My Aunt Irene passed away October 22 at the age of 93. She was a spirited, warmhearted woman who treated people with kindness and generosity, something I recognized even as a child when many adults believed that "children should be seen and not heard." She always took time to talk with us, and treated us fairly. She told funny stories and always had some little yipper dog tagging along with her, and the last time we saw her she was with Taffy--as well as my cousins Diane, Tony and his wife Donna. We sat in their beautiful backyard, where a statue of the Virgin Mary squared off with the Buddha, and Aunt Irene told us stories about the time they attended a Flamenco dance and someone accidentally spilled wine so they secretly sopped it up with what appeared to be a napkin. Only when the dance began, and a Flamenco dancer stooped to pick up the cloth, did they realize the cloth--now soiled with wine--was part of the act. She told stories about Uncle Joe, who passed away in 1998, and how he asked for bread in a Chinese restaurant. "It's the staff of life!" he said.
Irene was born December 26, 1917 in San Francisco, to George and Lilian Brown Gibson. She graduated from St. Mary's Academy in Winslow, Washington, and Gray's Harbor Junior College in Aberdeen. She married my Uncle Joe in 1938, and had four children, my cousins Johnny, Diane, Cecelia and Tony. Irene was a dancer and she opened her own studio in 1949 where she taught tap and ballet for 35 years. When she retired, she formed a dance group, the Happy Hoofers, and performed throughout the region. We will miss you, Aunt Irene.