With one catastrophe after another — natural, financial, personal, political — who can one turn to for good, solid advice? Not just lip service, but the kind of advice that is both objective and practical. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a wise old aunt who offered solutions to all of life’s problems?
Author Christopher Rush lends us the use of his great-great-aunt Elspeth Marr in Aunt Epp’s Guide to Life. She was born in 1871, and though married, she never had children. With no progeny to share her wisdom, she wrote letters to an “unnamed young girl” full of advice on everything imaginable.
When I grew up, I really knew only one of my aunts, my mother’s sister who would give such good advice as “Never buy anything made in Japan. Those people tried to kill your father.” At the time, everything cheap (which was everything a child could afford) came from Japan, nothing came from China. All those things my aunt didn’t want us to buy are now collectors’ items in someone else’s collections. So much for good advice. By the way, living near New York City, I got to meet many Japanese people. None of them knew who my father was.
Perhaps if I had someone like Rush’s Aunt Epp to guide me, my life wouldn’t be what it is today. Of course, that would be bad since my life is as close to perfect as anyone’s life could be. Nevertheless, Aunt Epp offered heaps of great advice, recipes, tips, and information that still serve us well.
Can you think of someone who might have benefited several years ago from this bit: “Golfers. Never marry one. The golfer is extinct from his waist downwards and from his neck upwards, the main portion of him being concerned with placing his shot in the hole as fast as possible." This sage advice goes on, "Precision, not passion, characterizes the golfer. A most uninteresting specimen, with a colossal lack of soul.”