Aunt Bernice was married to my Uncle Hershel Dean. My fondest memories of her were the times we visited them while in Sumatra, Florida at their hunting lodge, an old Victorian house in or near, Tate’s Hell, their little newly built home in Tallahassee, Florida, and the little lake cabin located on the banks of Lake Talquin, located between Quincy and Tallahassee, Florida.
Yes, Aunt Bernice and Uncle Hershel moved around, because they “lived”. They followed their dreams and trials. They were not afraid, in my opinion of trying different things, testing their ideas and dreams, and they loved their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Uncle Hershel was probably more like the grandfather I never had.
Aunt Bernice, well she had the most beautiful things, through my eyes, a child. There seem to always be ribbon candy in an elegant glass candy jar on her coffee table, ornate flatware for dining, a very modern stove that anyone can imagine with Guardian cookware to match. Her shoes were fashionable leather high heels, with purses to match, she wore beaded earbobs, and her shoes and purses matched every outfit I saw her in, even down to her sweet calico aprons when she was busy cooking all the catfish and bream we caught on Lake Talquin, or in the roadside ditches of Sumatra, Florida. Aunt Bernice was a lady, elegant no matter where she was.
Not only do I remember her colorful shoes and purses that matched her clothes, I remember her treasure chest of wonderful costume jewelry that complimented all her outfits. I couldn’t have been more than 9 to 11 years old when we would visit the Lake house. In order to keep us kids occupied with something interesting to do, on days that the weather didn’t permit our swimming or fishing in the lake….she would pull out her jewelry box and let me play with her baubles. Uncle Hershel provided us with tons of note pads with Ring Power logos and decks and decks of card games such as Rook. So much like a treasure chest, the Lake house was. My siblings and I would stay spellbound for hours, until our family visit was over, and time to load back into the old blue Plymouth 2 door and make our way back home to Quincy.
Uncle Hershel and Aunt Bernice provided the most wonderful comfort zone for children. They loved, and I hope they knew how much we loved them. They provided some of the most wonderful memories I have of growing up in rural North Florida. They took adventures and encouraged their nieces and nephews to also.