When I was a little girl, there was a very special man in my life.
My Uncle Bob.
Oh, he was a tall, handsome, funny, and loving man. He always made me feel so special, even when I became an adult. I think he made all of my siblings feel special, too.
He was a secure male role-model for us, the father-figure we all needed at that time.
He never yelled at us, always loved it when my Mother would take us to their little house for a visit. They never made us feel like we were a bother and we were always welcomed.
In fact, he and his family helped my Mom many times, as she single-handedly worked to raise her children with little income, sometimes bringing groceries or big boxes of apples or oranges at Christmas time.
Whenever we went over and I had a splinter, he would give me a whole quarter so that I would let him take it out. A quarter doesn’t sound like much, but at that time, you could load up on the penny candy at the store!
My sister Shelby recently confessed that when she knew we were going to Uncle Bob’s house, she would run her fingers over the wooden porch rails, trying to get a sliver. Sometimes it would work!
He would engage my sister Gwen in a game of checkers, using quarters as the game pieces, and somehow she always ‘won’.
And every now and then he would bring out the favorite toy. It was a wind-up Mickey Mouse that would play the xylophone, turning side to side, bending up and down, while arms alternated in motion. The most interesting and mechanical toy I had ever seen!
But what I loved most about going to his house were the music jams.
He would get on the old organ or piano, Aunt Mary would sit at the drums, and whoever else played an instrument would join in. The children were always encouraged to be part of the music. We gathered around, sitting on the floor, and played maracas, the triangle, the tambourine, and other percussion instruments.
The songs ranged from old traditional hymns, to fun old-time ones like “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea”. If you’ve never heard it, here’s a link. Be forewarned, it will probably be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but it’s a fun song!
There were big band favorites like ‘In the Mood’. Uncle Bob loved playing that one and would just let it go on the organ or piano. And my cousin Marilyn was always requested to sing “Teddy Bear”.
It wasn’t just the music that we loved, it was the special time of gathering together with family and finding joy even when times were hard.
When I asked some of my family to reminisce about the days at Uncle Bob’s house, there was one thing that stood out the most to all of us.
We felt loved.