POSITIVE THINKING RULES
My Aunt Mackie, Maxine Nowell, was born in 1919, the year that Women got the right to vote! It was also the year of the Volstead Act: Prohibition. And, the year that Felix the Cat first debuted in Feline Follies, creating the first cartoon.
However it was not until 1952, at age 33, Aunt Mackie was most influenced. It was the publication of Norman Vincent Peale’s book: The Power of Positive Thinking.
Oh yes, she did brag about being born the year woman got the right to vote. But it was her positive energy that powered her and embraced those around her. Her hugs shot through me where the hurt dwelled. My hurt would disintegrate into ashes around my feet. I knew she knew. I knew she knew my mother was crazy. I knew she knew I was alone, abandoned. Aunt Mackie worried about my unkempt looks. She washed, curled and permed my hair, to match her daughter, Julie’s, Toni doll. She took me shopping, out to lunch. I felt like a little princess.
When I was with her, I noticed she complimented people along the way. “What a beautiful dress.” “Oh, what sparkling eyes.” “What a gorgeous man you are.” “Look at his muscles.” “What a smart girl you are.” “Look how talented.” And especially for me: “Sharon, you must write the book you were meant to write. I regret not writing my book: Thirty-three Days at Sea, Seven Men and Me. You must tell the stories that your mother left you. No one will believe them.”
And I did. I wrote my memoir; How do You Grab a Naked Lady? And rushed to complete it because I knew her health was waning. In September 2012, I read her some chapters. She clapped with glee: “Sharon, I knew you would do it.”
She passed away 4 ½ months later, March 6, 2013.
Aunt Mackie, thank you for your legacy. The legacy of Positive Thinking. Of never giving up on me. The legacy of your strength of womanhood. The legacy of being born the year woman got the right to vote. As Loretta Lynn sang: “We’ve come a long way, baby.” And I am thankful for women like you pioneering the way. I love you.