All my life my Aunt Essie Lou (Pat) Wilson has been like a second mom to me. We are all from Texas but when I was only five my father transferred to a missile base in Santa Maria, CA. I only got to see my Texas relatives once a year. Every summer, we would drive the 1,700 miles to Texas and stop at each relative’s house. My father said it was important that we know our cousins, aunts, and uncles. After seeing all of our relatives, we were rewarded by going back to Odessa, TX, where my Aunt Pat and Uncle Woody lived. They could never have children, so they spoiled us!
Pat and Woody met during World War II. After Aunt Pat’s fiancé had been killed on his last bombing mission before coming home to marry her, she vowed never to love again. But then she met Uncle Woody, and he swept her off her feet. They were married over 50 years before he passed away in 1997.
We would always go on vacations with them for a week. Sometimes to Lake Leon over by Eastland, TX, and sometimes to Red Bluff Lake out in West Texas. Our favorite was when we all went to Creed, CO, for a week and stayed in a cabin! Aunt Pat would pack a special box for us with all sorts of treats: lemonade, cookies, and candy. My mother was always worried her four kids would get hurt on our vacations. My Aunt Pat always said not to worry because she was a nurse and would help us. She occasionally had to put her medical skills to work. My brother stepped out in the Colorado River and tore his leg open on some old barbed wire. There were no doctors around, and we were up on a mountain. Aunt Pat came to the rescue with her butterfly strips!
We asked her once why Uncle Woody called her Essie while we called her “Pat.” She explained that the name change happened during World War. In the nurse’s dorm, she and one other nurse were given new names. One of the top nurses said, “We don’t like your names! We are going to call you Billy and you Pat!” That is how she got her name and always preferred it. Up until her Alzheimer’s progressed last year she would say, “Hi, my name is Pat Wilson.” She has always been there for me.
Aunt Pat and my uncle flew to my Wedding in California 42 years ago. My husband and I moved to Granbury in 1976. My parents retired and moved here in 1974. Aunt Pat and Woody were not far behind. In 1976, they bought a weekend trailer in the Cordova mobile home park (the exact property that The Cove sits on now). In 1978, they moved here full time and bought a house in South Grove. They moved in right before for the birth of my daughter.
My Aunt knew that I would always be there for her because I love her so much. She asked me years ago not to let here die in a nursing home like her mother did. After living in several places because of her Dementia, I felt that when I moved her to The Memory Care at The Cove that I fulfilled my promise to her. We love her being there in such a beautiful and tranquil setting! It is the least I could do for my second mom after everything she has done for me.