Let me start, as most storytellers do, at the beginning. My mother is the oldest of three girls. My mother and her sister Stephanie (the middle girl) were adopted by my grandfather Charlie Czarlinsky when he married my grandmother. My mother was seven years old and my aunt Stephanie was three. Less than a year later the third daughter was born, Charlayn (pronounced Shar-lan...for those of you wondering where in the heck that name came from, it's part Charles and part JoAnn after my grandparents...yep...you read that right). I'll let you in on a little family joke...Charlayn refers to herself as the "real Czarlinsky." :)
So, Czarlinsky....hmmmmm....what is the origin?? I'll tell you...Jewish. My grandfather came from Jewish decent, and he owned a clothing store downtown (go figure). Another little family joke...the rest of our family refers to aunt Charlayn as the "Jewish princess!" :)
I must admit that there is nothing funnier than having all three of the "Czarlinsky" girls together in one room. They are all a HOOT! For those of you who know my mother and perhaps her two sisters you know exactly what I am talking about! The funniest part of it all is how completely different in personalities they all are...allow me to elaborate:
Jennifer (this is my mother): Socially graceful woman whose children always appeared to be freshly bathed and scrubbed no matter what time of day you ran into them (who else but my mother do you know wears Jones of New York and a full face of make up just to get the mail?).
Aunt Stephanie: We have to beg her to wear a bra when we go out in public. My grandmother's dying words to Stephanie were, "suck in your stomach and put on a little lipstick." I'm not kidding, true story!
Aunt Charlayn: Her dream job is to be a professional tanner...I'm serious, she's down with the brown!
When I was little I couldn't say "Charlayn" so I grew up calling my aunt, "Aunt Chan" (pronounced Shan). A few years ago she came home for a visit and she was so tan that my dad started calling her "Aunt Tan", it stuck. :)
Aunt Tan is who I secretly wished was my mother while I was growing up. Her idea of throwing a birthday party for her kids involved limousines, cirque du soleil and a cake straight from Martha Stewarts kitchen. Her idea of a home cooked meal was the drive thru of Kentucky Fried Chicken and taking it "home." Her "medicine" of choice when her kids were sick was shopping!She totally rocks!
Now, some of you while reading this post are thinking, "hmmmm....Aunt Tan, she's a compulsive shopper, she party's like a rock star, she thinks she's a princess....sounds a lot like Betsy..." That's my point...I think I'm a classic case of the old "hospital switchero!" I think St. Mary's switched mothers on me!
And so...to my Aunt Tan, whom I love so very much, I give you a prayer...one that fits you so perfectly:
The Lord is her shepherd, She shall not want. He leadeth her to Neiman Marcus. He giveth her energy for shopping. He restoreth her checkbook. He teacheth her to make restaurant reservations. He leadeth her past K-Mart for her own sake. Yea, though she walk by Target she shall not go in, for Thou art with her. Thy fashionable clothes they comfort her. Thou preparest diamond jewelry for her in the presence of her enemies. Thou anointest her face with Chanel cosmetics. Her cup overflows! Surely designer clothes shall follow her to the end of her days, and she will walk on Rodeo Drive forever!