Aunt Diane Nat Flower Table.jpeg

Aunt Diane

She was the 9th and youngest child

Shared by Aunt Diane about her childhood.

 

Since I was the youngest of this wonderful family, I had a very different upbringing. I was 9 years old when Aunt Rae and Aunt Jean got married, and probably about 14 when Jesse, Morris Terry and Sarah got married (all in the same year). I was very close to my mother as a teenager, and helped her with the household chores. At the age of thirteen I was going to late session at the Lincoln annex , so I had time to do the laundry and hang it on the line before I had to get to school. I seemed to be very sensitive to how hard she was working since all the children were still at home (except for Rae and Jean).

 

There was so much cooking and cleaning , and washing the dishes was always my job since no one else would do it. During the war, Uncle Oscar was in service so I was the only one home. Of course, Aunt Terry moved back with us in Brighton because Sidney went into service. I really fell in love with cousin Larry - He was adorable .

 

Papa still had his pinochle games in the living room, and it was my job to make the Turkish coffee. I could never leave the house before making the coffee, but I surely tried.

 

I really felt like an only child since I wasn't part of the mainstream crowd . I really got to know my siblings better after I was married and had children.

Written March 9, 1999 by Aunt Diane

Diane and Nat

Being the youngest of nine children gave my mother a unique perspective.  When Nona became pregnant with my mother, she did not want another child.  She already had given birth to eight children in a span of 15 years.  Thus, she made arrangements with Esther and James Colchamiro to take the new baby since they could not have children of their own.  They lived close by in Brighton.  However, once she was born, Nona could not part with her little bundle of joy and Diane became the youngest sibling to join the Colchamiro clan.  Nona spoke fluent English by the time my mother entered the world and although they spoke Greek in the house as she was growing up, my mother never really learned the language.  She could understand it better than she could speak it.  She adored Nona.  She helped her in the kitchen and always felt that other siblings did not do enough for Nona.
My mother considered herself the luckiest person in the world.  She loved having the family over to enjoy the suburban life for a day of barbecuing, eating, swimming, and playing ball.  Whether it was Barrington Road, Colonial Heights or Lake Isle, once a year my mother would begin cooking in preparation for the family gathering.  And she was lucky, it was always a beautiful day!  It was a great time to see all the cousins and to be outside in the summer sun.  Mom was the hostess with the mostest.  
She entertained 30 to 40 aunts, uncles, and cousins and took everything in stride. 

 

 

 

 

Everyone looked forward to the day at Dinah’s house.  We would enjoy baked eggplant, baked zucchini, and myriad of other Greek and American dishes.
My mother loved her sisters and brothers.  She would prepare coffee with hot milk in the mornings for her brother Jesse and would yell “Hot Cow” when it was ready.  They had a very endearing relationship until Jesse passed.  She was perhaps closest to Oscar and Muriel, as they socialized and enjoyed life together.  However, no one compared to Aunt Rae.  Rae was like a second mother to my mother because they were about 15 years apart in age.  When my parents would travel, Rae would take care of Janice and me (one at a time).  We always looked forward to our week in Brighton Beach!  
My mother was creative and artistic and very business savvy.  She loved to shop for antiques.  She would go out for the day and return with all sorts of goodies.  Then she would talk to her friends and say, “I have just the thing to go on that shelf or to hang on that wall.”  She was proud of her antique business.
On the day of my father’s funeral, my mother said to me, “You think your father was so wonderful. I will tell you a true story.”  She said that he hated to go out to dinner with the children. After all, we were kids!  He enjoyed his day off, watching ball games and eating a good home-cooked meal.  However, one day my mother really wanted to go out for some Chinese food.  My father refused to go with the children.  My mother decided to go on her own and told my father that she would not bring anything back for him…and she left.  About 15 minutes later, Uncle Morris showed up at our house.  It was a surprise visit.  My father said to Morris, “Mo, you just missed her.  She took the kids for Chinese food.  Why don’t you meet her at the restaurant and please tell her that I changed my mind and instead of egg fu young, please bring me shrimp in lobster sauce.  So, Morris showed up and my mother was happy to see him and, of course, brought my father his shrimp and lobster sauce dish.  I always thought that was a great story.

 

Written February 3, 2021 by Ellen Warhit Collins

Left to Right starting at the top
Esther, Sarah, Jean, Morris, Philip

Elliot, Terry, Rae, Diane, Larry
Joan, Janice, Ellen, Pearl, Barry, Jean