Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alicemae Irwin Our Beloved Auntie Alice

    If you have followed this blog over the past year you know that we often speak of our aunt, Alicemae Irwin. Aunt Alice, our father's oldest sister is the most influential person in our lives. From  the moment we met her , she became a bedrock of faith and a lighthouse in our darkest moments. Aunt Alice passed away this July. We have had some time to consider if and/or when we would make a post about her on this blog. After recalling her intrerest in this project and assistance with many of the stories , we decided that yes, of course she should have a post here.. after all so much of the content has come from her.
   The many photographs, dates and sequences in the blog posts can be attributed to Aunt Alice and her many hours of phone conversations with one of us. I would have never know about my great grandmother's dedication in celebrating the Pennsylvania Dutch  day of Fastnacht.
Danielle,Ross and Geary with
Uncle Bob and Aunt Alice 1990
   Alicemae McGee was the oldest daughter of Gerhard McGee and Alice MacDougall. Her childhood as told to us was one marked by poverty and many of the typical struggles that poor  working families faced in the mid forties and fifties. She learned early how to keep a home and to be frugal. Alicemae as she was referred to was responsible for the small family garden that sustained them with fruits and vegetables, meat was a rare comodity.Looking after her younger brother Geary (our father)sometimes became and chore she would often tell us stories of how he would run around causing his asthma to flare up and then she would get the talking to from her parents. Aunt Alice came in to our lives in 1982 we were visitng our Aunt Kitty at the time and it becamse too much for her so we went to our grandparent Mcgee's home. We didnt know it at  the time but our grandmother McGee was dealing with ovarian cancer. So they couldn't take care of us ,in comes Aunt Alice a very soft spoken lady who showerd us with love and hugs that first day .After several hours of the adults talking in the kitchen it was decided that Geary and I would go stay wth Aunt Alice and her husband Bob who we grew to love as our nature loving Uncle Bob.

The Pink House

 Thier pink house in the woods became our safe haven it was there that we learned about unconditional love , Nature, and our Mcgee family history.That first summer with Aunt Alice and Uncle Bob we met our older cousins and learned that there was more to life than televison. At that particular time Aunt Alice was not too fond of televison and to us city kids thats all we knew . Aunt Alice was determinded to change that and get us out side in the fresh air. We soon learned to explore the yard and spent many hours asking Uncle Bob questions about the different animals we saw.

Aunt Alice and Uncle Bob in thier yard .

Uncle Bob's Dedication to Nature led his yard to be listed in the
wildlife federation  magazine.

Aunt Alice loved to read, crochet and collect dolls a passion Danielle later shared with her.
She also loved to journal and instilled this in her grandchildren and nieces and nephews how important is is to write something every day. In the 80s Aunt Alice was the main photographer in the family she was never with out her trusty Cannon camera. She never quite mastered the Digital camera though. I think it all became overwhelming for her.   She had many other hobbies that she enjoyed but these were some of the ones she enjoyed the most.  Aunt Alice suffered a lot of health issues but she never let them get her down she always found some way to deal with them.  In turn she introduced us to healthy food  and encouraged us to try different things.
Aunt Alice's Kitchen she painted each one of the
skillets they belonged to different
women in our family.
Aunt Alice was also a LPN She put her self  through nursing school while managing a home and raising three kids. She used her skills as a nurse to cope with her many health issues and she helped Geary and Danielle understand their mother's illness of Diabetes. Although there were times when Our Aunt Alice could be naive she was a wonderful woman who took her life struggles and used them as lessons in her life.   Our beloved Aunt passd away July 8 2014   she was surrounded by our Uncle and cousins and her last thought were of her niece and nephews as well.  This was the hardest post that we had to do but it had to be done right and took a long time to finish because Aunt Alice was such a large part of our lives it was hard to put everything in to words. We will miss her dearly but her lessons in life and her stories of our family history live on.
Geary and Aunt Alice

Danielle and Aunt Alice