if i was going to write about my aunt

I had this aunt.

She wasn’t really my aunt, she was my father’s cousin’s wife.

When my sisters were young, before I was born, she would call my mom five or six times a year and say, “Let’s pool our resources and have a potluck dinner.”

So Mom would throw in her watermelon and potato salad and green beans and meat loaf and corn on the cob and baked beans and fried chicken and cornbread and apple pie.

And Aunt Jo would bring over her three kids, two floppy stalks of celery and a half-loaf of stale bread.

Mom complained about this for, oh, forty years. Told the same frickin’ story over and over again. How Aunt Jo took advantage of her. How she was such a mooch. How Mom fell for it every time.

I fell for Mom’s story. Every time.

One day, the light bulb went off.

“You know, Aunt Jo loved you,” I said.

Mom shrugged. “Yeah. I don’t know why.”

Well, I think I do. They’re both dead and there’s no way to know for sure, but I have a feeling Aunt Jo was out of food to feed her kids and was asking for help.

Mom was too dumb to take a hint.

Aunt Jo thought Mom understood what she was doing.

If I was going to write about Aunt Jo, I would start off with my mom’s point of view, but what a great twist the story would take when I showed what was really going on.


About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on June 24, 2010, in writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. What a cool story. Too bad your mom never figured it out. I really like the idea that Aunt Jo thought your mother new what was going on.

    Now if you were going to write about a kid whose mother did that and his/her embarrassment…it reminds me of a friend making sure her mom’s potluck dish at the church social was shoved to the back. Funny thing is I remember eating stuff her mom made, so she didn’t need to be ashamed.

  2. This is the very kind of story I yearn to read. Now that you’ve given us this tidbit, can you finish it in say, two to three years so I can read it?

  3. It is funny, Sue, what goes right over people’s heads. To me, it’s kind of obvious what was going on. How could Mom have missed it? And I even remember her complaining about how Aunt Jo’s kids ate so much. They were STARVING TO DEATH, for crying out loud.

    I guess that’s what makes a writer. We pay attention. Understand what’s behind the action.

    And Ann–you are a task master! LET ME BREATHE!

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