R.I.P. Barbara Yaralli, 1929?-2007

I don't remember how old she was. She was around the age of my father's brother, Paul, who was born in 1929, which would make Barbara Yaralli around 77 or 78. She died yesterday at 5:30 p.m. in the States -- either in Indiana or Illinois, whichever daughter she was living nearby.I first remember meeting Barbara Yaralli when Yvette and Yasmin arrived on the scene -- sometime in the early 1970s, I think, round about the time when they all came back from Montreal, where they'd all been living till that time. I don't remember a time when they weren't living in the house on Jean Street, the fancy split-level house with the bedroom that looked out over the living room, and all the different rooms on different levels. When we were teenagers we spent plenty of time in that house, and it didn't seem to affect our relationship with Aunt Barbara in school -- when we were in the Music Room she was Mrs. Yaralli (or Misharali, as we called her), and when we were outside it she was Aunt Barbara. She took us all in, and we all hung out in her kitchen and dining room and living room and family room on their different levels, and ate from the pot she always had on the stove. Curry, or soup, or rice, but mostly curry, she fed us, and we loved her.Things change. We left school. So did she. She left teaching eventually, and opened a restaurant -- an Indian restaurant, which served curry. She closed the business. Yvette and Yasmin married American men, and moved away, to Indiana and to Illinois. She opened another business, making jams and preserves for the consumer market. She did fairly well on her own, but the house was too big. She sold the house and moved. She opened a little factory. She closed the factory. Then she sold the apartment and moved to the States to be with the girls.Yesterday, she died. Our teenage years died with her. R.I.P., Ba-Ya.Or, in the Bahamian way:Lay down, my dear sister. Lay down and take your rest.