Sunday, February 09, 2014
I'm not much a crier. But I cried today when it washed over me how much I miss my uncle, and how much he gave me.
It was 50 years ago today. I was six. For some reason the clan had gathered at my Icky Grandma's house. I was getting bored and fidgety. My uncle suddenly rescued me from certain scolding by inviting me to join him on an errand. We ended up at Korvette's department store -- one of the few that were open on Sunday. I don't remember what we came for, but before we got in line to pay he was distracted by a group of young people. (He was, after all, just 21 at the time.) They were surrounding a card table. He guided me over there and we checked it out, leavng with a record for 99¢ and a free balloon. The record was "Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You" and the balloon featured a pictured of these four young men that none of us had ever seen before. We returned to Icky Grandma's and, as the family gathering broke up, he reminded me watch The Ed Sullivan Show that night so I could see what all the fuss was about.
The rest, as they say, is history.
If you read this blog at all, you know that I am a massive Beatle fan. He gave me that, and few things gave me as much enduring joy as The Beatles. But that's just one thing I am grateful to my uncle for. I remember him as always bringing fun and magic with him.
I do not believe in revising history. My uncle was not a perfect man. Frequently, he wasn't even a nice one. But he was always, ALWAYS good to me. He was my godfather and he felt a connection to me. This story, that began when he got me out of that house before I could get another stern talking to lecture just for behaving like a child, was a good indication. For my Icky Grandma was his mother, and he knew how soul crushing she could be.
He should be alive today. He should be on the other end of the phone as I call him at this hour (7:00 on Sunday night) and thank him for giving me the Lads, and everything else he gave me. Instead, his life was cut cruelly short by Parkinson's. Because his condition was no doubt exacerbated by service in the Army and his exposure to Agent Orange, and I am very, very angry right now.
I take some comfort in knowing I thanked him in life, and that from his unique vantage point in heaven, he knows how fondly he's remembered right now.