Tuesday, July 13, 2010
This year has been a bit hard on my family. I've lost a cousin and two uncles on my father's side and now an aunt on my mother's side. At the last memorial service I attended for my Uncle Dennis, I made it a point to say something about other members of my family, memories and such. I am unable to be in Utah today, to say goodbye to Aunt Abbe. So, I'm going to dedicate my little corner to my Uncle Mike. I'm going to share a few memories with anyone that stops by.
Uncle Mike...what a soul. I remember the old brick house in Saguache. The one with the toy box that was full of metal trucks and the spider web in the corner. The old brick house had a playhouse that my mother and Uncle Dirk built (with the help of Grandpa) that would later show up in my backyard. Uncle Mike used the playhouse as his "bike shop." I don't remember his room at that house. I must not have been as nosy when the family lived there. I do remember his dog, Peggy a lively Boston Terrier. Peggy would race out to meet us when we arrived from the LONG drive over from Salida. She would lick, lick, lick and Uncle Mike would scold her from doing so. I remember Mike trying to juggle oranges in the kitchen at the old brick house and dropping them on the floor. I remember him helping me hide Grandma's brush one Saturday morning. I was a tomboy with long hair, who had a Grandmother who was a hair brushing Nazi. I don't remember much more about the old brick house.
I had more memories of the big house. Not jail, but the house that was just an alley walk away from the theater and main street. The big house had a big yard and a big garage. I remember Mike's room in the big house, with the corner window next to the lilac bush. It was this room that held icons like wing tip boots, pink shirts and Juice Newton records. Standing in the door of his closet one evening, Mike showed me a pair of Nike sneakers and tried to convince me that someone misspelled his name. Uncle Mike use to play dress up with me at the big house. He never wore dresses but would turn a denim jacket and Grandma's lipstick into a number of characters. He was very talented. He would climb trees with me and help me find treasures in the ditch out front. He allowed me into his sanctuary above the garage and shared MAD Magazines with me. It was in the big house that he was caught on camera playing with my fancy Holly Hobbie paper dolls. We made plain paper into TAXI signs to put on Grandma's big yellow car. I remember Pop teasing Uncle Mike each time we sat down to dinner at the big house saying, "Come sit down Mikey, your momma will cut your meat for you."
When I was very young, about four years old, my neighbor Aaron Davis had a flashy new bike. The bike was painted with several different colors and had streamers hanging from the handlebars. I was in awe of the bike. I showed Mike the bike and told him how cool I thought it was. Mike said he could get me a better bike, with brighter colors and better tires. I said I wanted an orange and yellow bike. Several weeks later, I got a flashy bike with streamers from the handlebars. It was painted yellow and orange with solid rubber tires. Mike had taken and old bicycle and fixed it up to my specifications. It was my first bike and still my favorite. I guess it only fitting that Uncle Mike would help me graduate from bicycle to car. When I was fifteenish, Grandma gifted the fabulous baby blue Chevy Corvair to me. I was fretting about the manual transmission one afternoon, so without thinking it through Mike offered to teach the finer points of a "stick shift." For several months a couple of days a week after school and work he would patiently putz around town with me. He even let me drive his Toyota truck a few times. He shielded me from annoyed drivers flipping the bird at me because I couldn't get going from stop signs on uphill slopes. He showed me how to drive, shift and eat an ice cream cone at the same time. This would prove to be a needed skill when my cousin Amanda and I would cruise around town. I remember his cat Elvira and when he worked at Gibson's. I remember when he had hair. We went to the theater in Salida one evening, I was about jr. high age, at the end of the picture Marti Norby and her friend asked me if he was my boyfriend. When I said no, they commented on how cute he was and asked if he went to Salida High. It was interesting.
I've many other memories; high school wrestling, a nickname of Mouse, a short lived accent after working on a harvest crew, eating bowls of cereal together, his upset look when my Skitty Kitty slapped Peggy Dog.
My Uncle Mike, he's an awesome uncle.