My granddaughter Genny, still sporting a pair of Aunti Fanny's shoes!
A Tribute to My Aunti Fanny
The news came yesterday. My Aunti Fanny was gone. At 94, she was still living alone in an apartment in the Bronx, taking no meds whatsoever, refinishing her furniture and coloring her own hair… “Lucy red”. She was my Daddy’s big sister, born Felicita Cerasoli, 5th in line in a family of 2 girls and 6 boys.
When we were growing up in New York, she lived with my grandparents. Unmarried, she was a commuting career woman, taking the subway into Manhattan each day to work at Bloomingdales. Grandma and Grandpa ate early, so Aunt Fanny came home each night to find dinner kept warm on the stove.
Many evenings, especially in the summertime, my sister Camille and I would go back to the office with my Dad. His office was next door to Grandma’s, so we could visit with Aunt Fanny while my Dad saw his patients. We would wait patiently for her to finish her supper, and then the fun would begin!
A veteran saleslady in Bloomies’ accessory department, my Aunt was the closest thing we had to a fashionista. Bursting with belts, scarves and shoes, her bedroom closet was dress up heaven for two little girls. And if that wasn’t fabulous enough, her petite size wardrobe almost fit us!
We’d start to pullout skirts and tops, trying everything on. Our fashion consultant would sit on the bed, making recommendations about belts and purses…. and let’s not forget the shoes! There isn’t an 8 year old girl alive who doesn’t adore prancing around in high heels. Once we had our looks together, we’d strut down the “runway” to show Grandma.
By the time Daddy came by to get us, we felt like supermodels, and Aunt Fanny had a bed piled high with clothes to put away.
To the family’s great surprise, one day she announced that she was getting married! “Uncle” Frank was a widower with grown children.
My Aunt Jean, my dad, and all my uncles threw a wonderful garden wedding for the happy couple. It was a beautiful spring day. We still have a great picture of the smiling bride surrounded by all her brothers.
Years later, after Frank died, the unsinkable Aunti Fanny married again! Joe, also a widower, loved to dance, and dance they did… happily together for many more years, until Joe passed on.
Fiercely independent, my aunt was a woman ahead of her time. Even after her marriage to Frank, she insisted on keeping her own apartment, though she lived with Frank at his house. She liked to do things herself… and resisted help, even as she grew older and was alone.
I like to think she’s in heaven accessorizing the angels. Aunti Fanny was our "fun aunt" and that's how I'll always remember her.