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Old 07-29-2013, 04:59 AM
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Default Remembering Aunt Hazel

While living was less expensive in the 50's, youngsters seldom were given much in the way of allowance. And what little we did receive, we had to earn by doing chores. I learned early on that running errands and doing odd jobs for neighbors paid far better than any extra chores my mom would dream up for me. If I was to feed my sweet tooth as often as I wanted, I realized that I would have to find a kind and easy source of financial aid. My biggest source of income was our down stairs neighbor, Hazel Moore.

As a boy, just as in later life, I never much cared for working. I tolerated the indignities and perspiration only because I have always enjoyed what the fruits of my labor could bring me. Candy and toys, creamy whip and soda pop as a boy; food, shelter, books and such as I grew older. Hazel Moore was a wonderfully sweet woman who was generous to a fault in return for my services. It wasn’t hard for her to win my everlasting loyalty.

The Moore’s moved into the ground floor apartment of our house in the Summer when I was five-and-a-half, in 1952. A kindly woman with a grown son, Hazel Moore often invited me to visit, offering home-made cookies and muffins to tempt my taste buds, and her always present peanut better logs to whet my sweet tooth. Early on, she would send me on errands to the corner Kroger grocery to fetch back ingredients for her baking. She always allowed me to spend thirteen cents for three packages of Dubble Bubble bubble gum, as payment for my small efforts.

Hazel would send me on errands at least three times a week, just to keep me supplied in gum, I think. She was always finding that she had forgotten something on her trips to the grocery store. I grew extremely fond of our neighbor lady, who would read stories or play games with me during my visits. One year she hired me to carry the jars of jelly and apple butter she had put up down to the cellar, a chore she could have easily done herself.

Once I started school, she found jobs for me to do every afternoon, just to make sure I had a little pocket money. I’d often stop at Art’s Candy Store to buy a sack of penny candy, which I offered to share with my adopted Aunt Hazel. Since my mother was a school teacher, Aunt Hazel became my unofficial sitter whenever mom wasn’t home. The attention and affection this neighborly and kindly friend provided gave confidence and reassurance to a young boy who was shy, clumsy, and often withdrawn.

As I grew older, I spent less time at home, but tried to always find a few minutes every day to visit Aunt Hazel. These visits were more out of love for her, than for the edible treats she’d offer. When I began running errands for other neighbors, I did her chores free, as a way of repaying her loving care.

When our family sold that house and moved to the suburbs during the summer of 1959, I dreaded the move. I had grown to appreciate the only home I had ever known, and I knew I’d miss my class- mates. But as I hugged Hazel Moore, my heart ached because she would no longer be a part of my life. I think back often to the pleasant days of my youth, and those thoughts always include love.
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:52 AM
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Lovely stories John, I didn't have an Aunt Hazel but did receive meager allowances. The only thing close to your Aunt Hazel was a lady on a paper route that I had, she was very nice to me and used to give me outrageous weekly tips.

My 5 brothers and sisters were always anxious at Christmas because she used to give me decorated cut Ostrich eggs with gold frill and usually nativity scenes inside of them, wish some of them survived. My mother still remembers these eggs and used to adore them.
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:27 AM
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i was never really the same after my mom and step-father moved to philly, completely removing me from relatives, little friends, and an aunt hazel-type of my own back in cleveland. at that age... seven years old... i had already lived in five different homes across three continents, with my parents getting divorced when i was about three.

sue elliot was about my mom's age, had a boy and a girl slightly younger, and was just a super-nifty adult person to have as a friend. besides hanging around with that family at their house, i used to go down the ravine and bring back lumps of clay from the river banks, then use her oven to bake crude pottery and stuff. openness and creativity was in the air over there, even as her husband had a little bit of a hell's angel vibe. haha, who knows... maybe that just helped keep it real. back at my mom's house there was a lot more indifference and stigma attached to my childish mistakes.

so, yea... in terms of being a healthy, innocent kid i think i was able to stay afloat nicely in that scenerio thanks to sue and all. maybe one day when i'm a little braver and a little more energetic i'll try to look her up or at least try to figure out what became of her.
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