I’m mourning my Aunt Ruth Hine today. She went into cardiac arrest a few days ago and had been on life support until yesterday. I’ve talked about this mostly on Facebook because I’ve just been too exhausted and emotionally drained to do much else with it. But she was special enough in my life that she needs to be remembered here.
Growing up, her house was our holiday house. My family is small – my mom, my dad, and my sister – and we don’t have a ton of contact with family on my mom’s side but going to Aunt Ruth’s provided a taste of that big family for holidays you always see on television. We’d spend Thanksgiving evening over there almost every year eating leftovers and watching Lions football and eating some more and then watching movies. Most of the seminal 80s movies from the time: ET, Back to the Future, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Gremlins, Goonies, and others I first remember watching over there. Same with Christmas Eve.
As everyone grew older and scattered across the country, those holiday visits grew fewer and further between. But she still remained in my life and my most recent memory was of her and my Uncle Dennis showing up for my book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Flint. They bought multiple copies of the book and congratulated me like I was one of their kids. I have a picture somewhere of all of us I took that day and I wish I could find it, but I know she was smiling.
She was always smiling. She had a booming voice (which is saying a lot considering my dad is noted for his loud voice but she had him beat) that had the most distinct tone I’ve ever heard in a voice. It had a Brooklyn attitude with a Queens edge and a bit of a southern lilt to it as well even though she never lived any of those places. I remember her finger nails as well. From the time I was little until that recent book signing the most distinctive trait of hers I remember were her manicured nails. She was the first person I remember having professionally done nails and it always seemed very elegant for a woman from my family which was certainly not noted for being elegant.
I will miss her greatly but she left a legacy of memories and kids and grandkids that will last long after her and carry her story and her spirit to future generations.