Aunt Pauline is my father's sister. I say "is" not "was" because in Christ, we have an assurance of life unending, especially those who truly live it.
What an amazing testimony in a restless world. She lived in one state, one city, had job stability, one church, one community-- where she grew up. She took care of her father, Grandpop John, in her house there on Thropp Ave, and her many Nieces and Nephews were like children to her. Every Christmas, Russian Christmas, she would send a box of Christmas gifts to the family in Alaska. We always enjoyed her visits, and she always got everyone ship-shape! She was real. She always told you how she felt in a no-nonsense way, without being mean-spirited. She was a pillar of the family, church family, and community. Whenever I hear her cheerful voice in my mind, it lifts my spirits.
I had the privilege of driving Aunt Pauline and other family members on a beautiful road trip to the ocean in Alaska in 1994.
We also always enjoyed visiting Aunt Pauline's house on trips, and Grandpop John always sent us all $10 from his proceeds at the horse races when we were growing up. Grandpop John and Aunt Pauline always enjoyed the moose on their visits to the Alaska farm of my parents. One time, on a visit to Nome Alaska where the famiy lived in the 1960's when my father was director of a private Methodist hospital there, and only physician covering a large area, Grandpop John described to my father how he watched out the window as one-inch of ice collected on the wings of the Boeing 707. My father was against the inefficiency of government medicine that can happen, and somehow made quality private medical care work in remote Alaska, although Government medical care seems to also work well in Alaska for care for Alaskan native peoples, due to the remoteness and necessity of financial support.
Aunt Pauline and Grandpop John's ties to the Russian church inspired my parents to join the church which has a long history in Alaska from when Alaska was owned by Russia. Russian fur companies came to Alaska for the sea otter furs, and while the native people of Alaska were often exploited, many of them adopted the Russian Orthodox religion and have been faithful caretakers of the Church in Alaska. One of Aunt Pauline's Nephews, my brother Ted, became a Russian priest for a while in Alaska--a grueling place to live, both mentally and physically, that, like Yukon and many parts of Canada remains a frontier to this day.
I can't remember if my father ever got Aunt Pauline into his Cessna 180, but on one occasion my brother Ted and I and our mother were flying with him near Whitehorse, Canada in the 1970's. While yelling at his passengers to keep quiet, especially his navigator, while descending through an opening in the clouds, trying to avoid the clouds, and watching guages avoiding structural failure of the "flaps," alarms started going off and things started red-lining, and we went into a diving stall that turned into a full WWII type dive with the engine racing. When we landed, Canadian customs said, "Welcome to Canada-- we heard you coming, eh?"
My mother was from Canada.
We enjoyed Aunt Pauline's visits and other members of the family to Alaska. I'll try to put some pictures up soon.