Writers create characters from many people in their past. Actors in movies, our teachers, friends, and, of course, our relatives. One relative from my past would certainly be Aunt Virginia, who everyone called, Jidge. I have a classic tale about Jidge that should leave you having an image of this woman from my childhood, and yet another goofy story about my silly life.
Aunt Jidge had wire-like grayish white hair. It stood out around her head in a type of afro, which I assume resulted from an old-lady perm gone terribly wrong. Jidge had pop-eyes which left her looking curious, in an astounded sort of way. I don’t have a specific memory of her smoking, but she must have because her voice had a sandpaper quality. She was a big woman with layers of chins and arms. I remember big brown moles on her face and some stray hairs on her chinny-chin-chin. So, yeah. Aunt Jidge was kind of a frightening looking woman to a kid, but I was used to her, so she didn’t scare me… but, I wouldn’t have crossed her without first preparing to take off at a sprint.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I tended to miss a couple of days of school here and there because of dreaded awful menstrual cramps. I would have been loathsome to discuss this when I was younger, but over the years, doctors have done things to me that have quite effectively eliminated most of my pride. Plus, we now listen to Viagra and Depends commercials during dinner… so, really, once those topics are up for conversation, what isn’t on the table to discuss?
So I’m home one school day when I was around sixteen, writhing on the couch, clutching my gut, and cursing being female, when Aunt Jidge takes a look at me and says, “I can fix that for ya.”
Since my pain was at a point I could almost no longer bear, I was completely up for whatever cure scary old Aunt Jidge had up the sleeve of her sweater.
She waddled into the kitchen, got out a glass from the cupboard and filled it half full with water. She put it in the microwave. Heated it to boiling. Then she took my Dad’s bottle of whiskey and filled the rest of the glass with its dangerous amber liquid. “Now, drink it all at once!” She hands the warm concoction to me.
She had a look in her eye, sort of a cross between demanding, knowing, and just plain devilish. I did what I was told. I’m pretty sure I was unconscious within five minutes, and there is the story of the first time I got drunk and passed out. Essentially, a crazy old aunt slipped me a hot toddy. I slept right through my cramps in an utterly relaxed state. Yea for crazy Aunt Jidge! It’s amazing what adults could do to kids back in the seventies!