|Rae Dulaney Lantz on left; Gillie Mae Hester Lantz in Middle; Irving Hester Lantz on right|
Today would have been Aunt Rae's 88th birthday. She was born as Rae Dulaney in Fulton, Mississippi. She married my mother's brother, Irving Hester "Bud" Lantz, in 1944 in Mobile, Alabama. After my uncle retired from his work at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, they moved back to Mississippi where I was able to really get to know them and their dog, Dutch! I always loved going to Aunt Rae's because she always had some kind of cookie and a Coke on hand that I would enjoy. We would go out and visit them at their home just outside the "city limits" of Greenwood Springs, Mississippi probably at least three times a month. (The sign was between their entrance to the semi-circular drive and the neighbor's entrance.) I would almost always play with Dutch and his "Squeaky" toy, which was some kind of rubber worm dog toy. My nephew Mike (although we called him Michael back in those days) enjoyed playing with "Dutch Dog" too. We'd play a geography game out there. Someone would go, "I'm thinking of an "M" in Arkansas." People would guess - "Mountain Home." Wrong! "Marvell." No! "Murfreesboro." Wrong again! "Mt. Ida." Yes! It's your turn. We'd play and play. I'd study maps between visits so that I could learn some more little towns on which I hoped to be able to stump my well-travelled Uncle Bud (or even to learn some of the places he might use; I just hoped he didn't get around to trying any of those places in Germany on us.) She was a special aunt. The photo above was taken on my grandmother's 96th birthday, just a little over two weeks before she died.