Auntie A. called me Faffa because when I was little I couldn’t say my middle name, Arthur. Gary, say your name. “Gary Faffa Young”
Our family has three March babies: me, Debbie (RIP 2015), and Aunt Alice — 2nd, 4th, and 10th. We would celebrate together, and after, “How old are you now? How old are you now?” everyone would try to add our ages. She never really wanted anything for her birthday and would say, “Don’t get me anything.”
She was fun, and had a quick wit and sharp tongue, and made a concerted effort to pass those life skills and a sense of independence to her daughter, nieces, and nephews. I always thought of her as the griot of the family because she would teach us children’s songs and tell stories.
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra!
Gay your life must be
I remember sitting on the porch with her at my grandmother’s, with the family gathered, reluctantly hand churning ice cream, taking turns with my sister and cousins. It’s literally a bucket with a container inside surrounded by ice, with a handle that you had to turn for, like, an hour. It was so Amish. No work, no ice cream, she told me.
Even though it’s been decades since she had it, I loved that green Volkswagen Beetle she had. Remember those? Good times. Partial to VW Beetles.