Sorry I didn’t post yesterday – you see, Thursday is the company Happy Hour at the bar across the street… Please accept yesterday’s post now. 😛
In the “family member other than your parents” category, I feel like I’m spoiled for choice. I of course have siblings. As do both of my parents — in fact, my father’s siblings number in the double digits. Add to that their spouses (where applicable) and children (again…), and things add up quickly.
But I’d actually like to write about a relative on my mother’s side. Herbert Hillson Jr. Uncle Herbie. I could write pages and pages about my dear Uncle Herb, and the good times we had, but I’ll try to keep it short.
The first thing you’d notice looking at Herbie was that he had Down’s Syndrome. For those unfamiliar, Down’s Syndrome is a disorder in which someone receives a third copy of chromosome 21, which results in, among other things, mental disability and characteristic facial features.
That Herbie had the disorder was plain to see — it was literally written on his face. What was not plain to see, however, was his gentleness. His innocence. His awesomeness.
Herbie and I had a fair bit in common – he always dressed the same, ordered the same, liked to watch the same… he had his routines, just as I have mine. And he did not like anyone interfering with those routines. I can certainly get that.
Throughout his life, Herbie had but one aspiration. Be a police officer (despite being terrified of guns). It was a dream that would, unfortunately, be forever beyond his reach, but damned if he let that stop him. Herbie carried a little notebook with him, a little spiral pad, everywhere in his shirt pocket. He would note things down all the time, in symbols that vaguely resembled handwriting, but not quite.
In his wallet, he carried a sticker — the “junior deputy” type sticker you get after touring the police station. To Herb, that sticker was a genuine badge of power, and he used it as he saw fit to try and enforce justice where it needed enforcing (ok, and maybe get his way once or twice).
One of Herbie’s favorite things to do was listen to police scanners. He ALWAYS had at least one police scanner. And walkie-talkies. My mother and her sister tried repeatedly to explain to him that neither one would allow him to talk BACK to the police, but Herbie remained quite willfully ignorant, and he would sit there for long periods of time, listening to the scanners, responding, having a ball.
One of the other effects of Down’s Syndrome is a shorter lifespan. Herbie actually lived a long life, relatively speaking. He passed away about 6 years ago now, I believe, and I still miss him. A lot. And I still love him. A lot. Now if you’ll excuse me, my eyes seem to be leaking, and I’ve another blog post to write after this.
Find our other participants here –
Niki: Sometimes I Write