Monday, March 25, 2013

My Special Aunt Kay-My Second Mom

Aunt Kay after my Dad's funeral
At her Rose Park, Salt Lake City Home

Aunt Kay and her granddaughter Tiff  A special birthday for Aunt Kay

This is part of the life sketch I gave at her funeral
Mary Kate Scoggins, known affectionately as Kay, was born on December 20, 1929 in Siler City, North Carolina.  Her parents were John Prichard Scoggins, and Cora Mae Smith.  She was the fifth child.  Hoyt, Lenna Aileen,(my mother), Lewis Hobson, and Samuel Green, her siblings, preceded her in death.

Aunt Kay was born in a small home without running water.  Her family was very poor in those days as were many families.  When she was old enough, one of her chores was to go to the creek and get a pail of water for household use. Her mother Cora passed away shortly after Aunt Kay's birth from child birth complications.  I was told she died from a kidney infection. I never could find a death certificate so I am not sure if it was in 1929, or 1930.

Family members told Aunt Kay she looked just like her Mother who was a beautiful woman. Aunt Kay was nursed by her Aunt Hattie who had a baby around the same time, so she nursed both of them.   She was raised by her maternal grandparents Samuel J. Smith and Susan Adalaide Campbell.  Aunt Kay loved her Grandparents dearly and told many stories of her life with them. One story I remember is that Grandmother Smith would make Aunt Kay wear long stockings to school.  She would get out of site of her home, and would take them off and hide them in a bush.  On the way home, she would put them on again.

Because of Cora's death, the family was split up as Grandpa John could not take care of five children.  Hoyt was able to stay with Aunt Kay.  Different family members took in her brothers Lewis, Samuel, and her sister Lenna Aileen (know as Leen), my mother.  My Mom was taken in by her step grandmother Spicey Ann Scoggins and was expected to work like a horse.  My Aunt Mary saw this and didn't like it, so she ended up taking my Mom back to Salt Lake City, to live with her.

In 1945 Mom took my sister, Patty and I to North Carolina to visit family.  Aunt Kay had been writing Mom and begged her to come and get her.  So I think one of the reasons for the trip was to bring Aunt Kay back to Salt Lake to live with our family.  I think Aunt Kay was unhappy living with old fashioned grandparents.

We lived in a home that was not too far from the Salt Lake City Fairgrounds located on North Temple St.and Aunt Kay slept with me. I remember she loved to read in bed at nights and this would frustrate me.  I would complain to my mother and get Aunt Kay in trouble.  She loved the little brat I was in spite of this.

One night there was a knock on our bedroom window, and I looked out and saw a man looking in.  It scared me to death, as I thought it was the bogeyman.  Aunt Kay put her hand over my mouth and told me to be quite.  This man turned out to be the handsome tenant in the basement apartment of our home.  His name was Eugene Kocinski, who was in the army at that time. Aunt Kay would wait for me to fall asleep and sneak out to see him.

When my Dad found out, he was spitting fire and I am sure had words with Gene.  Dad thought Gene was too old for Aunt Kay, and wanted her to finish school. Gene was 10 years older than my Aunt. She was attending night school at West High. One night I remember Uncle Gene at the back door and both my Dad and Gene's faces were red with anger.  Dad punched him in the face.  My Dad had a horrible temper and over the years I grew to hate him because of his heavy hand on my family.

Aunt Kay and Uncle Gene eloped to Ely, Nevada on January 21, 1946 where they could marry without permission as Aunt Kay was only sixteen at the time. They came back and lived in the basement apartment.  I used to sneak down to their apartment for visits, as my Dad forbid me to see them.  One time I got caught and got a good spanking.  It still didn't stop me from going down to the basement apartment to see them.  There was always a treat for me and I loved them very much and felt their love for me.

