Yesterday was a sad day for our family as news spread of the passing of Uncle Bob, so once again, our family will gather to say goodbye to another one of us. He leaves behind three children, nine grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and a very devoted wife—Aunt Peggy, the other half of that dynamic duo. In just five months, they would have been married for sixty years. That number alone speaks volumes, so this will be most difficult for her. Everyone else will leave his funeral to return to their husbands, wives, and children. She now has to face an empty home and figure out what happens next.
For Grandma, she is now the last one standing in her family. Since the death of her brother, Larry, eighteen years ago, she has had to sit through the final farewell ceremonies of her mother, father, three brothers, her sister, one niece, one nephew and two great-grand nephews. Now it will be her brother, 4 ½ years her junior.
That is the price of her longevity—watching one by one as her family and friends go before her. The flip side is the joy of watching all of her children become parents and her granddaughter becoming a mother. Like Uncle Bob, she has proudly witnessed her grandchildren become college graduates. This is a particular point of joy since both of them grew up in an era when it was common to have parents who did not even graduate high school.
So now we will all gather and remember Uncle Bob and share our memories of him. Many of us recall going to the Firemen’s Fair when Uncle Bob manned the nickel tent. That’s where you threw nickels onto Boontonware plates, the prize being a dish or a plate that you could take home to place in your kitchen cabinet. We would hand Uncle Bob a quarter, and he would hand us back a dollar’s worth of nickels.
As I mentioned before, Uncle Bob’s house was where I first saw the Wizard of Oz in color. Those were the days when a color TV in your house was a luxury more than the norm.
He and his twin, Uncle Don, were always full of the devil. They did everything together, including having heart attacks within days of each other. Talk about competing for attention in the family! I remember both of them as always having a story to tell, and a smile on their faces. I remember Uncle Bob, with a sly grin on his face, questioning my cousin Nancy for details of her honeymoon. He loved being a tease.
And I remember his hugs. He sure knew how to give great big loving bear hugs! That is my last memory of him. Dad and I stopped by his house, we chatted for a while about this and that, and then when it was time to leave, I got the hug. I will miss that smile and always remember the hugs.