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Writing Ghosts from the Past: ‘The Bride’s Spinster Aunt’

Monday, February 11, 2019

This one isn’t quite as old as the one I posted last week, and I do actually remember writing it this time!

Here’s the text:
The Bride’s Spinster Aunt
(A Story Idea by Kaye Dacus | Word file is dated 16 Feb. 2014)

Hi. My name is Jocelyn Bromley. I’m forty-two years old, and I’m what’s affectionately known down here in the South as a Spinster. An Old Maid. A (heaven forbid) Maiden Aunt.

I’m about to do something I thought I never would. I’ll be attending a wedding. No, not just any wedding—I’ve been to dozens of those in my life. I’ll be attending my niece’s wedding.

My niece is getting married. A child of the next generation of my family. Except she’s not a child anymore. She’s old enough to be engaged, old enough to be planning her wedding. And she, like pretty much every bride in the South, will have to plan seating charts around a family member who is the odd-person-out in a culture that trends heavily toward couplehood.

It has to be someone, so why not me? You see, in the South, in large families like mine, there’s a longstanding tradition of the Maiden Aunt (see also: the crazy aunt—though not always a Spinster, every Southern family has one). In the stereotype, the Spinster is the daughter who eschews courtship and forgoes marriage all for the sake of caring for her parents in their old age so that her siblings can go off and get married and produce lots of grandbabies.

Which is all well and good, except that my parents, instead of needing my help, won the lottery (yes, seriously), retired from their Middle America jobs, and are now living the high life in a stunning beach house in Charleston, South Carolina. Although, half the time they’re not even there. Once a month or so, they’re taking off to some exotic locale like Paris or Bora Bora or Rio de Janeiro. (They loved Carnival in Rio so much more than Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Just ask them. They’ll tell you all about it.)

I don’t even have a passport. And, unlike them, I actually speak not just one but two foreign languages: Spanish, which I learned in high school and kept up with for job security, and Romanian—but that’s an obsession confession for another time.

And it’s not that I eschewed or forwent anything, either. I’ve been reading romance novels and dreaming of my Prince Charming since I was old enough to sing along with Snow White and Cinderella. But somehow, that Someday when the Wish the Heart Makes Comes True never came.

Before I start getting maudlin about my life, let’s get back to the point.

My name is Joss Bromley. I’m forty-two years old. And I’m about to become The Bride’s Spinster Aunt.

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