World of our fathers

Posted: May 26, 2018 in Miscellaneous

My Uncle Eddie died yesterday. He was about six weeks short of turning 94. He was the perfect uncle: sweet, generous, and willing to put up with anything. He also had a bottomless supply of terrible jokes. In English. In Yiddish. Terrible.

Eddie was one of that dwindling population of people who were born in the 1920s and who beat the Depression, beat Germany and Japan, and in the 1950s and ’60s beat the crabgrass in their lawns. He served in World War II as a meteorologist with the U.S. Air Force in North Africa. To hear Eddie tell it, all he did was ride camels and take pictures from planes. All the WWII guys I’ve known, including my dad and my father-in-law, talked like that. It was one big lark.

When I was a teenager and my parents and grandparents were wondering how I’d ever make a living if I grew up to be a writer, Eddie bought me a copy of Writer’s Market (which listed every market for every kind of writing in the USA and weighed about 10 pounds) because he’d met someone who was a writer and she said all writers should have this book. See? Perfect uncle.

Eddie, my Uncle Morrie (who died in 2010, age 89), and Dad were brothers, but as adults they weren’t often in the same room. Adult lives are busy and complicated. But I remember a moment 50 years ago in my grandparents’ old wooden house, in a hillside neighborhood in Fall River, Massachusetts, when they were talking together and I was listening when I noticed my Grandpa Sam, in his overstuffed chair to one side, smiling, the joy of seeing his children plain on his face. When I heard the news about Eddie, I was shocked, but as the memories flooded in, I smiled.

Every family should have an Uncle Eddie.

 

Comments
  1. Jerry Kaufman says:

    Beautiful. Thanks.

  2. Philip Dickey says:

    Beautiful tribute, Steve. I didn’t have an Uncle Eddie. I had some great uncles, but non quite like him.

  3. lindajordan says:

    So glad you have such happy memories of him. Sounds like a great guy!

  4. Aaron Lansky says:

    Gut gezogt! I agree, uncles didn’t come any better. I miss him already.

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