My Aunt Mary lived to be 100 years old. She was a sturdy woman, tall and shy in a bold sort of way. Aunt Mary never had any kids (she said she married too late), but she was a great aunt. We used to visit her and she would let me eat watermelon pickles, she even taught me to make them. The last 20+ years of her life she lived in a senior apartment complex in Frederic, her husband Eric died in the late 1970's and she expected to follow him in just a few years, she lived almost 25 years in her tiny apartment. She lived in her own until she was 99 1/2, when she fell and couldn't get up. We moved her into the care center in Frederic and upon her arrival she took over the spot as "oldest resident". Once she achieved her goal of living to be 100, she waited a respectable 6 months and then quietly joined her beloved Eric. Aunt Mary lives on in our family, not because the husband and I became her chosen caretakers during her later years, but because she was cool. She was a saver, such as she had every napkin from every wedding, funeral and graduation in a drawer (with the lunch menu jotted on the back). She had all sorts of treasures crammed into her little apartment. The reason I bring up Aunt Mary, is that I learned to knit so I could make mittens like my grandmother and Aunt Mary. My grandmother made sure none of us ever had store bought mittens (oh how I wanted those pretty, but not warm store bought mittens). Grandma made us new mittens every year without a pattern (she would just say, here hold up your hand). She used size 1 needles and Red Heart yarn that she bought on sale at the Ben Franklin. I had a flair for losing my mittens, so I got an idiot string. She let me cut the idiot string when I went to college, the mittens dragged in the food in the cafeteria line ( a bit of an issue for both myself and the person behind me in line). I still have 2 pairs of my grandma's mittens. They have become precious mementos of my childhood. But Aunt Mary, she could knit these pretty 2 color mittens with beautiful designs. My grandmother never even attempted them. I always wished Aunt Mary would knit me a pair, but as she aged her eyesight failed and she had to give up all her needlework and knitting. When we moved her out of her apartment, I found these beautiful mittens. I doubt Aunt Mary used a pattern for these, aren't they beautiful? I tucked them away in my "Aunt Mary" box. (I did not know how to knit when she gave them to me.) This weekend was basement cleaning (need I even say YUCK?) But I pulled out my Aunt Mary boxes and look what I found. I have learned to knit and I love to knit mittens (perhaps it is genetic?). I doubt mine will ever be as perfect and beautiful as Aunt Mary's, so I will keep trying.