I never really liked you all that much

Yesterday I called my Uncle Jim's house and left him a message. I didn't even know if he'd be able to listen to it; I wasn't sure if he was alert or what.

I told him that despite the COUNTLESS TIMES he scared me by leaping out of the bedrooms at Gramma's house, he had been a good uncle.

Certainly I have told you about how he used to scare me, haven't I? I think I have. But if you haven't heard the story, here it is.

Every Friday night, I would spend the night at my grandmother's house, and because my uncle is only 10 years older than me he was always there, too. You can imagine how it pleased him, being the BABY of the family, suddenly having my cute self (and I was cute, I am sorry) always over there every Friday night, my grandmother getting all excited that I was coming over, and so forth.

Cute
(You do not even want to know the nightmare this was scanning this in. The picture is like the size of a walnut. I think it came from a contact sheet. So it scanned all crooked. At the back in the flowered blazer is mom, in the bangs is Aunt Mary before she knew about QVC, then dad in his tie, then my grandfather, then Grammy, and my cute self. I look a little drunk.)

Gramma–who was from the other side of the family and why I showed the photo above is beyond me except it was the only one of me being little I could find–would buy all my favorite treats, and I'd get to watch my favorite shows (specifically The Brady Bunch, and seeing as there were only two other channels to choose from I cannot imagine what other dreck my uncle wanted to see instead. I mean, what else is there?).

One thing I really liked was peanut butter and marshmallow creme, all swirled up in one jar. Do you remember that?

Fluffjif_1

That sounds delicious to me right now. At any rate, Uncle Jim would be so annoyed that I was coming over that he would eat the entire jar of peanut butter and marshmallow before I got there.

But the REAL thing he would do to torture me is he would scare me. Gramma had just one bathroom, and it was upstairs. Most of her kids had moved out, so there were lots of dark sort of abandoned bedrooms up there. The whole vibe at night was creepy. If you were going up there to go to the bathroom, you had to really mean business. I mean, you had to have had several cocktails.

Okay, I was four or whatever. I'd had no cocktails. But a lot of Tang had been consumed. I'd psych myself up. "Okay, I'm gonna run up there, do my thing, and maybe I'll even wash my hands down here, in the kitchen sink. Can I stand to have germs that long? Okay. It's a plan."

Now, Uncle Jim must have also felt the spookiness of the bathroom at night (by day that bathroom was delightful. Squishy toilet seat, a breeze moving the curtain in the window, a crocheted hoop-skirted lady covering the spare toilet-paper roll. It was only at night that eek!). Because what he'd do is, he'd wait till I came out of the bathroom and he'd

LEAP!

out of one of the dark scary abandoned bedrooms and

"ARRRRRR!!!!!"

scream at me

and I would flap my hands around and shut my eyes and

"GRAMMA!!!!"

yell for my grandmother and pretty much do everything he hoped for when he set out to scare me.

And he was so GOOD at it. He'd vary which bedroom he'd jump out of. Or sometimes he wouldn't leap at all, rather he'd just emit a low terrible growl from under one of the beds.

Even better, sometimes he'd LIE on the LANDING, arranging himself so he looked beheaded, rolling his eyes into the back of his head.

"GRAMMA!" Oh, I'd flap, flap, flap my hands. Being an only child, I had no semblance of cool whatsoever. I had no way to act not scared.

And sometimes he'd go a few weeks and not scare me at all. I do not know if he was that diabolical, if he was the Steven King of 14-year-olds, or if he simply was bored of scaring me. But just when I'd let my guard down and think it was okay to go back to the bathroom,

"ARRRRRR!"

I happen to know that even now, as an adult, he would sometimes scare my Aunt Sue. He would pretend to be asleep and when she'd come to bed he'd leap up and scream at her.

Really if you think about it it was kind of me to call him, wasn't it?

Anyway, a few hours after I left my message, Aunt Sue called me.

"June? Jim got your message."

I waited. You know what I wanted her to say? I wanted her to say, "Your Uncle Jim said to tell you he never really liked you all that much."

Now, maybe that is not the kind of message you would like to get from someone in your family. But that would have been just such an Uncle Jim thing to have said. Oh, how I wanted to hear that. That, or, "Your Uncle Jim said to tell you you're an asshole."

What she said was that he was able to hold the phone up, and that he nodded that he heard the message. So at least I know he heard it. At least I know I got to tell him that.

I should have said, "Uncle Jim? ARRRRR!"

