Sunday, May 31, 2015

RIP Gisela Packull

I suppose that one of the great benefits of being an auntie as opposed to being a mom, is that you're always able to extend a loving hand to your wayward nephews even when they are driving their mothers to the brink of despair.

That's kind of how it was with my Tante Gisela.

I know I inflicted considerable pain on my dear mother. The contingencies of being a youth coming up all too often precluded common courtesies like advising Mom in advance that you wouldn't be home for the next three days.

Or the next three weeks.

Sorry Mom!

The aunties never had to put up with that crap, so to them you were always golden.

Gisela was one of those.

Back when we were DP trash living on the wrong side of the tracks in Elora, when Elora still had tracks, Gisela was a second mom to me and my siblings. If my Mom wasn't there, Gisela was.

The Packulls had the upstairs of that house beside the rail-road tracks.

We had the downstairs.

Gisela married my Mom's older brother Horst in the early fifties. That was seen by Gisela's mother as marrying down. Frau Haar reluctantly took the trip to the New World with her daughter and her sketchy son-in-law.

For many years I had nightmares wherein Frau Haar was laying the stink-eye on me from her second story window.

Times changed. The DPs got traction and eventually didn't have to share houses. Horst, who had trained as a millwright in Switzerland, had a good job at the GE plant in Guelph. Over the years he helped his younger brother and about a dozen of the next generation, including me, get their foot in the door at "Generous Electric."

Once we all had our own places, Gisela didn't have to do the second mom thing anymore. Nevertheless, she has been unerringly kind and accommodating with me ever since.

I'll miss you, Tante Gisela.

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