Today Aunt Corinne reaches the age of 70. I want to wish her happy birthday and thank her for the special, and vital, role she has played in our family.
The five Webner children have been blessed with a trio of amazing aunts, each special in her own unique way. Aunt Corinne has always been the intellectual aunt, the one who was not afraid to break free of the cultural constraints placed on women during the ’50s and ’60s, the one who encouraged reading, and thinking, and proper grammar and word usage. (And let me tell you, there is no greater spur to developing a decent vocabulary and passable conversational skills than having a brainy and witty aunt who patiently corrects misstatements.)
Corinne Palmer Webner graduated from law school when few women even dreamed of a legal career. She has always loved to cook and worked patiently on a needlepoint creation that hung for years over a special rack at their home. She reads voraciously and was the first person I knew who extolled the value of a Kindle. In short, Aunt Corinne has always marched to the beat of a different drummer — except in her case she is probably moving to the complex rhythms of a Bach cantata.
When Kish and I lived in the Washington, D.C. area in the early 1980s, Aunt Corinne and Uncle Mack were the nearest members of the family. We spent a lot of time with them and their children Laura, Betsy, and Billy at their home in Reston, Virginia. You could not ask for more gracious hosts. Aunt Corinne always gave great advice (and, I think, gentle guidance) as we dealt with the beginnings of our professional careers, the early days of law school, and the first few weeks of parenthood.
At that time, Grandma Webner lived nearby, too, and Aunt Corinne and Uncle Mack bore the brunt of the many administrative and social responsibilities that come with caring for an aging relative. Until you have done it, I don’t think you can fully appreciate what it means to field that ill-timed call for help, or to carefully explain the change in routine to a puzzled senior, or to progressively assume greater decision-making responsibilities for someone who is slowly failing. Aunt Corinne did all this, and did it cheerfully and well. We can never repay her, or thank her enough, for that.
Now she and Uncle Mack are retired, to their lovely home in the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia, where Aunt Corinne is re-doing the kitchen to her exacting specifications, giving that Kindle a workout, and doing what grandmothers do to make their grandchildren feel safe, warm, and loved. Happy birthday, Aunt Corinne! May you have many, many more!
Merci beaucoup! Tu es trop gentil. Je t’aime.
PS: I do love a bit of hyperbole.
PPS: Your travels sound divine. Hugs and bushels of love to you and your clan.
Thanks for that great post, Bob. You’re so articulate! I enjoy checking in on your blog , and Michael is crazy about the Constantinople cartoon! Besos to you, Kish and the boys. Laura
Thank you, Bob,
Having wiped the tears away, I am now able to compose a few thoughts. You have put into words so beautifully what we all have thought for years.
I am impressed with how well you have described a woman who has been a role model, disciplinarian, teacher, mentor, trend setter and friend. Having spent years being all of those to all who know and love her, and now for her grandchildren, we are all so happy she is able to reap the benefits of all the hard work and love she has given everyone else.
If only I were so… eloquent with words.
Happy 70th, Mom!
To Straw and my other favorite non-spousal Webner Women —
Thank you for the kind words, but I have only humbly tried to capture the deep feelings that we all have experienced about
Aunt Corinne. Please know that I am lifting a Pelforth Brune to join you and the other Webners, across the globe assembled, in celebration of her 70th birthday!