Karen Washabau (KW) and Dave Washabau (DW)
KW: She lived a really independent life. She never wed and so all her life she said the most important thing to her was being devoted to my brothers and me as an aunt.
DW: Is there any one thing that you miss most about not having her around?
KW: Oh, you know, she was just so good at giving solid advice. She was a friend, she was just my very best friend and I really miss that. Probably the most wonderful thing she gave me, in addition to just some strength of character, was four-hundred and fifty to five hundred letters of mine, that I wrote her, that she saved for me. And we found these five hundred letters when we were cleaning out her house, they were stuffed in the back of a little cupboard. And some of the things that were captured in those letters, a really good sense of how much she meant to me, for example, I never kept a diary in high school, instead, I just wrote letters to Meff, and I knew she would never divulge them and I knew she would respect what I was saying. So, you know, starting in seventh grade, she got a litany of letters about boy troubles. In a letter I wrote to her back in 1962 I was complaining about boys again, and I started with this, ”Dear Meff, all this is, is one big sob story, so be prepared.” And then I go on for like three pages of notepaper. It was like having my own personal Ann Landers. So at the end of the letter I say, ”But then, what are aunts for.” So I mail that on a Wednesday and the next Monday she writes me a response. And this letter is kind of worn and torn, and it’s a testimony to how many times I looked at that letter in the course of my life. And she says, ”Dear Karen, enclosed is a prompt answer to your question, ’What are aunts for?’ Well, I found this quote years ago In a book called Mrs. Miniver, and here’s what I think aunts are for: ’Aunts are to be a pattern and example to all aunts, and to show that at least one daughter in any generation, in every generation ought to remain unmarried and raise the profession of aunt-ship to a fine art.’” She ends by saying, ”Thank you, Karen, for reminding me of this. I shall have to keep trying again and again to live up to it.” And I would have to say that she not only raised aunt-ship to that high art, I would say, that Meff was probably the gold standard.