Geoff and I, along with our intrepid Dachsies With Moxie Ginger Chip and Thai, just returned from a weekend dash to South Carolina to say goodbye to my godmother, Regina McKenna. Aunt Regina is my mom's identical twin, and has always been a part of my life. Growing up, there were few weekends when we did not see her. Even though I was the only one of the eight who was her godchild, she NEVER played favorites- she loved and spoiled all of us, and was always there when we needed help. She took us to McDonald's for the first time, and sat outside in the broiling sun as the kids ate their hamburgers (or cheeseburgers) fries and sodas. If she took us to IHOP, the pancakes came with a chocolate shake!!!! Christmas was especially magical- her gifts were usually wrapped by the store, and came with the expensive doodads for decoration- I still have my angel from third grade and it still is the first ornament on my tree. When it came to knitting or clothing, she was right there- She made knitting look so simple- the Aran sweaters and afghans that she knit, literally overnight, put those of us from the Baby Boomer generation and those following to shame- We cannot knit, period. My favorite was a red vest with a white diamond in which a bicycle was knit- I wore that in sixth grade. She made my First Communion dress, which I still have, made our costumes for school, and was my sponsor at my Confirmation. When the girls turned 16, we were taken to the Clinique counter for our first makeup lessons, and makeup. HER nieces were not going to wear Cover Girl or Maybelline which would ruin our Irish-Scandinavian complexions. (Aunt Regina is 100% Irish). No holiday was complete without her famous Jello molds- her cranberry frosted squares are made every year to this day by our generation, and Geoff loves it. No First Communion or Confirmation was complete without her presence at the Church or the celebrations afterwards.
She and Mom raised the youngest two of their siblings after their mother died of lung cancer just before their 21st birthday in 1949. (Their father never gave them a dime but ran off with his girlfriend, who he later marreid- completely abandoning his seven children from his first marriage) No college degrees for them- they went ot work as secretaries and paid the tuition at the boarding schools for Aunt Clare and Uncle Eddie. No complaints either, after all these years- They did what needed to be done, and no whining. Not what would happen today!!
She spent decades at Grumman Aerospace, and put herself through school at night, first earning her AA at SUNY Farmingville in the late 1970s, her BA from SUNY Stony Brook in the early 1980s, and her MBA around 1985.
Aunt Regina moved to South Carolina a year or so after my parents did, and was active in her parish, ST. Michael's.
She attended our wedding in 2003, and gave me away. She and Geoff get along like wildfire and he adores her, and vice versa.
The world will be a lot colder without her, as it is without Dad and Jennifer Amber.
Please keep her in your prayers during this, her final battle.