When I was 5 months old my parents purchased their first home in Arlington, Virginia. Uncle Marvin had purchased their first home in Vienna, Virginia. On Friday nights the two families gathered for pizza and games of cards. Even before I was old enough to understand the relationship, my cousin, Joyce Jennings, was my best friend. Every time I spent the night at their house, Aunt Millie would cook my favorite dinners and breakfasts. Before bed she would create fabulous root beer floats. That was living!
|After croquet. Left to right: Charles Theodore Jennings, Jr.; Charles Theodore|
Jennings, Sr.; Joann Marie Jennings; Joyce Elaine Jennings holding Sammy;
Marvin Edward Jennings, Jr.; Schalene Jennings
Uncle Marvin taught me how to pitch and bat a softball and Aunt Millie taught me how to score baseball and softball games -- something I've enjoyed doing whenever I go to the ballpark to watch a game.
In 1967 our family moved to Vienna across town from Uncle Marvin and Aunt Millie. When I was a teenager, Mom and I used to fight from time to time about goodness knows what. In a huff, I would walk to Aunt Millie's house. I don't remember if I ever discussed the details of the fights, but she always made me feel loved.
Our families used to vacation together frequently and during the summer I turned 13, I stayed in Germany with Uncle Marvin and Aunt Millie. Those are some of my favorite memories.
In 1977 Uncle Marvin took a job as the town manager of Aurora, North Carolina, and he and Aunt Millie moved there. Mom and Dad moved to nearby Pamlico County the next year. A few years after that Uncle Marvin and Aunt Millie built a home next door to Mom and Dad's. All four of them played golf and would take off in Uncle Marvin's van with their clubs and luggage to all parts of the U.S. and Canada for weeks at a time.
Our families were always back and forth across the yards visiting and Mom and I were frequent visitors at Aunt Millie's for coffee in the mornings. We fished together, waterskied, played cards and on and on together. Memories that will stay with me forever!
|Morning coffee. Mom and I at Aunt Millie and Uncle Marvin's house in|
Pamlico County; personal collection
'After croquet,' personal collection
'Airport Send Off,' personal collection
'Morning coffee,' personal collection