Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Chair - A Thanksgiving Memory

The chair sat in the corner of the living room.  It wasn't a confy cozy chair so it wasn't used often, but it was a beautiful mahogany arm chair small in proportion and delicate without being dainty.  The seat was covered in a deep purple velvet.  Usually no one used the chair but that changed on Thanksgiving.  The chair was occupied by a lady named Lorraine.  I don't remember if we called her Aunt or not but we probably should have.  (She was almost 10 years older than my dad.)  Lorraine came for Thanksgiving almost every year in the 1950's.  She had short curly salt and pepper hair and usually wore a beige silk dress with a white lace collar.  She sat in the corner quietly waiting for dinner.  If you went over to talk to her she would discuss her hobby of collecting matchbooks.  She had an extensive collection which she would display in local libraries.  I never knew just how she was related to the family but it was enough that she was there.  It seemed almost that the chair was there just for her.

Much later, after I began doing genealogy, I discovered that she was my dad's cousin and a niece to my grandmother.  Lorraine Henrietta Burbach Gist was born in Febrary 1901 to George and Rose Schmitt Burbach in Milwaukee, WI.  She probably was married in Milwaukee to Mr Gist, and sometime after 1951 she moved to the Chicago area  and died there in 1985.  Sadly my father died in 1959 and his mother in 1960.  Unfortunately, we lost touch with that side of the family which only makes finding the details more difficult.