As this new life grows inside of me, it makes me reflect on the cycles of life. As these incredible tiny people enter this world, some of the people we love leave this world. On Thursday, my aunt Marilyn Nelson passed away. While I'm not able to go home to celebrate her life and memory with family and friends, I'd like to share a few of my own thoughts and memories about my aunt.
When I was younger, my family would go up to Bemidji, Minnesota for weekend visits. Marilyn would always get up early with my brother and me while my parents slept in. We'd drive into town to the Mr. Donut and pick out some donuts and long johns to bring home. Weekends at her house would be spent swimming and fishing in the lake in the summer and cross-country skiing on the nearby trails in the winter. Marilyn also always had cool craft projects for us to do. My brother and I would sit at her kitchen table while Marilyn introduced us to the crafty world of dreamcatchers and mini-sculptures with Sculpee. We'd become obsessed with these crafts, and once we got back home, it would be our favorite pastime for the next several weeks.
Marilyn not only piqued my interest in crafting, but in music too. In 1990, Marilyn was brave enough to invite my brother and me to join her on her annual trek up to the Winnepeg Folk Festival. We joined her circle of friends and their families for camping, music, and bonding fun. Later that year, a young man she worked with gave Marilyn a mix tape of rock songs. She thought her neice might appreciate it, so she made me a copy. For a year, this was my favorite tape, and I loved rocking out to Europe's "Cherokee" and the Beastie Boys. From folk to rock, her eclectic taste always interested me.
Many of my friends might know her as my "pink aunt" for the hundreds of pink items she and her partner bestowed upon me between 1997 and 2007. Among my favorite pink items is a plastic pink colander, a pink kitchen stool, and a 1950's era "bust exerciser". I probably received more than 300 items over that 10 year period- all because I said my favorite color was pink in 1997!