My Uncle called her Sissy, but her given name was Charlotte.  She was not called Sissy as she was the little sister, she was, but that was not why.  The story goes that they rowed by boat to a small island and she needed to use the restroom.  Since they were out in nature, she was not near the facilities.  She climbed up into some brush to do her business and then when she finished she realized that she forgot the TP.  My uncle heaved the roll in the direction of her voice and when it hit near her she thought it was an animal and screamed and screamed.  They tell that she came running out of the bushes with her pants around her ankles and tugging at her panties.  She was mocked for being a sissy and it stuck. 

Aunt Sissy was a bit on the loopy side.  She was always complaining about some conspiracy against her.  She thought that the Germans were tapping her phone for her secrets.  This was many, many years after the 2nd World War in which she served.  She was a WAC, Women’s Army Corp, that is.  I cannot fathom that her hospital duty would necessarily make her someone that they would target for her secrets, but she fervently believed it. 

Her neighbors called the police on her often, they built fences tall enough that she couldn’t look over them, and they generally tried to stay out of her way.  She was known to go to jail and have the cops called on her several times by her neighbors.  Her neighbors were all lovely people, but she thought they were conspiring against her. 

Once, when I was little and my Mom took us to see the night court in Baltimore City (while my sister was learning about government in school), we watched Aunt Sis being dragged in handcuffed and cursing the officer.  She had attached her neighbor they said with a knife.  My mother was horrified and asked us to leave quietly so she didn’t see us.  My mom didn’t want to be responsible for her.  She also didn’t want her fellow police officers to know she was related to her. 

Another time, they called the police on her and I might add that she was in her 70’s at the time.  The police officer ended up wrenching her arm behind her back and hurting her badly.  My father and uncle were livid that a policeman would treat a lady senior that way and were going to file a complaint against the officer.  I asked my dad before he did that to check with his friend, Officer Yankowski, to see why he did that to her.  When Yank reported back to my dad why the officer manhandled her dad changed his mind.  Apparently, Aunt Sis, when he tried to restrain her kicked the officer in the “hoodles”.  She was strong as an ox so I am sure she kicked with all her might!

Family events with Aunt Sissy were eventful.  She would always get wound up and perform at family events.  I recall when my Grandma passed that the priest who was performing the funeral asked us about her to learn more.  Aunt Sis told him about Grandma taking in the sailors to her home while their ships were being repaired, that she sewed their uniforms for them, and on and on…I was so proud of my Grandma.  I made a comment to my dad later that Grandma was a really remarkable lady and I had no idea she did all of that.  My dad told me it never happened.  None of it.  Nada. Zip. Zilch!  Aunt Sis made it all up.  I remember getting the giggles during the funeral as I thought it was funny that a priest was in the church lying! 

At my Dad’s viewing she kept telling us that the German’s killed him.  That it was a conspiracy.  When we went to lunch we bought her a beer or two or so.  She spent the rest of the viewing time passed out snoring in a chair.  We woke her when it was all over so we could get her home. 

Aunt Sis passed away in May of 2001 at 80 years of age from Breast Cancer.  She was embarrassing at times, she was flat out crazy others, but deep inside when you got her quiet and talked to her one on one she was a great lady.  She certainly made family gathering a lot more interesting.  Every family has that one member and she is ours.  There will never be another, thank goodness!

Did you have a family character?

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