Daily Update: Uncle Bob
Everyone has that one crazy uncle. Some uncles are more crazy than others and some are literally crazy. I’ve got Uncle Bob.
For several years my dad was legal caretaker of Uncle Bob. My dad would tell me stories and some I may share here at some point. The reason Bob is on my mind today is because I read a study about paranoid schizophrenia. My uncle falls into this category.
I remember the first time I met Uncle Bob was at my Uncle Ray’s funeral. My Uncle Ray had been murdered. He was a newsman in Duluth and a small time actor looking to make it big. He had gotten sprayed with mace and as he chocked to death, someone had robbed him. I was only six or seven at the time and I had never met any of my uncles so it had almost no impact on my emotionally.
*note: It wasn’t until after my father’s death that I began having any contact with his side of the family outside of Uncle Bob.
After the funeral, my mom, brother, dad and his new wife at the time, and Uncle Bob all sat down to lunch. This was the first funeral I had gone to and I honestly don’t remember anything about the funeral service. What I remember is this skinny gentleman with greasy, bleach-blond hair shaking my hand. His voice was rough and strained and his skin much darker than my father’s.
*note: My father was 5/8th Native American
We ate lunch and little conversation was had. My mother and father, though divorced, were still very much friends. For me it wasn’t awkward and I was happy to see my dad. He lived in the cities and I lived up in Northern Minnesota. I have gone to the wedding and it was nice to see his wife again (I never called her mom even though I lived with my dad and his wife as a teenager).
By the time I was eating a piece of pie for dinner, Uncle Bob decided it was time to dispense some age old wisdom to my brother and I. I know he told us several stories, but only one really stands out in my mind.
“Have you ever seen the Incredible Hulk? It’s a great show, you know. If you don’t watch it, you should. You can learn a lot from the Incredible Hulk. But I need to tell you something about that show. It’s not real. Do you know how I know it’s not a real show? I’ll tell you. You know when David Banner wakes up on a park bench and his hair is perfect and he’s clean shaven? I’ve been there before boys. It doesn’t work like that. That’s only on television.”
I think it was at this point my father decided that lunch was over. I wouldn’t see Uncle Bob again until I was sixteen. When my brother and I moved to live with my dad, he told us many stories of his childhood and some of the things he had to struggle through growing up. Does it surprise me that I never met his side of the family? No. It saddens me that I never got to know them. I’ve only ever met Uncle Bob even though my father was the youngest of 7 (I think). Oh the stories of Uncle Bob off his medication.
I could fill a book with stories I’ve been told about Uncle Bob over the years. I barely know him, but I love him all the same. I hope to share more about him in future posts.