Wednesday, April 30, 2008
What if you could have dinner with a man who was a spy during World War II? Or a man who had lived in India as a young man? I did. Hundreds of times. They were my uncles. Unfortunately, I didn't find out the interesting stuff until I went to their funerals! They just seemed like old men to me.
I liked my Uncle Don because he did magic tricks with quarters. Who'd guess he'd been a world-class tennis champion? Uncle Allen made scenery for the Nativity play we put on every Christmas Eve. I never knew he had been a spy behind enemy lines during the Battle of the Bulge. On D-Day his jeep sunk and he had to swim to shore. Movies are made from stories like these!
My Uncle Walt just died. One of his friends (an 80+ old gentleman) spoke at the funeral and said, "I always wondered how the ugly old coots got all the hot chicks." He was referring to my cute aunt. Then he said, "I just saw a picture of Walt as a 21-year-old sailor, and he was pretty good looking!" On the way out of the church I saw the picture, too. Wow! He was a doll! They married when he was on leave, and she immediately sent him off to war. I think I read a book like that once.
I saw my uncles every single Sunday for nineteen years, and then a few times a year for the next thirty. What a shame I never really talked to them! I knew them at the end of their stories, but didn't realize they had such fascinating beginnings. Those experiences were still part of them, and I missed out.
I'm going to listen a little more closely at the family reunion this year. They invite interesting people to those parties!
What are some stories you've heard from relatives? Are they written down anywhere??