Posted by: foodtalker | May 14, 2010

my uncle terry

My uncle Terry died recently.
I really didn’t know him. Infact he was a stranger to me.
The youngest brother of my mother’s family of six. Four brothers, a sister and my mum.
Mum’s the only one left now.
She lost her only sister in the Second World War.
Eileen was fifteen. She’d come back to London from evacuation in the countryside to “help out”.
On her way to work, one of those big red London buses took a direct bomb hit.
She died from gangrene. Aged fifteen.
My mum has a sepia photo of her.
My uncle Terry was four when he was evacuated.
Sent off to be raised and protected by strangers. I’m sure there wasn’t time to check credentials, make certain he was going to a nurturing environment.
What a haphazard world it must have been.
Family units shattered, scattered and strewn about like dandelion seeds.
He died recently. I know I’ve said that.
He never married. No children. He really never left home.
Living with his parents until Granddad passed away and then with Gran.
When she died, he just stayed on.
A small modest home in the East end of London.
I’ve not been there for over thirty years but it seemed small back then, and very modest.
Heating wasn’t central. It was in each room.
Little built in gas fire units that had to be individually lit.
A downstairs loo with a pull chain.
My Gran had a feather mattress.
We never saw inside Terry’s room.
It was only recently that a phone was installed.
Although, as his dementia progressed it was something that puzzled him as much as offered a line of comfort to the outside world.
Terry was a carpenter. So I’ve been told. I saw a picture of him recently in his overalls.
He belonged to his union.
I know he gave me his guitar when I was a teenager.
I guess I was inspired at the time to be Joan Baez or Carol King.
I mastered a few tunes. I learned to strum, and could do a pretty decent rendition of Eric Clapton’s “House of the Rising Sun.” Not much after that.
But my enthusiasm must have been such that I talked him out of his guitar.
I know I never played it for him, and now, when I come to think about it, I’m not sure I even thanked him.
My Uncle Terry worked hard all his life and then he died.
My mum is sad because she feels he never “got his fair shake”.
Did he have the same view of his life? I couldn’t say.
I know nothing much about him.
He’s named me as a beneficiary in his will.
My uncle, a stranger really, just loosely bound by thinning blood.
He worked, and then he died and left a piece of his everything to me.
No second chance at belated gratitudes.
It’s just that blunt.



  1. I have come to believe what may seem empty to some is unbelievably full to another. Others circumstances spark us to examine our own.

  2. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


    • Appreciate you stopping by and leaving an encouraging comment. Thoughts are released to land where they may.

  3. Time
    Time is too slow for those who wait
    Too swift for those who fear
    Too long for those who grieve
    Too short for those who rejoice
    But, for those who love –
    Time is eternity.

    This made me think. very well written.

    • Thank you. I very much like your quote.

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