I usually stayed with Aunt Evelyn or Aunt Alma, Evelyn my mother's sister who had toys for me, and would take me to the Rose Garden on the bus. Alma who was my father's brother's second wife, who married in the year I was born, and who took me in when my mother had surgery when I was only two, delaying taking in Gigi until after I returned to my parents. Both took me for a week or so every summer, to my lifelong delight. Aunt Alma would take up bicycling later in life, and I would join her, riding the suburban streets and church parking lots, poodle running along. Aunt Evelyn lives in my thoughts to this day. Always.
Aunt Mary was my father's oldest brother's wife. A smoker, with a smoky smoker's voice. A large, loud woman with a lot of heavy dark furniture, very stylish 70's home, gold mirrored walls, black velvet paintings and all. She took me for a few days, one time. Very odd, as we were not close, although I had nothing against her. She took me shopping, and on my side trip to the toy department, usually a look-don't-touch experience, she talked me into actually getting (letting her get me) A Barrel Of Monkeys. This deeply miserly child, (with other's money, since I had none at all of my own) accepted a gift, very reluctantly.
Thing is, I really enjoyed it, over many years. Linking monkeys. In bright pink, admittedly. (Art and Mary were rich, by my standards.) It was a large barrel of monkeys. Always made me feel every so slightly guilty. Aunt Mary let me stay up and watch Beach Blanket Bingo with her, until very much past my bedtime. It was a strange visit, and to this day I'm not sure what to make of it. It was not repeated. She was kind, and took care of me, but I felt like I was imposing on a stranger in a very strange place.
I like to think she would be happy to know I remembered. Her daughter Carol was my only cousin on that side, much older than me, and I have no idea what happened to her. Also a smoker, and drank Pepsi like water, I was her flower girl for her wedding. No idea what happened to Carol. Large, hard women, with hearts of gold, and very unhealthy habits. I hope she's doing well.