I know I have missed the deadline for the Carnival of Genealogy but I still want to post this about my aunt Juanita!
Juanita Eudora Delcinia Forbes was born on November 16, 1922. She was born in a little place called Potter’s Point, Texas. It was just a little community by Caddo Lake where all those who were working on the oil pipeline were living. It no longer exists today.
Aunt Juanita lived a good life but, as you can tell by her birthdate, she was born and raised in a very trying time for our nation. She was born during what would become Prohibition and became a teenager during the Great Depression. I never really discussed this much with her and I really wish I had. Perhaps it was something to do with the time she was born and perhaps it was just something bred inside of her but Aunt Juanita was always a very independent woman. You would definitely say she stood out among the family. However, everyone respected her and a lot of us, myself included, admired her!
Aunt Juanita was forced into some situations that were not of her own choosing. She was married in 1939 and was about 4 months pregnant when her mother died in February of 1940. Being the oldest of 8 children, she took on the responsibility of looking out for her younger siblings, one of which was only 6 months old at the time of her mother’s death. Still, Aunt Juanita stuck to what she believed and did the best she could with what she had.
It is strange when I sit back and think about it. Aunt Juanita was married and raising her child as well as her littlest sister and looking out for her other siblings. All this time there was drinking and gambling and all kinds of other things going on around her. My Uncle Bill ran a still right by where they were. Amazingly, my Aunt Juanita was able to overcome all of this and establish that if you were going to visit her house, you were to respect her rules! No smoking, no drinking, no cussing and no gambling! She was a very devout and some might say “hardcore” Baptist. Everyone respected her wishes though and I believe everyone looked forward to going to see her as much as anyone else because you knew she was the “real deal”!
I remember when I was younger and we would go visit Grandpa that I always loved Aunt Juanita’s cooking. She would go out to the garden and pick fresh vegetables and make some of the best meals. The one and only time I ever ate Polk Salad was when I was visiting Aunt Juanita! Even the last time I visited her she was wanting to try to get us something nice to eat but I wouldn’t have it. She was so sick at the time!
She spent the last 21 years of her life living by herself. She didn’t want it any other way. The man she had loved all her life had gone before her and she didn’t want to share that love with anyone else! She took care of the house, mowed the yard, did everything that most folks would do, well up into her 80s. She didn’t complain. She always was thankful for what she had! Oh if I could be just half of what she was!
On Tuesday of this week I got a call at 7:30 in the morning. It was my Aunt Winnie, the youngest of the siblings and the one who Aunt Juanita had raised as her own. She was calling me to tell me that my Aunt Juanita had gone home to be with the Lord! At first, all I could do was cry! I thought of all I wish I would have asked her about and how much I was going to miss just listening to her talk about the old days. I thought of all the fun times we had had visiting with her and how much it was going to tear my children apart to know that their great-aunt Juanita was gone. Then I thought about how she was no longer suffering and that she had lived a full and happy life. It was then I was able to smile and be thankful that I was blessed enough to at least know her!
It won’t be the same without her! I really don’t know what will become of the old homeplace. It was so unusual to drive so far to go to a place that probably had a population of about 100 or so. Yet, we looked forward to visiting as often as we could. It was just something about Aunt Juanita that made you look forward to seeing her. Life will go on and people will still go about business as usual but there will always be a little blank spot in my heart!
I will miss you Aunt Juanita! I feel I know where you are at tonight and if you can hear me, I want to say one last time that “I Love You”! I will miss sharing those special moments together and all the wisdom that you imparted to me over the last few years. Thank you so much for being willing to share your life with not only me, but with my children also. I never knew they were as close to you as they are until today! Know that Joseph would have hopped a plane and been her today to see you but I had to tell him no. Julia just cried and cried. Jessica is being strong but you can tell it’s tearing her up inside. You made a great impression on many people, more than even you yourself could realize.
I look forward to when we can meet again!