Uncle Joe

I attended the funeral of my uncle, Joe Carver, yesterday.  He passed away last Thursday, after I wrote my last bookworm, and honestly it has been the most prominent thing on my mind this week, so here we are. 

My aunt delivered the news by arriving at the library and saying my name as she trotted quickly to my office.  Needless to say I was immediately alarmed that anyone was calling my name, period.  Then, when I saw who it was, I came to a stop.  “Stacey, you need to come with me now.”  Hmmm, you cannot imagine what went through me in that moment, I immediately was concerned that something had happened to my parents.  I yelled out, “Just say it.”  Then my aunt knew where my mind had gone, “It is Joe.”  Relief poured through my body quickly trying to displace the mass quantities of adrenaline that had just flooded my every cell, sadness and shame finished the damage, all within seconds. 

My uncle was deaf, he had spinal meningitis when he was 9 months old and was lucky that his hearing was all that was lost.  Uncles and aunts were a very important part of my childhood, I was an only child, but I had 5 uncles and 5 aunts.  Family events seemed common place for my childhood, honestly, probably more so than it has been for my own children.  The Bolton’s met every birthday and big holidays and the Carver’s met every time Joe came home, plus all the visits in between, I have lived here most of my life, so I was blessed to spend a good amount of time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins.  Maybe it is just growing older that makes my childhood seem so great, or maybe it was just great because I had an amazing family. 

I learned things I never knew about my uncle this week.  I never knew he played sports in high school, and even though I always thought his wife, Janice, and him were a striking couple, they were even more.  “They became the “It” couple at MSD (Missouri School for the Deaf), he was the star football player and she was the homecoming queen.” My memories of Joe include taffy, a lagoon, Watergate salad, food in general and his father daughter dance with my cousin Jeannie at her wedding. 

I felt so many things during the visitation and funeral.  Seeing old photos of them all growing up in what could be called poverty, for sure, but full of love, determination and care.  There might not have been money, but that was the only thing missing.  Yep, money isn’t all it is cracked up to be.  Janice wrote a letter to Joe that was read to us all.  They had been married for 51 years, but he spotted her when she was only 14, childhood sweethearts.  Yep, our partners are so important and can be the people we spend most of our life with, a bond that can feel almost painful.  I wanted to grab ahold of John and not let go.  Jeannie talked about her dad being sick when he was a baby and the fact that she was also sick as a baby. She mentioned that my grandpa knew that God answered prayers of a sinner, because he prayed on his knees for Joe, she imagined her father did the same.  “There is something special about a dad and his daughter, especially when they are hurt or sick.” My dad was sitting beside me and he lowered his head, yep, he gets that.  

I snotted and cried more than I imagined I would.  I also laughed and enjoyed my family, a common thing for us at funerals a.k.a. unplanned “family reunions.” 

My family didn’t master sign language, only the alphabet and we were excellent at charades.  Notepads were also important; it is much easier to write then to sign each letter of the word.  Jeannie had a notepad for us to write Joe a note.  I almost didn’t do it; I just didn’t know what to say.  I put a little funny note about my taffy memory on my mother’s note and here I am today, writing to not only him, but all of us. 

Nope, not much library related this week, but I still wanted to share my week of emotions with you.  Now include whatever sentences of hope and encouragement you want to finish this bookworm, repeat it every day. 

Upcoming Events: 6/16 Summer Reading Program at 10am, 6/17 OUR Story at our new pavilion, 6/19 Saturday Story Time at 10:30am