Diary of a Mad Black DJ 213: Your Uncle was not my Dad.
What do y'all think about the new Instagram?
Very tik-tok-ish...but meta.
Okay, enough small talk...
I had an uncle that I saw almost every summer until I was 12. We would take trips to the coast of South Carolina at least once a month; in addition to staying with my Grandma Florence every summer until school started. (Yep, Grandma Florence is the "Flossie" in EllaMaeFlossie). Staying with Flossie (everyone called my grandmother Flossie-even the grandkids- I called her "grandma", of course, because I was the favorite- *stares at my younger sister in shade*), meant that we also got to see my Uncle every summer as well because he lived on the same land as grandma in Georgetown, SC.
My Uncle owned his own candy shop and could fix almost anything that needed repairing. He was hilarious and alway had a quick or quirky remark to any question or statement from me or my cousins. He even invented an imaginary monster called "the Claw", which would terrorize my cousins and I. "the Claw" was scarier that Freddy Krueger. My uncle would step into my grandmother's kitchen, unannounced, at anytime of day, and in the most refined geechee accent that you could imagine, boldly yell that "the Claw gone getcha. Mind now...".
My cousins and I would scream and "hide" together in plain sight. I still don't know how strong my Uncle truly was, but I was probably 8 or 9 when "the Claw" could no longer palm my entire head and lift me up into the air - screaming- as my cowering cousins all waited for their turn to meet the same "scary" feat.
I'd heard my uncle tell jokes; share intriguing stories and he even let me watch the candy store from time to time. My uncle was very present in my adolescent life. And I thank God for him.
A few months ago, my uncle passed away. As we mourned his legacy, which I assumed was finished, a few details about my Uncle's life began to surface. While overhearing a conversation with my mom and a family member, I became alarmed when my mom was asking about wiring someone some money. While lecturing her about why she can't send strangers money, family or not, she informed me that this person was not a stranger and in fact her nephew.
Say what now? Your nephew, as in my cousin?
How old is this person?
Where they stay???
Who his people???
Where did this person come from? Well apparently, my uncle had not one, not two but six kids. Not only was his legacy well populated, it was also ever evolving (for me, someone who did not know that he had any children).
How did this man go through life pretty much being a cool ass uncle and a deadbeat dad at the same time? He's the same guy? How could his behavior be so skewed? Did he not have resources? Did the military ruin him? I was pissed, distraught, confused and empathetic. I could not understand.
I still do not understand. As a card carrying member of the "sitting on the porch waiting for he who never shows up", I've also seen the other side of this coin. As well as the quantum side of the coin that speaks to my attachment AND detachment issues. It's more than I care to divulge at the moment in this journal.
But I will say... what the entire fuck?