Today (June 15, 2017) is the 120th anniversary of the birth (June 15, 1897, Forestville, MI) of my maternal aunt, Selma Louise (“Sal,” “Sally”) Riedel Bostwick. Family lore had it that Sal was born at the height of the strawberry season (in Michigan) and family members always associated her with those delicious fruits.
Sal and my mother (her younger sister, Nettie (“Nan”)) were always close, and she was also a very special relative to me. Both she and Uncle Art were smart, kind, funny, loving, and interesting people. I always felt welcome in their home and liked to visit as often as I could.
Aunt Sal was a master gardener: she had a huge vegetable garden when she lived in Port Huron (MI), and also lots of flowers. She grew African violets as a hobby, and when they lost their challenge for her she “graduated” to orchids, which are very sensitive to light and temperature. It was a family joke that the house was often a perfect temperature for the orchids but too cold for Uncle Art, who had to beg for a little extra heat in the cold months.
Aunt Sal was also a master seamstress and craftsperson, a talent she shared with her daughter, Shirley. Sal and my mother wrote to each other at least weekly from the time we moved to California (1951) to her death in 1978, just a few months after her and Uncle Art’s 60th anniversary. Sal and Nan agreed on many things, but not politics. Who knows what they would think of our current overheated political atmosphere?!
Happy birthday, Aunt Sal! I still think of you often, especially when I see a well-laid-out vegetable garden or lovely flower. In your honor we had strawberries for breakfast this morning, and they did not disappoint.