I met her as my husband and I headed down to Destin, Florida, for our honeymoon. She and her husband lived in Macon, and had recently sold their business, Anderson’s Equipment Company. With plans to retire in Florida, their home was full of boxes and was in disarray.

It didn’t matter to either of them. They welcomed us with open arms. Her name was Rosamond Hatcher Anderson, one of the five beautiful Hatcher sisters out of Hartford, Alabama. She had a soft lilting voice that had Southern belle written all over it with steel magnolia thrown in for good measure. Her hair was reddish and was put up in a bun on the top of her head. Her blue/green eyes sparkled and she had a wide mouth which was in a perpetual smile.

I loved her almost immediately. She became my aunt that day as “Andy” Anderson became my uncle. They were a striking couple. Aunt Rosie looked like Katherine Hepburn and Uncle Andy like Van Johnson, both well known performers of the 30s and 40s.

Bill had warned me that Uncle Andy would probably want to get out his projector and reels to show off family vacations. After over three hours, Aunt Rosie finally told him he needed to put it away. I think Bill and I had fallen asleep, but not until I saw reels and reels of people fishing, eating oysters on my mother in law’s front yard in Georgia, Bill and others water skiing, people shopping at roadside stands, people coming in and out of their business which sold boats, yard machinery, boat motors, and more. I mean, you can only “ooh and ahhh” over so many boats and motors…and people skiing although Bill was a really good skier.

Through the years, we spent part of our vacation with these dear folks down in Chassahowitzka, Florida. They had a place right on one of the crystal clear canals that was home to manatees, mullet, and all manner of aquatic life. Uncle Andy would get out their boat and we’d head out to the Gulf of Mexico to fish or just ride around. One of my favorite photos of us is when we were on the boat and my sister in law, Susan was with us. Uncle Andy is steering and Aunt Rosie, Susan, and I are sitting in front. Bill was the photographer.

We spent Hatcher family reunions in Centre, Alabama every July for many years. One particular reunion, Aunt Rosie wanted to act as an interviewer and she went around with a make-shift microphone asking questions. My mother in law, Evelyn Hatcher Brooks Causby had just about enough of being interviewed, and when Aunt Rosie asked her if she had anything to add, she looked her in the eye and said, “No, I think this is sufficient.”

When Uncle Andy passed away in the late 1990s, Bill and I decided to take a western road trip and invited Aunt Rosie to go with us. She was about 83 and amazingly spry. At the time she was living with her daughter and son in law in Dilliard, Georgia. We picked her up very early in the morning and headed out with our two youngest sons, Hayden and Hartwell. Our excitement was palatable.

We all had places we wanted to experience. Aunt Rosie’s was the Great Salt Lake in Utah. She had always wanted to see it and stand in it. and she did. I have wonderful photos of her with the biggest grin on her face standing in that lake. What wonderful memories.

She walked through a casino in Las Vegas saying, “Ooh, sin city. I’m in sin city.” She wanted to see the restroom in that casino and she did and did it justice, too.

We stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon and she said softly, “Who would believe that a girl from little Hartford, Alabama would be standing here looking at God’s handiwork?”

On a trip in 2005, only Bill, Aunt Rosie and I went West. We visited the Avenue of Trees in northern California and marveled at their splendor. Aunt Rosie whispered the whole time we were there. She thought we were in a sacred spot. I agreed.

We stopped at a Walmart in Astoria, Oregon and Aunt Rosie asked a clerk where she could find some “cainda.” I knew what she wanted. He stared at her and said, “What?” She repeated it several times. I finally took pity on him and said, “She wants some candy.”

Aunt Rosie passed away at the age of 98, three years ago on March 10. I miss her. I miss her presence on this Earth. I miss this perfect rose … our Aunt Rosie.