Friday, January 23, 2009


Gladys Walter Nash was my Father’s only sister. She was the oldest ,my father “Dutch”Harold Alderman Walter (the unruly middle child) and “Chip” Russell David Walter was the youngest( he was wild and unruly,too.)

She married Ben Nash and had three boys--David,Walter and Robert. Over their long years of marriage Gladys and Ben seem to live in Chicago,Rockford,back to the country as his work would take him. Gladys loved the city even though she was raised in the country. She would always encourage Ben to change employment if he had a chance to improve their lives. She moved around wherever his job took him with out complaining with all the enthusiasm of an army wife. Ben was a salesman so they moved with whatever was selling at the time and he always made good choices in his jobs. She could trust him to do that.

She looked at everything as if it was an adventure. She was such an important part of my life. She would hug me and say,”Why didn’t I have a nice little girl like you instead of those smelly boys?” She would say it of course so the boys would hear it. She adored her boys but she loved my brother and I as if we were hers. She knew that her brother in those days drank to excess and there were times that life was hard for us. She and my Mother were very close and she had no tolerance for her brothers drinking.

Wherever they lived in Chicago she rarely worked and she was always anxious to show me the city. We would ride public transportation and we would go to parks and museums and downtown. She would always allow time for just the two of us to special things to do. We would shop and window shop and go to a matinee and be back home in time to make supper for Ben and whoever was home. Sometimes the boys were at camp or working for their father during the summer.

They usually lived in apartments and I thought that was so great. They had a huge second floor flat in Rockford in one of the old brownstones a block from the Ing skating rink. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when they moved there. I loved to skate and I spent hours skating all day long. I spent two or three weeks over the summer wherever they lived.

One summer my Uncle Ben called Aunt Gladys and ask her to ask me if she and I would like to go to watch the Rockford Peaches play ball. I loved to play ball and I said yes. My Auntie stopped her washer and we were ready when Ben came home to pick us up. That was just the way she was. She would drop what ever she was doing and do whatever anyone wanted to do. She never thought they were imposing or anything about it. She believed that if an opportunity came ---like seeing the Rockford Peaches play ball came along we should do it.

I will never forget that day. When we came home that night Auntie called my Mother and I got to tell her about my big day. “Mother, when Uncle Ben called and asked if we would like to go to the baseball game Auntie just stopped her washer and we got ready to go.”( Something my mother would have never done.) When I told her she laughed and she said lovingly said,”That’s your Auntie.”

She was apart of my life until she was 63 years old. They had moved back to the country to Big Foot, Ill. Where Ben was a feed salesman and mill manager until his retirement.

We spoke with each other almost daily. The day before she died she called to say she had been to her doctor ( her blood pressure was high) and he told her she needed to slow down or she would be having a heart attack. When I expressed concern. She said, “Oh, Honey,don’t worry. Don’t you know doctors tell every one that these days.”
In the morning, my Uncle Ben found her lying beside him dead.

My Auntie was the most spontaneous, fun loving person I have ever known and I am so lucky to have a daughter just like her. Must be the genes--those Walter children knew how to have fun. My daughter does not remember my Aunt Gladys but she looks at life the same as Auntie did and she will always squeeze the very best out of life just the way Auntie did.

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