As I was looking for a picture of me as a youngster I found this:

Jimnme 
It's from my high school graduation in 1983. I was about to turn 18 and Uncle Jim would be 28. Let's jam out to my mullet and what I'm sure I thought was a new wave shirt. I also enjoy Uncle Jim's Topsiders. And that damn cigarette.

I should have taken it out of his hand and stomped it into 250 pieces.

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Author: June

At one point, I was sort of hot, in a "she's 27 and probably a 7" kind of a way. Now I'm old and have to develop a charming personality. Guess how that's going.

45 thoughts on “I never really liked you all that much”

  1. I mean this as a compliment, you look like your grandmother. Not that you look like you are elderly, but I can tell that you are related. My grandmother had one of those crochet barbie doll toilet paper covers in yellow. Would you like me to see if I can find it and send it to you?
    June, I’m sorry you are going through this. I don’t know what to say, but again, you and your family are in my prayers.

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  2. Lindy, I take it as a compliment that you think I look like Grammy. She was my age in that picture! She just doesnt have naturally blonde hair like I do. Yeah, that is it. Natural hair. Also, I think her cat-eyes rock the house.

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  3. I wish things were better. I am so sorry for all that you are going through. I think we all share your love for Uncle Jim because of your wonderful posts.\
    You and your family are in my (and many others) prayers.

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  4. Your mom and dad both have such dark hair and there you are the bright, blonde sunshine of their lives! And yes, you do take after your Grammy.
    You have done a great job of honoring your Uncle Jim and sharing him with all the world. What a great tribute to him and how much you love each other!

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  5. Your Uncle Jim reminds me of my brother, Greg. Greg & my mom had me convinced for several weeks that I had a twin sister & they were keeping said twin captive under our house. Mom even took a picture of my brother in drag…wig, fetching top & skirt combo, fake boobs & all. I was probably 8 or 9. Good times.

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  6. I’m verklempt. And I will have to comment later because I now work for the Gestapo, apparently. Commenting via Kindle is too hard.

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  7. I’m verklempt. And I will have to comment later because I now work for the Gestapo, apparently. Commenting via Kindle is too hard.

    Like

  8. I’m verklempt. And I will have to comment later because I now work for the Gestapo, apparently. Commenting via Kindle is too hard.

    Like

  9. Uncle Jim’s porn star mustache takes me back in my time machine. I had one just like it (and dark brown, too). Here’s to good times. I envy you the family.

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  10. Thank you June for the message you sent to me today in your post.
    I am 10 years older than my nephew Bill. I will be paying him a visit today to tell him about your Uncle Jim, who is 8 years older than me.
    Then I will ask Bill about his damn cigarette.

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  11. When I thnk about Jim I also think about my father and your many birthday parties. They were both the funny ones who kept everyone laughing. My father really liked Jim as everyone did. They would stand around laughing, talking and smoking. Good memories and I wish we could have stopped them from smoking.

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  12. You were quite the four year old cutie pie, June! At least Uncle Jim waited until you were finished in the bathroom before scaring you. Now that’s love! I am wishing you and your family peace and comfort during this terrible time.

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  13. Oh! You do look like Grammy!
    Two days in a row I have cried while reading your blog. I wish I had been so lucky to have an Uncle Jim. I’m so sorry and I hope that you are finding some solace in your happy, scary memories.
    And? I think we are sisters. Did your dad have ramblin’ fever? If I can figure out how to work a scanner, I will scan in and e-mail a photo of me. Almost identical. I actually did a double take. Except I had blond hair. Just like yours now… naturally.

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  14. I’m still new to your blog, so forgive me if I don’t have the who’s who yet, but for the life of me you’ve got me really confused right now. In the photo you say, “at the back in the flowered blazer is mom”…I’m supposing you’re talking about the one on the far left. Question…how much older is she than you? She looks like a little girl in the photo. Seriously scratching my head here!

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  15. Sorry to hear about your Uncle Jim…cancer sucks. And I have to agree with Calamity Anne – is your mom about 10 years old? She had you really early huh?

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  16. June-
    That graduation picture takes me back, and makes me feel old. Good to see you from 1983 again though! It wasn’t a mullet!
    I wish I had met your uncle, he seems like one great dude. My similar aged uncle used to thunk me on the back on the head with his two fingers, and it hurt. To this day I flinch whenever he walks behind me! Must be their way of showing love.
    And yeah, should have thrown that cig in the blender.
    Lynn

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  17. I had an uncle that used to scare me with a coconut that my grampy brought back from WWII. It had a face. I think I’ll call him. (My uncle, not the coconut).

