Myrtle (O’Connor) Golden (1894-1990)

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My Great Aunt Myrtle was chosen as my caregiver when I was three and four years old and my mom went back to school to be a teacher. Lucky me!! Despite being so young, I have clear memories of my days with her – watching her wrap her long hair up into a bun on top of her head; visiting her neighbors, Elizabeth and Mary; learning my alphabet during our ‘lessons’ on the little footstool near her rocker; and lunch. Each day we’d go into the kitchen and she’d open a cupboard stocked with Campbell’s soups and ask, “What kind are we going to have today?” Chicken and Stars was my favorite!

My time with her extended into adulthood with letters sent back and forth (she always addressed mine ‘Hi, my little girl’) as well as my frequent visits to her Golden Venture apartment whenever I came home from college and beyond. It was only as an adult that she told me I had been a lifesaver for her. Months before she started watching me, her husband, Tom, had died and she had moved from the farm to her city home. Caring for me was a welcome endeavor each day. And she was always full of laughter and sage advice. When visiting her with my newborn daughter, she told me to hurry up and have more children…at least six or so. “You want to make sure you have plenty to take care of you when you get old!”

The photo depicts me sitting on her lap on my wedding day. The other small photo is of her son, Bob Golden (1918-2011) who just died this past September. The marbles at his place setting? A tribute to the eulogy at his funeral offered by his niece, Mary. She had everyone present take a marble to depict Saturdays and the favorite advice of her uncle, i.e. to pay close attention to what you choose to do with each day, particularly Saturdays because that’s the day when you do what you love! 

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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