|Aunt Mabel and The Twins Bud and Sis 1941|
Today my cousin Barbara Keehn called to tell me that her mother, my aunt, died this past Sunday.
|My Mom (left) and Aunt Mabel at her surprise retirement party from Pepperridge Farms|
My Aunt Mabel was ninety years old and in failing health. She and my Mother worked together for twenty-four years at the frozen foods (layer cake) division of Pepperridge Farms. Yes, they were the Lucy and Ethel of the conveyor belt line. The stories they used to tell when management sped up the line. Just like Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory.
|My Mom and ten paternal aunts at the Tipton Family Reunion 1960|
(My Mom is second from the right in the back row and Aunt Mabel to her right with arms folded)
I had many aunts (my father had ten brothers). Aunt Mabel was one of my very favorites. When my brother and I were young and lived in the center of Downingtown, almost every Sunday our parents would take us "out in the country" to visit Ed and Mabel (we never called them "Aunt Mabel" and "Uncle Ed.") Mabel was from the South and to her dying day had that melodious, infectiously happy Southern accent.
|We started our Sunday visits early! This was about 1948 - I'm 3rd from the right|
|The Tiptons gather at Ed and Mabel's place in the county for a Sunday outing (I'm in the first row fourth from the right with arms folded - my brothers are to the right of me) - 1951|
What I remember most about Aunt Mabel was her home made southern biscuits and fried chicken. Oh my God! I've never had better since.
Ed and Mabel had five children. The two oldest were fraternal twins "Bud" and "Sis." Real names Edward, Jr. and Joan. They were twins but as different as twins could be. Bud was very dark (reflecting our grandmother Hester Lewis's Indian ancestry gene pool) and Sis was blonde.
|Me with Sis and Bud and our cousin Louise - we all graduated in 1959|
|My cousins Sis and Bud with Mabel and Ed after their graduation 1959|
I am the same age as Bud and Sis
Barbara was my brother Isaac's age. Janet was my brother John's age. And Linda, well Linda was the baby of the family. Sadly she died was too young about ten years ago.
|Me (skinny with arm on hip) with my brothers John and Isaac and cousins Bud (arm around me) and Janet|
After a Summer Sunday of hard play - 1951
However, as sometimes happens our families gradually grew apart. We would see Ed and Mabel and The Kids at the family reunions and sometimes at the family funerals.
|Me, Mickey and Aunt Mabel at Disneyworld -2000|
In 2000 I won a four day trip for two to Disney World as a recipient of the President's Award for Best Guest Service Representative of the Hampton Inn. No one was available to accompany me on the trip. My Mother had a suggestion. She said "Mabel would love to go!" I asked her and sure enough, my Aunt Mabel was up for the trip!
|Aunt Mabel getting ready to eat at the Luau|
We took a plane out of Philadelphia International Airport and landed in Orlando, Florida. We were met at the gate by our driver (the thrill!) bearing a sign with the name "Tipton". First class!
We had an absolutely wonderful time, even getting to meet Mickey himself!
Sad to say, that was the last trip Aunt Mabel made. Her health started to fail a few years after that. I am so glad I asked her to go on this jaunt to Disneyworld. She was a joy. Always a hearty laugh and never an unkind word about anyone.
|Aunt Mabel and me at the Epcot Center, Disneyworld - First Class! - 2000|
I do not know of anybody in my family who didn't like and love her. We always left smiling after visiting Aunt Mabel.
If there is any solace in her passing it is this, she is now in heaven with her longtime co-worker my Mother and I bet they're having one heck of a time on that layer cake line!