Monday, April 25, 2011
A - Z Challenge: Uncle
Through no fault of theirs, these two uncles were remote men who lived on the other side of the country in a time when travel wasn't as convenient as it is today. I knew them as characters in stories that my mother told me from when she was a girl. And there were a few - very few - photos. In recent years, there have been more and more photos surfacing as estates and the old photos are sorted. And there were, of course, letters. My mother carried on a constant correspondence with two of her older brothers. While they may have seemed faraway to me they did take an interest in their sister's children.
My children had a much closer relationship with their uncles. These men were nearer, geographically, which I'm sure, made all the difference. There were summer holiday visits and vacation trips with cousins. My kids' uncles were always a presence in their lives - and still are.
The latest generation of uncle is no less close. I can't imagine being hugged like this by my uncles. I never saw those photos of them as young men until I was an older adult. They always seemed kind of starchy - probably a result of posing for photos. There would have been no baby-tossing for the men I saw. And, definitely, no sitting around in the summer eating hot dogs and having burping contests with my uncles. My sons see their nieces and nephews often. They get down on the floor and play. It makes me smile to see them together.
I often wonder if mine would have done that if they had lived nearby. Or would the times have dictated a certain distance for them as adult males? Maybe they would have just cried "Uncle!" if we had attempted to rough-house the way kids do now.