My glamorous Aunt Anita

I’m often asked what it’s like to be a writer — how I spend my days, how I experience the world. And so I will be sharing occasional essays from the front lines of my writing life. Enjoy!

Anita in bridal veil before mirror, from My Glamorous Aunt Anita, by Beth Mende ConnyMy wonderful and very glamorous Aunt Anita passed away on Thanksgiving day. She was in her early 80s. I couldn’t make it out to Las Vegas to say goodbye, but I wrote this letter to her, which my sister read at the funeral.

Hi, there, Aunt Anita–

I wish I could be with you today. But maybe it is a good thing I am so many miles away. If I were with you, I might be tempted to say goodbye, and I never want to do that. That’s because one of the things I love about you is the way you say hello.

When you see me, you always smile widely and say: ” Hello, darling. How’s my beautiful niece?” You’ve been saying that since I was a little girl. Even now, as I’m approaching 60, I love hearing it because you say  it with such warmth and affection. It’s  hard to NOT feel beautiful, or at the very least special.  So, for that, I thank you.

Anita in dress and pearls, cradling cat, from My Glamorous Aunt Anita, by Beth Mende ConnyThere are other things I’d like to thank you for: my first purse–a  hot pink suede shoulder bag that made me feel so grownup. Seeing firsthand that women can be glamorous their entire lives–and to me, you, with your long hair, have always been  movie-star glamorous. And, of course, I’ve got to thank you for introducing me to Mrs. Dash–You’re right. You can sprinkle Mrs. Dash on everything!

Most especially, I’d like to thank you for modeling for me what a marriage is. I’ve been married 30 years now. Chump change compared to you and Uncle Kenneth, I know.  I’m in awe of the two of you: how you still smile at each other, hold hands, say I love you. That you have renewed your wedding vows. Is that romantic or what?

Well, I guess that’s it for now. Your  “darling,” “beautiful” niece sends hugs and kisses and wants you to know she is thinking of you and misses you terribly.

Anita in silk strapless smoking cigar, from My Glamorous Aunt Anita, by Beth Mende Conny


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