Thursday, November 13, 2008

Goodbye Uncle Lloyd

My uncle Lloyd died on Tuesday. I really loved him and I wish I could write better so that I could express how deeply sad I am at his passing and how much I'll miss him, even though we seldom spoke and saw each other every few years.

He was always (and always will be) larger than life to me. Having settled in the LA area after World War II, he would come to visit us in Cincinnati once a year when he came to the midwest for the Worldbook Convention in Chicago. It was always in the winter and we'd all go to the airport to pick him up. I remember how his wool overcoat (certainly only worn once a year for that trip to the land of the cold) felt on my cheek as I snuggled next to him in the back seat on the ride home. We would usually not even make out of Kentucky to come home before he and my dad would have a heated 'discussion' about some political or religious issue neither would ever back down on. Sometimes I think that confrontation was something they both looked forward to -- a verbal step back in time to being 'brothers' .

We'd go to Graeters and Lloyd would buy a pint of chocolate ice cream and ask for a spoon -- I'd just wait for the look on the cashier's face as the realization dawned that he was just going to sit and eat it all.

He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face (and great dimples)! He had a beautiful tenor voice and I'd love to hear him singing scales as he got ready in the morning -- that always made Uncle Lloyd's visits real.

He'd send us See's suckers every Christmas and I can never see them without thinking of him.

Lloyd was one of the most passionately caring people I've ever known and was actively involved in the community well into his old age, working on Habitat houses and volunteering at food pantries. He was a champion of 'everyman' and every time he visited we'd hear about the new things he was involved in and the problems in the country he saw and most wanted to be solved. I have to admit that I got my first taste of Liberal thinking from my uncle Lloyd!

In my adult years he's always sent us lovely, long Christmas notes in beautifully hand-made and lettered cards, always signing them 'Lloyd Henry'. Each New Year's Eve we'd call him to say hi and catch up. I'm really going to miss that card and phone call this year!

Though he lived in California, he knew everyone we did (a strange thing to a little girl). He looked so much like my grandmother and my dad, yet he lived in an exotic place where Santa wore shorts and my cousins could go to the beach on Christmas day. He was one of us, but not exactly. When he'd come to visit and he and my dad & Ningle would talk about the people they remembered and the 'old days', I'd get a rare glimpse of my dad as a child and our family as a larger unit. Because he looked so much like them, having him around in the last twenty years was like having Ning and my dad back again long after they had died. With his passing, I feel like my last link with them is gone and I know that something precious has slipped away forever.

He was the only person in my family to call me Annie.


Charlie said...

Don't sell yourself short...very well written. I know that he was very special to you, and you'll miss him dearly.

mor-mor said...

That was a wonderful tribute to your uncle! His passing is truly the end of an era......thankfully you have all those sweet memories!!!

Cindy said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like a he was a wonderful man and a great link for you to your family. You have done a great job in memorializing, I'm sure he would be proud. Thanks for sharing him with us!

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