I have a young niece.

Her birthday is tomorrow, July 15th.  Cassandra Michele is the only child of my late brother, Larry.  She never really got to know her daddy.  Oh, she met him a couple of times, but Larry had issues with his mental health and always thought she was better off without him.  Oh, how wrong he was.  But that is the not so happy story.

The happy part of the story is Cassi, herself.  When Cassi was just a little girl, she came from California to visit with us for a week or two for several summers.  Since we had raised three boys, having a little girl around was a delight.  She was an energetic, happy little jabber box.  Every day we would do some type of little craft, play card and board games and made meals.  In the evenings after dinner, shower and yet more games, Cassi would curl up in her little bed we made just for her in the loft of our condo with a Junie B Jones book and read until her eyelids began to lower into a happy sleep.  Some nights she would come to our room and lie atop the comforter and read Junie B Jones to her Uncle Bob and me.  This is one of my favorite memories of Cassi’s summer visits.Junie-B-Jones

Other evenings were spent with Tristan (3 years younger) spending the night or eating dinner at Little Anthony’s Diner watching Cassi and Tristan both slurping down their ice cream sundaes.  We had family dinners to celebrate Cassi’s visit and roller skating at the rink and special shows at the Gaslight Theater.  There was always a good time when Cassi came to visit.

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05 22 2012

And then she grew older and probably felt to “big” to visit her crazy aunt in Arizona.  And now?  Now, she is a stunning young woman wearing a Julia Robert’s smile and her hand clutching an adorable son, Oliver James, (James being Larry’s middle name).  I have gotten to watch Cassi and Oliver grow and have their own adventures through photos and social media messages.  I hope soon I will get to meet Oliver and to hug Cassi again.  Until then, happy birthday and wishes for the best ever year ahead of you.  I love you very much, Cassandra Michele Gdovin – you know that. Nothing you could do to ever change that.  Give that little mini-Larry a kiss from great Aunt Connie and tell him I will meet him soon!