I like books.


I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Uncle's Lover

So, I had a gay uncle. Well, he wasn’t my blood uncle; he was the uncle of my seven older siblings. But, he never made a difference between the three younger children and the seven older. So, he would come to visit during the holidays and always came to our house first and before he left town, he would spend at least one night with us. He smelled like spice and cherry cigars. His clothes were always perfect. Every year, he brought his friend, a man that my mom loved. She loved him, I think, because he sat at the kitchen table with her and drank coffee and smoked Pall Mall cigarettes. They talked about bread making and cakes and when he asked, which he always did, she would unravel the quilt frame from above her bed and she would show him her newest project. He even quilted with her and we all thought that was so funny, a man quilting.

My uncle and his friend always brought real gifts to us kids. By real gifts, I mean expensive and nicely wrapped gifts. Like one year, they brought me a walking doll that was as tall as I, and had a suitcase with lots of clothes. They also brought us boxes of oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines. They lived in California so they would pick up things there and bring to us, things that Mama might not be able to afford, and in return, Mama loaded them down with canned vegetables and homemade jellies. The year my uncle brought me the walking doll, he did a French braid in my hair and his friend jumped on him and said hair that long and dark needs to be braided like this, so he took the braid out and did braids down each side. He said I looked like Pocahontas. Mama scolded him but she let me keep the braids.

Anyway, as I grew older, I realized that my uncle and his friend were more than friends and after my mom died, and when they came to her funeral, my uncle had to be physically supported by his friend and that caused some of our other relatives to talk and soon I heard the word fag and gay and while I didn’t know what those words meant, I knew that it must be awful because of the way my other relatives said those words.

Then, when I was in my thirties, my uncle became very ill. He came back to Arkansas for his last visit and he looked awful and I knew that he must have aides. His friend came and I came to realize from that visit that the reason they came to Mama’s house and had so much fun there was because Mama treated them well and enjoyed their visit and enjoyed them. My other relatives, well, they were not so kind to my uncle or should I say uncles?

Their last visit caused a huge reaction in our family, and many of my cousins refused to bring their children around and I was scolded for allowing my uncle to hold my daughter and my son and I thought how freaking stupid. My uncles took me on trips and my brother and never was there anything inappropriate.

Well, my uncles went back to California and a year or so later, we learned through an attorney that he had died and all his possessions had been sold and the money split between all of us nephews and nieces, even the ones who were not blood related. It was a few months after the money came that I realized that my uncle’s lover had been forced out of the house by blood relatives. My uncle left a will, that was why the three of us non-blood relatives got a portion of his estate, but the part that left his lover the house, the business, and most of the money, that part was not enforced.

I still think about my uncle’s lover and wish things had not been like that for him. I even tried to find him, but no one knew where he went or who to contact. I’m sure he is dead by now, that was over two decades ago and he was old then. That’s why, every human being, who is of age, should be able to marry and have the protection of the laws both federal and state. I tell this to my fundie sisters and they all say the same thing. For some reason, they have forgotten that sweet friend of my uncle’s, the one who brought us nice gifts and made our mother happy and played games with us and was a part of our lives; the man who was the lover of my uncle.


Blogger Chaser said...

What a sad story. I am very sorry to read about the end. But how wonderul that you had these two terrific men around, and how fortunate your mother wasn't a bigot.

7:52 AM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

Thanks for sharing this story. You are so right.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Tasty said...

Thanks for the excellent story.

12:38 PM  

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