My Aunt Birdie
The genesis of this site is the story of an amazing family, of which I am proud to be a member. Aunt Birdie, as we always knew her, was my great-grandaunt, and I became her heir upon the passing of her third husband, George Hanna. As luck and Mother Nature would have it, Birdie and George were childless, so I became George’s namesake just a couple years before they passed on.
One of my earliest childhood memories was visiting Uncle George by the pool at the Hotel Green in Pasadena, California, where he and Birdie had a luxe apartment. My mother and I sat under the tall palms with George and enjoyed chilled eggnog whisked in a silver bowl by his nurse. Soon after he was gone, my parents loaded the ’57 Chevy wagon with George and Birdie’s possessions and headed home. It was an eclectic collection of faded Gilded Age finery—a German silver candelabrum with a broken arm, an oversized oil painting of a bouquet of long stem yellow roses, and a well-traveled steamer trunk full of Birdie’s stage and film memorabilia.
As the years passed, the old trunk became a world of fascination for my partner and me. The stories of Birdie are documented by her self-obsessed scrapbooks, and evidenced by wonderful studio photographs and personal items of dress and daily use—sterling oyster forks, red leather-bound volumes of Shakespeare, fine table linens, and her pince-nez. The trunk is a virtual time machine to be shared here with you. I hope this site entertains and educates, as my Aunt Birdie and Uncle George intended.