I don’t know how to write about my aunt Mary passing away. The only way I can speak of her without ruining my keyboard from tears is telling the stories that make me laugh. Out of all of Mary’s qualities, one of my favorites was her ability to laugh at herself. She also always laughed at my humor. She had a contagious laugh. The kind of laugh that instantly made you laugh with her.
She called me a few weeks ago to see how her “baby Kate” and “baby Emma” were doing. When I answered the phone she said, “what are you doing?” I answered, “pooping. What are you doing?” She giggled and said “Bug!”. Then I’m sure she called my mom to gossip afterwards, telling her I said I was pooping when she called.
Mary would always accompany us on family vacations. She traveled everywhere we went. She visited us in Charleston, South Carolina. She went with us to Vegas to celebrate 21st birthdays. We visited Seattle a few years ago for her 60th birthday to see her brother/my uncle.
One of the places she has taken many vacations with us is Disney World. We went every other year when I was growing up. Mary was the biggest chicken when it comes to roller coasters or anything remotely scary. “It’s a Small World” was her type of ride. Just this past year I had to console both her and Emma that the Haunted Mansion was not a “scary” ride. She made me sit in the middle of our cart. Emma had one of my hands, Mary had the other.
I’m actually surprised we got Mary to ride the Tea Cups with flat Jenna.
The funniest story I can remember of Mary was when we were in Orlando when I was 18 or 19 years old. We were at the new theme park by Universal Studios, called “Islands of Adventure”. My family did not know what the rides were like because we have not visited it before.
At Islands of Adventure, I read somewhere that the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride had a drop at the end. My dad said not to say anything to Mary and let’s put on her on. We got in line for the ride. Everyone put on their biggest acting faces and told Mary it was just a boat ride, like you’re going through Jurassic Park. She believed us. We all rode together in a boat. Jenna sat front row with Mary. We travel through the ride, dinosaurs roaring and jumping out at us. Mary would occasionally scream, telling us she didn’t like the ride. My dad and I were snickering in the back the whole time, waiting for the big drop. Our boat started to travel upwards. My dad starts to laugh uncontrollably, slapping his knee. My abs were hurting from laughing so hard at my dad laughing. Mary knew something was going on. She screamed “WHAT?! What’s going on??? Is this a trick? Is there a drop?” Jenna says to her, “hold on, Mary. I’m serious. This is no joke. HOLD ON.”
WHAT?!!! GET ME OFF THIS THING!! AHHHHHHH!!!! I WANT OFF NOW!! TOM!!!!! GET ME OFF!!! GET ME OFF! EMPLOYEES!!
Our whole boat was laughing. Jenna was trying to reassure Mary it would be ok but she really needed to stop screaming at us and hold on. It was too late for her to get off the ride.
Our boat tips forward. I shut my eyes and held on. All I remember going down was a high pitched scream from Mary. My dad stopped laughing and yelled “wooooooo!!!!” the whole way down.
At the bottom, our boat started to travel back to the loading/unloading dock. Our boat waved at my mom and other family members watching from the dry land. Mary was screaming. She never trusted us on rides again. Every trip to Disney World after that episode she would ask employees if it was “scary”. I personally think Mary secretly liked the ride. I have to do a little digging, but there is a picture my mom took of Mary in the boat after the big drop. Mary has the biggest smile on her face. She may have said she hated it but the picture shows for that split second she couldn’t have been happier.
I’ll miss you so much, Mary. You were the greatest aunt ever. I will never forget your smile or laugh.
I hope they serve Coronas on Cinco de Mayo for you in heaven. Or maybe a margarita with a crazy amount of tequila. It’s how you always liked it. You little Mexican.
Please, watch over your “baby Kate” and “baby Emma” for me.