Some people just sail through life with style

Annie Dear
The Independent Aussie
Annie Dear

When I was growing up – an event that I sometimes wonder if it was really ever achieved – I had an “aunt." You know what I’m talking about – the “air quotes” aunt (or uncle) I think everyone had.

Rosa was larger than life, a real Auntie Mame in the flesh. She taught me that one’s eyes and lips had to stand out, so to speak, and thus my makeup lessons started. She taught me how to drink hair-on-the-chest coffee. She helped to encourage my love of theater. She had ice blue eyes, I remember, and the whitest whites you’ve ever seen. When Dad was in radio, she was his copy writer, and was known to insert a page half-way through his show which read “got bored, go to the races. Ad lib.” I positively adored her.

I had two real aunts with whom I had any dealings. Dad’s sister, Auntie Myrtle, I remember meeting when I was very young, and even now I have a photo of Dad’s family when he was but an infant back in 1913, and there was Auntie Myrtle at I would guess around 6 or so, and I was, at the same age, the dead spitting image of her.

Mum’s sister, AJ, was a wonderful woman. She introduced me to the joy of the duvet, and I think of her every time I change my bedding from summer to winter as I did this weekend. “It’s like being covered by warm shaving cream” – and she was so right.

And, as you know, I now have another fabulous aunt in my repertoire, even if she is, I guess, and aunt-in-law.

 Boston Lil has to be one of the most remarkable women I know. Now 93, she and her girlfriend took off from Boston at the tender age of 19 across country to vacation in California. They loved it so much the next year they moved there.

She was a stenographer back in Boston, and took her skills out to LA, where her boss called an all-staff meeting – even down to the tea lady – and it was there she saw her first "court reporter." A gal sat off to the side, typing methodically on a small machine, and when Lil asked what she was doing during a break, the gal told her she was taking down every word of the meeting.

Obviously not one to shirk from a challenge, Lil took herself off to night school to learn this new technology, and thence became a real court reporter. She worked on the Manson trial, had dealings with the O.J. case, and I think the Rodney King one too. Her biggest one was the Patty Hearst case, and it saddens me to be told the judge had all documents sealed forever, so I can’t even divulge to you, faithful reader, any of the juicier details.

Again, keeping up with technology, Lil has taken to an iPad as a desert-dry man drags himself to the oasis. She’s off like a rocket devouring Netflix and Prime offerings, often till the wee small hours of the morning. She’s got more stamina than me, let me tell you.

We’d recommended a series to her, and she admitted, halfway through season 2, having not gotten much sleep the night before, she fell asleep on her sofa midway through the day.

 “Where did you get up to?" Sir asked. Well – she then quite accurately described an episode halfway through season 5. Sir added it up. She’d somehow devoured and or skipped through 72 episodes in one afternoon.

Boston Lil, begone. We hereby anoint you Lil Van Winkle, and we love you to death.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at