Blogiversary: 10/2/2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Aunt Betty and Uncle Tony

Aunt Betty and Uncle Tony and me at my Long Beach house.
My 7th birthday.
Aunt Betty was born Margaret Agnes Ross on August 19, 1915 in Akron, Ohio.  She was the daughter of David George Ross and Adelaide (or Adeline) Woyner (born in Germany).  I don't know how she got the name Betty, but that's what everybody knew her as.  She was married many times and then she married Uncle Tony whom was also married many times.  Uncle Tony was born Antonura Arribas Arcala on May 10, 1905 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines.  He was the older brother of my grandfather, Mamerto Agan Arcala.

Mamerto whom was known as "Jimmy" died at 47 years old from a heart attack.  When Grandpa Jimmy shipped out, Uncle Tony stepped in.  It's the Filipino way.  In the Philippines, Uncle Tony would be considered my grandfather, too, because he's the same generation that my grandfather is, and his brother.

Aunt Betty in Long Beach, CA.
Christmas, circa 1988.
Uncle Tony and Aunt Betty lived in Pasadana, Los Angeles county, California.  I was born in Glendale, which is the neighboring city of Pasadena.  Uncle Tony and Aunt Betty were there for my delivery and for many of my birthdays as a young child.  Even though they were my great-Aunt and great-Uncle, they were true grandparents in every essence of the meaning.

They bickered a lot, but they were in love, and it was fun to be around them.  Aunt Betty collected a lot of Oriental decor, souvenir spoons, and mice.  She had many photo albums and would dote on her many children and grandchildren, and their accomplishments.  Aunt Betty kept her house cozy.  It was a very small house, but every inch of the home had something interesting to look at, including her artistically painted toilet seat!  I enjoyed going into their kitchen and dining area.  Aunt Betty had a big Asian chair, and it looked like a wooden throne.  She loved to cook and Uncle Tony once said, "She's German, but cooks Filipino food better than most Filipinos."

Uncle Tony in Long Beach.
Christmas, circa 1988.
Aunt Betty was a cigarette smoker.  Almost every photo I have of her, she has a lit cigarette.  It was the craze when she was younger.  By the time I was a teenager, cigarettes were starting to go out of style.  Aunt Betty eventually succumbed to complications due to her usage of cigarettes on February 8, 1993.  I was fifteen years old.  It was like losing a grandmother, very painful.

Not a week later, on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1993, Uncle Tony, in all his grief, laid down in a hospital bed and peacefully passed.  He went to be with his Valentine.  He was the first decedent I had ever seen or touched, and the first person I ever lost, that I felt close to.  It completely broke my heart.

I have very fond holiday and birthday memories of Aunt Betty and Uncle Tony.  I can't even say their names separately, they were inseparable.  It's now going on 21 years since their passing, in February 2004.  I'm grateful to have known them.  I miss them, dearly.

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