On Thursday my Uncle Walt passed away. When I was 7 my mother had to be hospitalized for awhile so me and my 4 siblings were divided amongst relative. I was sent alone to my Uncle Walt & his wife, Aunt Mary. They were relatively still newlyweds at the time, not young, not old, just older than young. I lived with them for quite a few months, during the school year.
When I was 13 my family moved to South Florida. My Uncle Walt & Aunt Mary moved down there as well sometime after that. I loved going over to their place, finding peace and a classical sense of life when with them. “Classical” meaning, think “Classical music” as a general form for life. Music of that sort being important, church music, performance of voice, piano, organ, etc. A classy way of living, not base, not stuffy, not rich, not poor. Sane vs. the Insane home that was what I was from.
When I got married I asked my Uncle Walt to play the organ for the wedding. Maybe it would have been nicer for HIM to just attend, but I thought it an honorary position instead of having the stock church organist play. I later became friends with that organist, and he would have been great to have played at my wedding, but I didn’t know him at the time and was more than comfortable with having my uncle play at the event. I have always been glad I made that choice, and even more so today, since he’s gone from this Earth.
I hadn’t seen my uncle for quite a few years. He’s been cremated and I can’t attend his memorial service, and that’s alright. I remember him as a younger man, full of life and love of music and more.
My first big memory of him comes from the one-time I had a sleepover with my Grandma. I was 5 and a night at Grandma’s was a privilege which my older sibs had attained, and I was finally able to do it too. In this instance I had gone over and was in the kitchen with Grandma and my Uncle Walt was there too, eating spaghetti, winding it around and around his fork … he was eating alone because he was “going out” … I was facinated with the spaghetti winding around the fork thing, and there was a sense of energy & importance wrapped around him.
That was my one-time sleepover alone at Grandma’s … she died before I turned 6. When I was just turning or had turned 7 I remember sitting on the front porch of our house and Uncle Walt and his Mary coming up to the house, that exciting energy was emanating from them (getting married!) — who would have known that we’d be moving to another area of PA in just a few months, and that my Mom would be unavailable to us by the end of the year so we’d all be moved around the extended family, and I ended up having the wonderful experience of Uncle Walt and Aunt Mary all to myself! I suppose it’s my sort of thing from the start, part of a whole but very separate mostly. I loved them dearly. I hope to hug them both someday again.