In memory of my aunt Minnie

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I received the sad news of my aunt’s Minnie’s passing on the weekend from my mother. She was going to be 64 this year; still way to young considering our family history[1].

My grandparents gave this world 9 incredible people:

  1. Ella
  2. Genie
  3. Minerva (Minnie)
  4. Nieves
  5. Tina
  6. Charry
  7. Nito
  8. Zenaida
  9. Joy

My aunt Minnie will always be remembered as a selfless individual; she gave more than she received. And the single most precious thing she gave me was her time – and as a kid, that counts for everything.

I have 2 short stories to tell…

Minnie memory #1: Trouble at the car yard and that lovely laugh

My aunt was always around for as long as I can remember. At around the age of 3 – 4 years, she used to chase me around the car yard which was a BIG challenge given that this was part of a HUGE family compound[2].  It was relatively easy for an ankle biter like me to hide there for hours on end, which I did on a daily basis.

My dear aunt would exhaust herself, calling out my name while I hid in the smallest available space that would accommodate my size. Never would I once answer as it was always part of the game to hide and hold out for as long as I could. These hide and seek games would form part of my most precious memories as a child.

But this didn’t deter my aunt; she used to hunt me down like mother would with her young until the game end. And when she did catch you, it would usually conclude with the most torrid amount of laughter you would ever likely encounter for she was been blessed with the jolliest whole hearted laugh around[3].  Oh, what a delightful laugh it was! I will remember and miss that laugh dearly.

Minnie memory #2: The movie and the lesson of giving

We loved watching movies together and she would take me to the cinema across the road to watch all the kid’s movies that were big during the time.  A simple trip to the movies with popcorn, drink and a choice Disney flick in tow was truly something special for a little kid.

But nothing could top my time with her watching my Japanese favourite: King Kong vs Godzilla. The story went like this: there were 2 movies that were coming out in quick succession – King Kong vs Godzilla and Godzilla vs Gigan[4].

My aunt gave me a choice:

“You can watch 1 and only 1 movie as movies cost money.”

Now this was a very hard choice to make as a kid, understandably so given young boys attraction to monster movies, but I eventually chose King Kong vs Godzilla only because it was screened first. Needless to say, I loved the movie to bits but when it eventually came around to the Godzilla vs Gigan movie, I badgered and harassed her to take me to that movie too. But it wasn’t to be as my aunt was serious with her word. In fact she had to go without herself, spending the weekend home bound from having spent her own money to take me to the movies.

And she would repeat the same pattern of giving everything she had with all my other cousins and her own children, as if it was impossible to consider putting her own wants and need first.

Goodbye my dearest aunt Minnie

I will always hold you close to my heart and we all wish that you are in a better place now[5]:

Minnie C

You gave us the value of time and you taught us how to give. I will never forget that.


[1] Our strong genes have led to an expected average between 85-90 years (my own humble reckoning). I still have a few great aunts around the mid 90’s and I remember my great grandfather handing out the afternoon treats when I was an ankle biter – he was 98. My grandmother will be hitting 90 this year – a birthday that is hard to forget given we share the same birthday.

[2] The car yard features here in ‘The Sun Shower Kids‘.

[3] One that would start from her heart, and work its way to her belly where it would stay for a funny second or two, until it would eventually bounce out for the world to hear.

[4] They had a habit of showing re-runs of re-runs (old movies being re-released on the big screen). An absolute must for young boys. My aunt new I loved it, and she always gave me everything she could possibly give.

[5] This is an approximation of our ordered age. So where you see “Me”, I am in between my cousin Antoinette and Lizette in terms of age. My sister and I have a 10 year gap difference which shows you the relative gap in age between me and my cousin Rio (Maria Rosario).

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