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Aunt Dot

On Thursday afternoon my grandmother’s sister passed away in Connecticut.

She was a wonderful, caring woman; I really only saw her at the holidays when she hosted the entire large Irish family, but in that sea of strangers she would always drop down to her knees and say hello to me and my brother (we were tiny, I’m talking 30 years ago).

During these parties the children hung out in her basement; but it wasn’t like any basement I’d ever been in before. It had paneling like my living room, and there was a rug and a couch – in the basement! Our basement was just full of junk. This basement was a magical getaway from the somewhat-scary adults above. It was the kid table equivalent to a party.

This magical basement also had a fridge (which, granted, my grandfather had too) as well as a bar, a laundry room (which generally wasn’t fun) and a sweet hiding spot under the stairs. And the bannister was made out of pipes and rope. Oh, there were toys, too; it wasn’t like some kid prison or anything. But mostly I remember how everything was so different than my life in Maine. The room was rounded out with an assortment of other kids, my mother’s cousin’s children (which I believe are my “second cousins”, but don’t quote me on it) we were roughly the same age. It was fun.

But sadly that’s about all of my impressions of Aunt Dot. I’m quite sad that I didn’t know her better as an adult. It’s tough, once I was in high school I had papers and reports to get home to, and then college, then I moved to California – life goes by so quickly.

I guess most importantly my grandmother is taking it well. Aunt Dot had been ill for some time so I guess she sees it as a relief. But I can’t imagine what my she is going through. My grandparents were best friends with Aunt Dot and her husband, Charlie, who passed away almost twelve years ago. And now they’re all gone.

Here is Aunt Dot’s obituary from the Saturday edition of the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin, which I’ll also quote fully in case it goes away (which sometimes they do):

Dorothy D. Prentice

Dorothy D. Prentice July 30, 1915 – September 23, 2010 Norwich – Dorothy D. Prentice 95, formerly of 14 Canterbury Trnpk. Died Thursday, September 23, 2010 at the Harrington Court Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Colchester. She was born in Norwich, on July 30, 1915 daughter of the late Edward and Anna (Bresnan) Daley. Dorothy worked as an office manager with the Anthony Wayne O’Connell Insurance Office in Norwich and also with the Welfare Dept. for the City of Norwich. On August 26, 1938 she was united in marriage to Charles W. Prentice. Mr. Prentice predeceased his wife on December 24, 1998 after 59 years of marriage. Mrs. Prentice was a communicant of the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. She was a member of the Rose City Senior Center, AARP #3636 and a charter member of the Rose City Bowling League. Dorothy is survived by three daughters Nancy Ruszyk of Hampton Beach, NH, Lesley McGrath and her husband Clement of Colchester and Carolyn Woyasz of Norwich, two sisters Madelyn Thumm of Westerly, RI and Maureen Daley of Norwich, two sisters in law, Irene Daley and Helen Daley, six grandchildren Diana Adcock, Kevin Burzycki, William Burzycki, Lyn Clarke, Jason McGrath and Jeffrey McGrath, seventeen great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by three brothers Edward, Ray and John Daley and one sister Rita Brown. The funeral will assemble on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 at 9 am at the Cummings – Gagne Funeral Home 82 Cliff St. Norwich & proceed to a 10 am Mass of Christian Burial at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, Burial will follow at Maplewood Cemetery in Norwich. Calling hours are at the funeral home on Monday from 8:30 am to 9:30 am. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Hole in the Wall Gang Camp 565 Ashford Center Road Ashford, CT 06278. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.cummings-gagnefh.com.

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