Friday, March 31, 2006


I made this film several years ago called Roberta Wells. It was inspired by my Great Aunt Erna who lived in Fredericksburg. I'm pretty sure I gave her a copy but I don't think she ever watched it. She never seemed to understand my moviemaking adventures. Instead of talking about my recent films, she wanted to talk politics or play dominos and stuff me with whatever her friends had left her in the refrigerator.

Erna was diagnosed with emphysema after years and years of smoking. She had the wrinkled up skin and raspy voice that went along with those years. Erna was my Oma's sister. She was the fiery one. Boy did she have a mouth on her. She would say things that nearly cut you in two. And despite how it hurt sometimes, she was always right. She loved chicken tortilla soup that you made from a box. She played bridge every week with her bridge club. And she always beat the pants off of me in chickenfoot. Each time I came to visit I'd get an earful that I didn't visit enough.

Mark and I went to see her in the hospital about a month ago. As we turned the corner, she was shuffling her feet down the hallway in her little hospital gown with the sweet nurse that held her arm. Mark and I flashed the engagement ring on my finger. I don't think I'd ever seen her so proud of me before. Mark and I sat by her bedside and talked about the wedding while she struggled with each breath. She seemed to savor each detail. It was probably the best visit we'd had together. And of course, the last one.

She passed away Wednesday morning. But wouldn't you know it, she put up damn good fight. I'll miss that little spitfire.


i'm no phenomenon said...

oh, how i love people like that. i have known a few in my life and i am better for it. i hope you and your family are hanging in there.

Mandy said...

What a nice tribute to a fantastic lady! I'm sending much love to you and your family.