Patsy Weiss was my father’s cousin, daughter of his Aunt Juanita
George D Schultz
This is a more or less eulogy that I’d written — and read at Patsy’s memorial service, in the summer of 2007. I am Old Hippie’s father — and Patsy was my cousin. This is about as much as I know about her — and we go back about 67 years:
Patsy and I go back a pretty good way. Like, 1940 – when she was born. I was eight-years-old.
I have the feeling that – by the time of her birth – her mother, my Aunt Juanita, and her father, Bob Lange, had separated. May possibly have been divorced by then. It had been a short-lived marriage – and I don’t think Patsy really ever knew her biological father.
Through Patsy’s first few years, my aunt’s life was rather turbulent – and I don’t think the child really had a home.
I don’t know too many of the particulars – but, Patsy was into and out of an orphanage or two. There were a couple occasions – neither one of which were all that extensive – when my Grandmother VilleMonte was caring for her. My Aunt Juanita and my mother were sisters. Grandma VilleMonte was their mother.
MY mother took in Patsy – when she was, maybe, three or four. I don’t really remember how long she stayed with us. I want to say three or four or five months.
When she came to stay with us, Patsy had been living in an orphanage – and she’d had a NUMBER of problems. For one thing, she’d hold her head down on one of her shoulders. It was my memory that it was always the same shoulder. I want to say that it was her left one.
I don’t know exactly when she stopped doing that – but, it went on for (I think) a number of weeks.
It seems as though … while Patsy was with us … my mother was always crying. I don’t know why. It puzzled me … even at the time. We were not all that difficult to take care of. But, Mother was always in tears.
Eventually, she gave Patsy up. I don’t know where the little girl went from there. I was only ten or eleven at the time, but I’d felt that it would’ve been best for her … had my Uncle Paul taken her in. He was my mother’s and my aunt’s brother. His home had ALWAYS been the model of stability – and my Aunt Genevieve was a SAINT! (Plus he had ALWAYS wanted a daughter.)
As for Aunt Juanita, when I’d come down with Rheumatic Fever – in December of 1941 – she came to take care of me. My mother worked, in those days. Patsy, of course, came with her. But … when my aunt left … so did Patsy.
I think that it was close to a year after they’d left … that my mother took Patsy in. For how-ever-many-months.
My aunt … shortly thereafter … married a man named Vincent Wiese. Uncle Vince was a good man … and he sired a son (Dennis) and a daughter (Jackie) with my aunt.
Patsy had always considered Uncle Vince to be her father.
He and I once attended a family function … his family … and he confided to me that Patsy had, at one time, climbed up into his lap and said, “YOU are my daddy”.
Vince was not given to emotional outbursts. That was the only time that I remember ever seeing him in tears.
The family lived in a tiny … dinky … house on Lenore Street for most of the duration of the marriage. I spent New Years Eve of 1947-going-into-1948 out there. And they’d lived there a couple or three years at that time.
I guess it was during those years that Patsy and I were at our closest.
I was in the Navy – beginning July of 1949. And for Christmas of 1950 or 1951, I’d bought her a doll.
I don’t remember exactly how I’d heard of it … probably a letter from my mother … but, my aunt had decided that Patsy was too old for a doll for Christmas. Patsy was 10 or 11 at the time. And I disagreed.
So, I’d had my mother get her a really nice doll. I was home on leave – and I’ll always cherish the look on her face, when I gave her the doll on Christmas Day.
From then on, we became kind of special. Every time our families would get together, Patsy spent the majority of that time … on my lap.
She kept the doll – in its original box – up in the attic of that little house. NO one could touch it!
Just as my kids always knew … without having to have been told (as far as I know) … that they shouldn’t touch my records, it was just as emphatic a rule that no one went NEAR Patsy’s doll.
We would see Patsy periodically throughout the rest of the fifties and into the sixties.
I remember that … before Christmas of 1958 or 1959 (I think) … when she was working for J.L. Hudson Company … the largest department store in ‘Beautiful Downtown Detroit’, she spent her November holiday marching in the Thanksgiving Day parade … which Hudson’s had sponsored for decades.
They’d paid Patsy time-and-a-half for the day … but, that wasn’t all that important to her. This was one of the proudest moments of her life … till then, anyway. And she REVELED in it!
Carmen and I had married in 1954 – and, from time to time, Patsy would babysit for us. And, of course, we would see her, from time to time, at various family get-togethers.
In the late-fifties … or early-sixties … my aunt and Uncle Vince divorced. Aunt Juanita married Uncle Ray. The latter was the father of Ray … our foster son. Patsy … who was around twenty-years-old at the time … stayed with THEM.
When we moved from Detroit to San Marcos … in September of 1962 … we kind of lost track of Patsy.
I can’t speak much to her life during those years. There had been a couple of occasions when we’d gotten back to Detroit – when we were living in Central New Jersey mostly. But, we never seemed to have gotten together with her during those years. Therefore, I cannot really speak to her married years. I’d never MET her former husband.
She moved to Houston in 1980. By that time, Aunt Juanita and Uncle Ray had moved into the Montrose area, down here. They were managing an apartment complex.
I’d invited Patsy to move in with me. She spent, probably, seven or eight months with me … before getting her own place.
We remained pretty much in contact … until my aunt and uncle moved to Phoenix. She followed them out to Arizona.
We seldom spoke on the phone. I really only remember one time … and it was after Uncle Ray had died … and just before Aunt Juanita passed on.
Patsy moved back to the Houston area shortly thereafter.
She lived in Porter for a number of years. It was at that point that she’d begun to encounter some serious health problems.
My oldest daughter, LaRee, became a God-send for Patsy. So did her oldest daughter, Christina.
LaRee GOT Patsy into a number of different … really nice … living quarter situations. Not an easy thing to do … considering the restrictions of the various federal programs under which she’d had to operate.
Over the last year-or-so of her life, my kids and grandkids … and my former wife, Carmen … ministered to Patsy … virtually on a daily basis. They were ALL very generous … in giving of themselves and their resources.
Patsy really HAD no family.
Her brother, Dennis, was burned to death in a TERRIBLY unfortunate accident … in 1978.
Jackie, I think, had seen Patsy only once or twice in the almost-thirty years since then. She was unable to come down from Detroit for this service.
So, MY family had become PATSY’S family … and I’m so PROUD of them.