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Aunt Pauline is probably the oldest relative that I remember meeting. Not necessarily age-wise, but generation wise. She was the sister of my maternal great-grandfather Julius Jared Pressley. Aunt Pauline and Aunt “Dolly” (the nickname for Margaret Elizabeth) were daughters of Richard Simpson and Philadelphia Isabella Evatt Pressley. Aunt Pauline was their youngest child.
When I was a little girl, we would go to visit Aunt Pauline. She lived in what had been her brother’s house (James Franklin Pressley). She lived in the same neighborhood where I grew up just a few streets behind our house. Her street was Vandiver Street. What I remember about her was it seemed like she was a hundred years old. She was a very sweet lady and I think she was one that helped instill the love of the elderly in me. She was also very forgetful. I don’t know if it was age, or Alzheimer’s, or if she, too, had a brain tumor like my Aunt Mae did.
I called her “Aunt” just like I did Aunt Rose (who was really my grandma’s first cousin), but I didn’t realize her true relationship to me until I was an adult and further into my family history research. I always just thought she was a sweet older friend of my mama’s. As a child, I didn’t realize that she really was my aunt. Many Southern children call older people aunt or uncle, even though there are no familial ties.
I remember once my mama gave Aunt Pauline a picture of me and my siblings. She put it in Aunt Pauline’s billfold for her. Aunt Pauline kept asking about the picture, where it was, etc. I didn’t understand at that point why she couldn’t remember. I have had much experience with these types of memory problems since then. My grandma Maggie, the daughter of Julius Jared Pressley, had Alzheimer’s.
Aunt Pauline was born 19 September 1894, never married, and died 14 December 1981. She is buried at the Silverbrook Cemetery, now known as the Old Silverbrook Cemetery, in Anderson, South Carolina.