Listening to the Aunties


8-16-2013 7;46;12 PMWhen I was small, I loved to sit very still (until they forgot I was there) and listen to the Aunties talk and tell stories.

They talked of all things, their families, their homes, food, their dreams, their beginnings.   They laughed a lot, they cried every little once in awhile.

Always around a kitchen table. Sometimes relaxing with coffee, sometimes preparing and cooking food, sometimes canning, but always at a kitchen table.

Someone would eventually realize I was there  and send me off to play with the other children, to get more canning jars or out to the garden for more strawberries.

I grew into the family as well as the world with a rich sense of membership, a knowing of the where and what I had come from.

It has always been hard  for me to describe the where, what and all to others though.

Now one of the Aunties who can describe it all has invited any folks who wish to join us to the family table.

in Kodiak July 1982

Please -join us. There is room at the table for all.

Pioneer Peak Cover

Joy Harjo’s  Perhaps The World Ends Here
(one of my favorite poems ever )

4 Responses to “Listening to the Aunties”

  1. InterestedPerson Says:

    Will be getting this, but not clear: is this you writing the novel? So much of the author background sounds like what I remember of yours…[not up with Mudflats as much as I used to be…bogged down with Wisconsin’s mud-slingers]

  2. alaskapi Says:

    You made me laugh at myself for being insular, InterestedPerson!

    “Aunties ” or “Auntys” , blood kin and/or women connected by family, are very large on the horizon for Alaska Native children, especially girls.

    I am a couple generations removed from village life but the habit of mind and talk persists . I do understand that the closeness and impact Aunties have outside these traditions of thought and action is not necessarily nearly so strong .
    I forgot it might not make sense outside the tradition as well :-)
    This IS a relative who wrote this so my own story is connected .
    I’m glad you stop by so often , especially since you are battling the mudslingers in your area. Thank you!

  3. elsie09 Says:

    Thank you, alaskapi, for sharing the information here that provides us more opportunity to read the story of Alaska as experienced and seen through the eyes of your Aunty.

    I see when I go to the link you provided, inviting us to join your Aunties at the table, it takes me to:

    Growing Down: A Novel of Reminiscence and Remembrance
    by Sarah Kavasharov

    “Growing Down is a richly told tale of early settlement in Alaska, a re-creation of pioneering life in the 1930’s and 1940’s, as seen through the eyes of young Annie, a girl growing up in a family of ten children in the Matanuska Valley. Kavasharov vividly describes Annie’s life and the landscape of Southcentral Alaska; the labors of homestead life, the sting of discrimination against an Aleut mother and her children, the wonder of a northern sky crowded with stars and dazzling displays of the Aurora Borealis, the excitement of finding the first bluebells of spring after a long, cold winter. Set against the stunning backdrop of Alaska, Growing Down is about the human spirit that perseveres in Annie as she faces loss and hardship. Guided by wisdom learned from parents and older siblings whom she loses far too early, bolstered by strong bonds with her younger siblings, Annie learns the skills and insight she needs to grow down into a changing world.

    I look forward to reading her stories and joining all your Aunties around their Alaskan tables. Thanks for sharing this with us here.

    : >)

  4. alaskapi Says:

    Having shared a table with you in real life, I know you are especially welcome at the family table , my friend . :-)

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