based on this picture along. If someone wants diversity, look here. One thing she was not – a victim.

delma full

I’ve known Aunt Delma longer than any other blood relative; she has known me all my life.  She was only three years older than I, so she probably doesn’t remember those years when I was the baby.  I wonder when she first held me.

I don’t remember much about Delma until the teen years came about and as all kids do I watched her to know how to handle those years.  She was the first of our family to go to high school; I was second.  She was the first to go to college; I was the second.  She was first to move away from home; I was second.  Her move took her north to the Denver area; my move took me south to the Oklahoma City area.  She married an Indian; I married an Englishman.  Rather unusual choices in those days.  I guess it showed a bit of adventure in both of us.

Delma moved back to the to the country; I stayed in the city.  She taught in a county school and in a town of about 2500 people; I taught in an urban area.  The students she taught became fixtures in her life; the ones I taught were passed on to other teachers.  I soon lost contact with them; they lost contact with me.   I think her influence was of more value.

She had neighbors she knew.  She worked her yard and grew a garden.  She canned vegetables, and burned tumble weeds.  She quilted and crocheted.  She knew the neighbors next door, next block, and across the town a piece.   But that’s not all. She developed a friendship with an artist in New York City who made several visits to Delma’s house and took some of Delma’s artistic handwork and put it on exhibit in NYC.  Me?  I made bulletin board backgrounds in the school halls!

She is expert at remembering birthdays.  Every year I receive a card with a variety of family and church tid-bits.  Kinda like using google for trivia notes.  I didn’t get my card this year because she was in the hospital.  I have a hard time with birthdays.  Fortunately I had three grandchildren born on the 5th of the month which was my wedding anniversary date.  So I just have to remember months to fit the days.  The only birthday I consistently remember is Jesus’ on December 25.  And now I’m told that is not really his birthday!  I do know mine but have to be reminded by FB or the day goes without remembrance.  To prove my point – I’m posting this birthday remembrance to her on March 4th.  Her birthday was yesterday – I think.

Has she suffered grief?  Must have.  She has lost mom, dad, husband, son, six brothers and one sister.  But the only tears I see are those shed in love for Jesus, when she gets the “jitters” in church.  She is not a complainer nor a whiner.

Sickness and pain?  Two or three rounds (or more) with cancer and chemo treatments.  Failing sight in both eyes, but she always reports about any treatment that seemed to help.  As I said before, “No complaining, no whining.”

My aunt Delma is 85 years old as of yesterday.  She is a lady who has never worn short sleeves, never put on nail polish, never worn make-up, never seen a movie, never owned a television, never worn jeans, never cut her hair, never had a perm, never worn a ring.  What do you think?  Religious fanatic?  Cram religion down your throat?  Judgmental?  Prejudiced?  Holier than thou? I’ll guarantee none of those fit.

Then what label would I put on her? Old time Christian.  Full of love, integrity, good will, knowledge, wisdom.  Did she put too much value on modesty of dress and demeanor?  I’ll just say she has been a wonderful and loved member of our family for these 85 five years.  She has been the picture of one who followed Col. 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”  Those are her noteworthy garments.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Delma.  From me, of course.  Who else would be late?

(The picture was Delma, freshman in 1946.  A rare picture because I have never seen another in which she had her hair down. After all the chemo, she was bald. Her hair never did grow back thick and long. I think she has a little bit of a braid in the picture above. All that fluffy hair behind her is the hair of the woman sitting behind her.)

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. Frank Hubeny says:

    Happy birthday to your aunt! Wonderful description of her: “Old time Christian. Full of love, integrity, good will, knowledge, wisdom. “

    • oneta hayes says:

      Frank, this is the relative who was my source of family stories and confirmation of stories I heard from others. She passed about a year ago. I mentioned her to you when you commented about my great Aunt Mary who sold the sow and bought song books to take from mid-Oklahoma to Colorado. Delma could probably have told me who helped on that trip.

  2. shoreacres says:

    A wonderful description of a woman who clearly deserves her accolades. She reminds me of the older women I learned to know in rural Texas — the ones who don’t make the front pages of the paper, but who make adults out of children.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Linda, love the remark about women who “make adults out of children.” So true. In our present time, I feel sorry for a single parent who cannot even “make adult out of her own child” for fear of the other bio-parent. Blended families also have this kind of trouble. Who really raises a child who is shared in two different homes?

  3. What a beautiful tribute to an exceptional lady! Thanks. This made me smile.

  4. floridaborne says:

    When I saw the picture of your aunt as a young woman, I immediately recognized the style as the 1940’s. Any woman who married an Indian (either Native American or from India) was indeed brave in those days and, from what you wrote, your aunt is a strong woman in many ways.

    My sister is almost 3 years older than me. It seemed a huge age difference until we reached 30, so I can see why you looked up to Delma. I know that it is quite possible to have a niece of nephew the same age. My children have 2 half-sisters and a half-brother from their dad’s first marriage. They, too, were aunts and uncles at a very young age. They have a nephew they’ve never seen who lives in California, who is about the same age as my daughter.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Her husband was Native American. She kept a lot of tribal memorabilia in one of her bedrooms. Her brother is the only still living sibling. He is three years younger than I so he can’t really be my source of the older times. However, I bet he could refill my memory bank! 😀

  5. Yep— happy birthday Aunt Delma!!!!!

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