Iva Mae Roach Shirley was my dad’s sister. When she was pregnant with twin boys, her husband died during appendectomy surgery—only twenty six years old. His two sons were born seven months later.
After I was born, mom and dad moved in with Iva so they could all help each other. Mom took care of the twins who are four years older than me. And she kept them in addition to working as a nurse. She said keeping the boys was harder work than nursing.
Being a single mom with twelve other siblings and two rambunctious kids didn’t make life easy for Aunt Ivy. All of her brothers and sisters thought it was their duty to “correct” her sons. That didn’t always make Aunt Ivy or the boys happy. By the way, those ‘boys’ are still alive today.
I look at the life of my aunt—the struggles she faced, and my imagination kicks in, plotting a romance where some wonderful, wealthy hero-type comes into her life and saves her from raising her two boys alone. Where would she meet him when the only places she goes is work, grocery store, church and home again? The possibilities are endless.