Dolly has always reminded me of my great aunts: Helen and Ethelyn. I remember them both as incredibly gorgeous, fun-loving, warm, and open-hearted women who were simultaneously the most stylish women in the room and the life of the party. Everyone seemed to gravitate to them – men, women, children, pets – if it lived and breathed, it wanted to hang out with the Aunties.
My Aunt Helen would have my sister and I up for summertime visits to Angels Camp in Calaveras County. Angels Camp was immortalized by Mark Twain as the home of the Jumping Frog in the foothills of California, aka the Mother Lode. True to her unique and contradictory nature, Aunt Helen owned an antique shop in downtown. Who else would own an antique shop in the middle of a dusty mountain town? She would let us “work” behind the counter, trying on antique jewelry and playing with the innumerable cut glass cruet sets, paperweights and curiosities that filled the shop.
My Aunties made a big impression on me and the type of woman that I aspire to become. Both could throw a party like nobody’s business and each had their own unique light that drew people to them. The phrase “Broke the Mold” applies in large amounts.
Whether wearing diamond jewlery on a fishing trip, riding a motorcycle in a dress, becoming businesswomen while defining the then-contradictory idea of a very tough and very feminine woman, my Aunties lived life to the fullest. They worked harder, partied longer, and lived more fully then almost anyone I know, and they did it all with a special brand of class, style and grace. I think Dolly reminds me of them because she seems to embody many those same qualities.
So bring on the cocktail hour and the adventures – here’s to you, Aunties.
Click the image below to visit The Life and Times of Sooz and see a video of the original duet performed live.