Uncle Albutt Part 4

Uncle Albert had an interesting vocabulary.   Even when he didn’t get words right, he forged bravely ahead.  When his energy was low, he didn’t have much image.  When the doctor diagnosed him with emphysema, he referred to his ‘zema. Air conditioners were air positioners. He called my sister Phyllis, Phillips.  I liked that one.  I was Linder.  I didn’t like that quite so much. My mother Kathleen was Kathaleen.  He called Daddy “Willie”, his real name instead of Bill, the name Daddy gave himself once he left home.  Daddy cringed every time he was called Willie.  The only other person who got away with it was his mother.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be Willie, either.  For some reason, Daddy’s brother Parnell named his daughter Willie Carol.  She was a whiny, sullen kid, maybe because of that name.  It makes perfect sense to me.

On occasion, we saw some of Aunt Jewel’s relatives.  Her sister, Lucille, who incidentally had married one of Daddy’s cousins, had the hairiest legs I’ve ever seen, man or woman. The wearing of seamed stockings only made it more obvious.  A good proportion of the wiry hairs worked their way through the stockings, trying to escape, while the rest were imprisoned flat against her legs.  I don’t know which fascinated me more, the swirling mass of flattened ones, or the wild escapees.  I never got to look enough, and certainly wasn’t allowed to comment. Mother warned us off when she knew we’d see Lucille.  Daddy swore her legs had gotten hairier because she shaved them!  That just sounded nuts.  How would hair roots know a razor threatened?  He was death on leg-shaving, ascribing to the old wive’s tale that shaving made hair grow back thicker.  I don’t know what planet he was from that made his daughter’s legs, shaved or unshaven, his business, but Daddy thought he was God and his wishes,  commandments.  More likely, he may have feared he’d be stuck with his girls forever should we sprout hair like that.  Of course, Mother never volunteered the information that she shaved her legs.  I guess she didn’t want Daddy to know what was in his future.  Naturally, I shaved my legs as soon as I could get hold of a razor.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to get away from home.

Daddy’s methods did ensure he never had to deal with adult children boomeranging

home.  Times just didn’t get that hard.

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Uncle Albert and Aunt Jewel, the Lowdown

imageAs I got a little older, I found out Uncle Albert and Aunt Jewel weren’t dull; they were just worn out.  Besides that, Uncle Albert had a fascinating physical attribute Daddy slipped up and mentioned one day, to his later regret.  Uncle Albert had a tail!  From that moment forward, my brother and I stalked him, probabably the first nasty little, Continue reading

Uncle Albert and Aunt Jewel

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Uncle Albert and Aunt Jewel were dull as mud.  All Uncle Albert ever said was “Don’t mess with that!” or “That’ll fall on you.”  Normally, Aunt Jewell only coughed and told us to go play outside, but some reason I once spent an endless afternoon with her when she made a point to converse with me. I was impressed when she’d told me an acronym for spelling the word contents.  “Coons ought not to eat nuts so soon.”  Then she laughed, saying coons didn’t eat nuts, squirrels did.  The joke was wasted on me, but I was surprised she had the wit to think something was funny.  I’d never heard her laugh before.  Her incessant smoking made her rattly laugh sound like nails scratching on tin,  She also told me that if you hit the bottom when you were falling in a dream, you’d die, as well no matter how long a dream seemed to last, it only took one second to dream it.

I knew Aunt Jewel had split Uncle Albert and his first wife up.  I studied this dumpy, gray -haired, old lady who coughed every breath wondering how he could have possibly have chosen her over anybody else.  She whined, stared off in the distance, and never had anything interesting to say.  Her only vaguely entertaining attribute was that she’d strung Crackerjack prizes together on a leather strip which she sometimes allowed me to play with as long as I sat on the floor in front of her, though she was oblivious to all my hints that I really needed them.

That pretty much wrapped up my relationship with Aunt Jewel, except the time she fell out the back door.  Uncle Albert offered her a cigarette.  She cried saying, ” I want a smoke so bad but I’m too sore to cough.”  That was the first time I’d seen an adult cry.