day nineteen: aunt sharon

Welcome!  If you’re wondering what all the 31 hubbub is about.  Read this.


31 days wide


aunt sharon and me

Her full name is Sharon Marie Van Gordon.  A few people still call her “ReeRee” (a name my Aunt Joy gave her because she couldn’t pronounce Marie).  Aunt Sharon is my dad’s sister.  Well one of his sisters.  He has four.  In the words of Jen Hatmaker–bless him.

My early memories of Aunt Sharon are spending holidays at her house and having a lot of fun playing with my cousins.  Her house was out in the country and there was always something to do.  Just like most memories from when you are younger, mine are very random.

I remember:

Her Huge collection of tins (like the kind that saltines or popcorn used to come in).  She had all kinds and I would just look at them and always see something new.

Her huge bathroom.  I remember thinking that I’d never seen such a large bathroom.

Her bulldog:  Francis Jackelford Sugarloaf the 3rd.  I cannot believe I remembered his name!  They called him Jack 🙂

Watching Saturday morning cartoons with her.

Playing Lots of games of Pictionary at her house.

Her making frog leg soup.

Her blue willow china…which she eventually gave me.  Love.

Spending the night with my cousins and we would all pile on the floor with a ton of blankets and pillows.

Going boating in the summertime.

I remember watching some of my favorite movies for the first time at her house–Aladdin and Field of Dreams and Doctor Zhivago.  I also remember watching Goonies and being scared to death.

Now Aunt Sharon lives in a different house and we gather there with our kids and they love it.  Ben caught his first fish there and is always asking to go back.

She reminds me of my grandma–and that’s a good thing.  Her wit, her smile, her hugs, her strength and fighting spirit.  I love her so much!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

We were at a family reunion recently and I asked her if I could interview her.  Her response.  “Do I have to tell the truth?”  I said, “Only if you want to.”

Here is a little of what she had to say.

Where did you grow up?  “I lived at 200S 75W until I was thirteen and then we moved to 200S and Wilman Road”  That would be in Blackford County for those of you who are entering that into your gps.

Where did you go to school?  “Licking Grade School and then Hartford City High School”  When did it become Blackford?  “The year after I graduated.”  oh you just missed it!

Did you like school?  “Yes up until high school I did.  I remember Mr. Justin my 5th grade English teacher taking all of the girls to play softball.  I loved that.  And once all of the kids voted with pennies for the Valentine’s Queen and I won.”  You voted with pennies?  “Yes they would pass a can around the bus and you’d drop a penny in for the person you wanted to vote for.”

Have you ever taken a personality test?  “Yes an animal one once when I started working at GM.  I was a thoroughbred and Richard was a turtle.”  That is hilarious.  And so spot on.  She also has two older sisters and then three younger brothers and one younger sister.  Birth order experts, I’ll let you at that one.

Tell me something interesting about the last movie you watched.  “I can’t really remember the name of it.  Richard would know.  But I can tell you my favorite.”  Ok.  “Les Mis”  Which version?  “I really like the most recent one.”  It is a great movie.  What part do you love?  “When he steals the candlesticks and he gets caught and the Father tells him he forgot to take the best pieces.”  Such a picture of love and grace.

When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?  “I wanted to fly a plane.  When I was 14 our neighbor took me up for my first plane ride.”  Have you ever flown one yourself?  “No.”  But you have jumped out of one!  “Yes I have.”  Seriously people.  At the age of 65, she went skydiving.  She’s my hero.

What has been your favorite vacation?  “I took one alone in 1998 to Voyageurs National Park and then I went down to Yankton to the 151st Sioux powwow and then to Sitting Bull to see Sacagawea’s tombstone and I saw Mount Rushmore and I went through the Badlands.”  Sounds like an amazing trip!  How long were you gone?  “2 weeks”

What vacation exceeded your expectations?  “Well Nancy and I once went to Montana.  We would vacation a lot and would take turns picking spots.  She likes the beach and I like the woods.  So she wasn’t too excited about Montana until I told her there were no speed limits.”  haha!  Yes, I’m sure Aunt Nancy loved that!  “Oh yes.  And then we took a road that was called ‘Going to the Sun’.  It was only a one way road and it led up to a waterfall.  We had our swimsuits on under our clothes and we got in and were screaming because it was so cold.  And then we kept going on up to the continental divide and had a snowball fight.”  I did not know about this road.  I’m putting it on my list of places that I want to see!  How did you get back down if it was one way?  “There was a type of ferry thing that would bring you back down.”  Sounds like so much fun.

What is a hobby of yours?  “gardening.  And I like playing games on my tablet.  I love the game Bookworm.”  That sounds like your kind of game.

So what book are you reading right now?  “nothing”  What?!  (this coming from my aunt that has journals keeping track of the books she’s read.)  “Well I am reading the gospel of Mark in the Bible.”  Ok then 🙂  Do you have a favorite book?  War and Peace is the best book I’ve ever read.  And I really liked Pillars of the Earth.  They even made a tv series out of that one.”

What is your favorite song right now?  “Amazing Grace”  (My dad walks by and says, “It is not!”)  “Well I don’t really like that other song anymore because it isn’t really the way the world is.”  (Dad says, “no but it is the way it will be where you end up.”)  “Oh that is true…Ok I like that song, too.  What a Wonderful World.”  …..aren’t you glad I could be here for this interview?  🙂

So I don’t know what version of Amazing Grace she loves—but I like this video because it comes with a little history lesson.  And I know Aunt Sharon (and my dad!) love history.  And What a Wonderful World…it doesn’t need any introduction, now does it?

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?  “I can’t think of anything that I’m afraid of.  I used to want to live alone in the woods, but I wouldn’t want to do that anymore.”

What would people find surprising about you?  “If I told you, you wouldn’t be surprised anymore.”  True true–that was an answer like I would give 😉  “Well I can’t really spell worth two cents.”  Well that is surprising with all of the reading that you do!

What has been your most life changing moment?  “At the end of June 2009, having the doctor tell me I wouldn’t last 6 months because of cancer.”  I’m so thankful he was wrong!  “Yes I am a miracle.  In fact, my one doctor still looks at my charts and can’t believe it.  And I have two little spots on my brain.  The one is just tissue and the other the doctor says is just hanging out minding its own business.”  I am so so thankful.  Love her.

aunt sharon

Finish this sentence.  Before I die, I want to “well I’ve already gone skydiving.  If the government ever gets straightened out, I’d love to go to D.C.  I’d like to see the Smithsonian, the Holocaust Museum, the Vietnam Memorial….”  I bet you’ll get there, Aunt Sharon.  In fact, I’d love to go with you.


I almost didn’t go the reunion because I really wasn’t feeling well.  I’m so glad I did so that I could sit with my Aunt and talk to her.  I love all of my aunts and uncles so much.  Family is so important.  Go call someone from your family today just to say hi.  You won’t regret it.


2 thoughts on “day nineteen: aunt sharon

  1. When Sharon said she would be interviewed, but did she have answer truthfully, her comment reminded me of her mother, my mother-in-law, and made me chuckle. Sharon thanks for all the good memories then and now that you make for my children and grandchildren.

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