Today is my Great-Aunt Myrtle's birthday. She would be 99 years old today. I vividly remember when she died in December 1965 at the age of 58. Her Christmas presents were all under the tree and she was going to come home for the holiday. She was living at the Douglas County Annex at the time. Myrtle was my grandma's older sister, but she was mildly retarded and had some other health issues like diabetes and a bad heart. She spent most of her life after Great-grandma Albright died living with my Grandma and Grandpa Erikson, and she was one of my favorite playmates. We could play dolls or I could read her stories, we played puzzle games and usually had a great time together, no matter what we were doing. I remember her favorite gum was Blackjack and she used to put it in her dresser drawers, so all of her drawers smelled like licorice. I can still recall the smell of those drawers and her clothes! Grandma and Aunt Esther used to have terrible, awful fights over Aunt Myrtle – Esther was always accusing grandma of mistreating Myrtle or not feeding her or whatever. I was there most of the time myself and I know grandma took care of her, I thnk maybe Esther just wanted the disability check that Myrtle got! Sometimes Myrtle could be a little difficult, just like a child, but I can't remember grandma ever being mean to her. I remember sometimes when she was out in the Douglas County Annex (now the Thomas Fitzgerald Veteran's Home) that we would pack a lunch after church on Sunday and drive all the way out to see her. It seemed like it took forever to get there. I have to laugh now because it's on 156th & Maple Street, which is practically in the center of town! I never thought I'd live on near 132nd and Maple in my lifetime, or that dad would live in Elkhorn! Both places are a long way from Sweetwood Avenue! It used to take half the afternoon to drive out there. But then Maple Street was a two lane brick road lined with trees. My, how times have changed! It's hard to believe she's been gone for 41 years. My memories of her are still very vivid. She was one of my best friends. I miss her. At least I have a grave where I can go pay my respects to her. Unlike my Grandma Karen who mom selfishly insists on keeping from everyone else in the family. Well, I shouldn't be bitter. Just consider the source.