In memoriam: Aunt Donna
Earlier this evening, I learned that my Aunt Donna died. We weren’t actually biologically related—she was the sister of a longtime family friend—but for the better part of two decades she filled the “aunt” role about as well as anyone could ask. I will miss her friendship.
You may wonder why I’m writing about this here; this is, after all, a blog about stamp collecting. The simple answer is that, although not a stamp collector herself, Aunt Donna had a huge influence on my pursuit of the hobby. Indeed, had it not been for her support, I don’t know that I would be a collector today.
I first learned of Aunt Donna when I was a kid. It was either 1992 or 1993 when she started sending letters to me, and with those letters, stamps. Not just United States stamps, either, although there were plenty of those. One of the first things she sent to me was an Elvis souvenir sheet of nine stamps from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a country I had no idea even existed. If I had to point to a single event as getting me “hooked” on stamps, that would be it.
Over the nearly two decades between then and today, Aunt Donna and I exchanged dozens of letters. Our correspondence became somewhat less frequent as I went off to college, started my career, and got married, but we managed to stay in touch. And with most of those letters came a batch of stamps she pulled off mail she received, or some packet acquired through a mail order offer. I have no idea how many thousands of individual stamps she must have sent to me over the years.
Far more important to me than the stamps, however, is that Aunt Donna took an interest in me and my interests. To a kid, especially, there’s little that’s better than that. Her encouragement is a big part of why I collect stamps today, and by extension a major reason that Philosateleia even exists.
There’s much more that I could write, but I’ll just close by saying that I’m grateful for the influence Aunt Donna had on my life, and I look forward to seeing her again in the future.