Some time in 1946, Aunt Kay and Uncle Gene moved to Wendover, UT where Uncle Gene was stationed in the Army.  As soon as he got out of the service he and a very good friend, Slim Olsen, went into a partnership running a towing truck service, coffee shop, and garage in Knolls, Utah.  Aunt Kay worked in the coffee shop. Uncle Gene eventually started working for the State Road Shops.

In the mean time Mom and her family moved to a duplex on 5th North, and eventually peace was made between Uncle Gene and my Dad.  Uncle Gene and Aunt Kay would come to Salt Lake and stay with us.  When Aunt Kay was expecting Penny her first child, they came more often for Aunt Kay's doctor's visits.  She stayed with us in the last weeks of her pregnancy so she would be close the the hospital.  Penelopoe K. Kocinski, was born on May 26 1947.  While they were still living in Knolls, Christoper, was born on September 28, 1949.  In 1953 Penny was approaching school age, so they bought a home on 358 Marion St. in Salt Lake.  While living on Marion St. John Douglas was born August 11, 1953.  Lorri was born on July 10, 1960. I was married by this time and was expecting my first baby.  I remember baby sitting Lorri while I was still pregnant, and I couldn't believe what a beautiful baby she was.

I spent a lot of time with my Aunt and her family on Marion St. I rode my bike from our Rose Park home to her place and spent many a weekend there.  During the summer I spent several days at a time.  I think my Mother was a little jealous of my closeness with Aunt Kay.

Some time in the 60's. Uncle Gene bought a home in the newer section of Rose Park, 1152 Oakley St. not too far from our home.  Now the two families were closer and since there were cousins around the same age, they were at one home or another.  We felt more like brothers and sisters than cousins.

Aunt Kay was like my Mom as her home was always filled with the aroma of something good being cooked.  A cup of coffee and a good chat were available to any visitor that came through the door. I will always remember Aunt Kay in her kitchen stirring a pot of something good to eat, or out in her garden in the summer tending to her flowers, tomatoes, and other vegetables.  How she loved tomatoes.  Richard Eugene was born February 27, 1967.  He was her surprise package.  She spoiled him rotten.  She laid out his freshly ironed clothes for school and weighted on him hand and foot.

In 1988, Uncle Gene bought a winter home in St. George, UT and they became snowbirds. They loved their little home in St. George, even though Uncle Genes heart condition was getting worse.  He loved fixing things, and puttering around just a little slower now.  Aunt Kay kept her homes spotless and enjoyed furnishing and decorating her new home in St. George. After a few years of traveling back and forth, Uncle Gene had been advised by his doctor not to travel to St. George, but he didn't listen and on his last trip, after he had unloaded the truck; he was sitting at the bar and eating some dinner when he fell over with a massive heart attack and died right there on the floor of his St. George home on February 3, 1995.

Aunt Kay's health was deteriorating from COPD she had smoked since she was a small child, and was on oxygen.  She eventually had to live in St. George permanently.  This was hard for her as she missed her beloved neighbors Ruth, Bev, and Jim.  They were more like family than friends.  Aunt Kay passed away on April 19, 2001 with her daughter Lorri at her side.  She was able to die at home, this was her wish.  God gave us a gift of letting her stay with us a lot longer than any of us would have guessed, and we are all grateful for this gift.  Aunt Kay fought the battle right up to the end.  I am sure she didn't want to leave her loved ones here on earth.  What a reunion on the other side.  I visualize her mother there with open arms to hold the baby she didn't get to be with and raise.  Husband, son, brothers, sister, nephew, and friends were all there to greet her.  We here on earth will miss her, but she will always be in our hearts and memories.

If you are like me just mixing up a can of tuna with onions and dill pickles will remind me of her.  My tomatoes plants and flowers make me think of her.  It gives me peace to know that she is suffering no more and that she is smiling down on us.  I know there are lots of hugs going on with all those loved ones who have been waiting for her.  I can just see her dancing and singing among all the beautiful gardens of heaven.  Good by for now, Aunt Kay, I love you and will miss you.  God be with you until we meet again.

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