Monday, June 19, 2006

Uncle Bill

Uncle Bill, my dad's older brother, died this morning. He'd been afflicted with emphysema for a number of years and had recently entered hospice care, so it wasn't a great surprise, but still... He was 84.

I never knew Uncle Bill all that well. He and his family lived in Denver, while my family lived in L.A. He struck me as being quite like my father: reserved and quiet, but also smart and funny. Any time one of us kids asked Dad a question he couldn't answer, he'd say, "That must be something your Uncle Bill knows." He claimed that between the two of them, the brothers knew everything in the world. Since we weren't in the habit of phoning up Uncle Bill to test this statement, we had to take Dad's word for it. Now that both Bill and Dad are gone, there's a great void in the world's wisdom.

Uncle Bill hung onto all the family possessions, and I mean all of them. I once asked Dad if he had a high school yearbook I could look at, and he told me Uncle Bill had it. I never understood why my uncle would keep his younger brother's yearbook. He also kept his mother's living room suite for decades after my grandmother died, and he wouldn't let my aunt replace it with newer, nicer furniture; my mom always thought this was mean of him, but I think he was trying to hold on to something that was important to him.

Uncle Bill's birthday was April 23, the same as Shakespeare's.

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