My favorite times during my childhood were at my grandmother’s house in West Hartford, Connecticut. We’d go at least one weekend a month and during my summers growing up, I’d spend extra time there with my sister. My Uncle Joe, and all my aunts and uncles, were a part of those times. He and my Aunt Lorraine, his wife, took us to Mystic Seaport and it remains one of my favorite childhood memories. All the beautiful animals and lunch by the water giant ice cream cones. I remember his deep voice and laugh, his love for baseball, and how much he loved his family—especially his daughter and grandchildren, my cousins.
Uncle Joe was as kind and loving as he was brave, tough, and smart. He was in the Navy during World War II on a ship in the South Pacific. After he came home, he became an engineer and worked hard all his life. He could fix literally anything. He took such excellent care of my grandmother, who was his older sister. To be honest, I think he was her favorite person. He visited her several times a week every week during her whole life. Checked on her. Helped her with anything she needed. She loved having him visit. That was just the kind of person he was. He helped everyone, and everyone loved having him with them. He was a wonderful role model.
We lost him this week, the last member of his generation in our very tiny family. My grandmother’s birthday is this coming week. She would have been 101, and I miss her every day. I’d like to think that somewhere, for her birthday, she’s getting to be with her favorite person again. RIP, Uncle Joe.