Friday, February 15, 2008

Angels Among Us or Happy Birthday James Odell Aloysius Ellery

Today would have been my beloved maternal uncle's birthday - He's the stylin' dude on the upper left in the photo (the others are also my uncles). I honor him here for "his" day. He passed on about 7 years ago. I still miss him. My grandmother - his mother- had heard somewhere that people born on February 15th were prone to being a bit fey. Family gossip always said that grandmother tended to treat him a bit more cautiously because of that superstition. Grandmother, however, was also convinced that I had the seem wacky familial fey gene. Maybe that's why I was extraordinarily close to my mother's family while I seldom saw (or thought of) my father's rather bland, conservative side of the family! I digress.
My uncle was my "champion" - never thinking that I was looney - always supporting me and my crazy life adventures - both artistic & otherwise. He was always there for me with unquestioned love & approval - or sometimes maybe not approval - but with positive suggestions. James was eccentric to be sure. I loved that quality about him! Maybe that's why we got along. He tended to fly in the face of modern conventions & he eschewed keeping up with any sort of Jones' lifestyle. He always signed his letters with "illegitimi non carborundum"- it was a saying that kept me going once or twice! I never heard it anywhere else.
On the day that I got the call about my uncle's death I was at work & became (duh!) rather upset. My friend , Lauren, took me out for a bit of fresh air. We walked to the store down the street and entered through the back door. When we left the store, we went out through the front door. Right in front of me -scrawled in large letters with fat chalk - on the sidewalk were the words "illigitimi non corobundum "! I knew that my uncle had managed to find a way to come to see me after all. His love will always sustain me - on his birthday and every day. Happy Birthday Uncle Jim ! There really are angels among us !

1 comment:

Julie said...

I have just arrived here from the TIF blog. Your February challenge piece is lovely, curiously my February TIF is about my grandma as well. This post about your uncle is very moving. while you have your lovely memories the b******* will never grind you down :) How amazing and comforting that you saw that message that day!

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