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  18. Good Lord have mercy you were a cutie in your pig tales.
    Peanut Butter and Fluff is my kiddos favorite sandwich, she eats them all the time.
    I am sorry you hurt. You are a good niece. Thank you for sharing your Uncle Jim with all of us.

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  19. Yes ma’am, you look exactly like Gramma, and those cat eyes are sa-weet.
    Tonight, maybe I will indulge in peanut butter and fluff to honor you and yours, and to satisfy a craving.
    Much love and many prayers.

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  20. Ok, back online. Stupid job. (Some jerk must’ve accessed a porn site or something and now we’re all on internet lockdown. Don’t they even CARE that I NEED my June fix? Jackasses.)
    I couldn’t see the pictures until now and Oh, June, you do look just like your Gram! (My daughter looks just like my mother and that freaks me right the hell out sometimes.)
    Cigarettes. My father had COPD. Had smoked since he was 12, was hypnotized when he was around 54? ish? to quit smoking and never smoked again, but the damage was done. And my stupid stupid stupid son smokes! I’m going to go smack him when I finish this comment.
    Marshmallow Fluff? Oh, June. Here we must part ways. Marshmallow Fluff is the devil’s ear wax. Bleh.
    And let me ask you this about peanut butter: back in MY day, no one had peanut allergies, am I right? You forgot your lunch, you got handed a PB&J sandwich. Today? A peanut isn’t allowed within 200 feet of a school. Like a pedophile, actually. Hmm.

    Like

  21. Ok, back online. Stupid job. (Some jerk must’ve accessed a porn site or something and now we’re all on internet lockdown. Don’t they even CARE that I NEED my June fix? Jackasses.)
    I couldn’t see the pictures until now and Oh, June, you do look just like your Gram! (My daughter looks just like my mother and that freaks me right the hell out sometimes.)
    Cigarettes. My father had COPD. Had smoked since he was 12, was hypnotized when he was around 54? ish? to quit smoking and never smoked again, but the damage was done. And my stupid stupid stupid son smokes! I’m going to go smack him when I finish this comment.
    Marshmallow Fluff? Oh, June. Here we must part ways. Marshmallow Fluff is the devil’s ear wax. Bleh.
    And let me ask you this about peanut butter: back in MY day, no one had peanut allergies, am I right? You forgot your lunch, you got handed a PB&J sandwich. Today? A peanut isn’t allowed within 200 feet of a school. Like a pedophile, actually. Hmm.

    Like

  22. Ok, back online. Stupid job. (Some jerk must’ve accessed a porn site or something and now we’re all on internet lockdown. Don’t they even CARE that I NEED my June fix? Jackasses.)
    I couldn’t see the pictures until now and Oh, June, you do look just like your Gram! (My daughter looks just like my mother and that freaks me right the hell out sometimes.)
    Cigarettes. My father had COPD. Had smoked since he was 12, was hypnotized when he was around 54? ish? to quit smoking and never smoked again, but the damage was done. And my stupid stupid stupid son smokes! I’m going to go smack him when I finish this comment.
    Marshmallow Fluff? Oh, June. Here we must part ways. Marshmallow Fluff is the devil’s ear wax. Bleh.
    And let me ask you this about peanut butter: back in MY day, no one had peanut allergies, am I right? You forgot your lunch, you got handed a PB&J sandwich. Today? A peanut isn’t allowed within 200 feet of a school. Like a pedophile, actually. Hmm.

    Like

  23. Yes, you and your gramma are DEFINITELY related. Geez. At first I thought it was you in dress-up mode.
    Also? I agree that your mama looks like she’s about twelve.
    Love your memories of the scaring…and scarring!

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  24. June, love the Uncle Jim stories, you are lucky to have Uncle Jim in your life and to have all the great memories to hold him close for all time.

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  25. I have an uncle who is 10 years older than me. Uncle Jay used to spend every summer with us. And every summer he would tickle me until I threw up. I love my Uncle Jay. And I love your Uncle Jim.

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  26. Thanks for sharing the stories of Uncle Jim with us – he sounds like the best kind of uncle. Keeping him, and your family in my thoughts and prayers…

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  27. Just want you to know that I’m thinking about you and all the family….a big hug to your aunt and uncle. I am just so sorry. It’s just so hard.

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