My childhood was not all sadness and misery. It was speckled with some good times. My Uncle Fred was part of these good times. He was the best Uncle a kid could ever ask for. I remember he used to come over and play with my sisters and I. My mom would get upset because he would always rile us up before bedtime. After my dad committed suicide, there was really no male figure in my life. My mom had boyfriends, but they were idiots. I remember one boyfriend she had, his name was Rich, he introduced me to a whole range of music. So growing up I was pretty diverse in my music tastes. That was probably the only thing Rich ever did for me, but I will talk about him in later posts. Back to Uncle Fred.
I remember going over to my Grandma’s house, where my uncle lived, and watching him play the electric guitar. He had a brother named Hermen, and the two of them would jam. I would sit there and just listen. I wanted to be like my Uncle Fred. I looked up to him. He introduced me to a band named Rush. I thought this was the coolest band ever. I had to be like 9 or so at the time. My mom was supportive of my music tastes. She was open minded when it came to music.
My Uncle Fred used to take me fishing with him. He is the one that taught me how to fish. I had so much fun fishing with him. The first fish I caught was a catfish. I did not know how to take it off the hook, because catfish has stingers. My Uncle laughed at me, and took it off for me. During these times of fishing, I wanted to tell him so badly what happened to me. The sexual abuse that is. But I could not bring myself to tell him. If I would of told him, he probably would of killed the bastard. Instead I kept it hidden from him. I carried the burden by myself.
Uncle Fred went away for a while. He joined the Army. Once again I was all alone. I mean I had my friends, but I didn’t have a father figure. I was so hurt by this. I didn’t know what to do. I could tell my Uncle anything, and he would not judge me. He did keep in contact. He would send letters and postcards. I recall one picture that he sent, he was on a surfboard in Hawaii. I thought that it was so cool.
He was discharged from the Army in 1987. I was so happy to have my Uncle back. We picked up where we left off. By this time I was a teenager, so I had a lot of questions about life. He spoke to me about girls and gave me advice. At the time I was seeing this cute redhead named Rose. So I would ask my Uncle about sex. He would say that I was to young, and needed to wait until I was older. I took his advice. People were so used to seeing us together. We were always together. The first time that I learned how to drive was with him. I thought I was so cool. I was the only one out of my friends who could drive. I would even drive my Uncle when he had to much to drink. Which was often. The first time I got trashed was with him. He bought me some wine coolers one night, and said try them. After I drank all of the wine coolers, I started slamming Budweiser’s. Needless to say, I was in the bathroom the rest of the night, heaving my guts out. My Uncle was laughing the whole time. Then one time, the first time I ever got stoned on pot, was with my Uncle. We were up in his bedroom, and he and his friends were passing a joint around. It came to me and I did not know what to do. My Uncle said to take a puff and inhale it. I didn’t feel anything at first, then after a few more puffs my whole body started tingling. U2 The Joshua Tree was playing on the stereo.(U2 was my Uncle’s favorite band). I was so high I could not think straight. We decided to go fishing. I got to the car, and tried to get the seat up, so that I could sit in back. Try as I might, the seat would not budge. I started reaming on it, and the my Uncle comes over and opens the back door. It was a four door car, but I thought It was a two door. So here I was reaming on the front passengers seat, and all along it was a four door. My Uncle and I just busted up laughing. That’s how high I was. When we got to the fishing spot, I laid down and slept the whole time that they fished.
June 27,1987 is one of the worst days of my life. It started out like any other day. I got up that morning, and my mom asked me if I would run to the mini-mart and get some milk and eggs. So I hopped on my bike and went to the store. It was a sunny morning and the birds were singing. I got the stuff my mom wanted and headed back home. Immediately when I walked in the house, I knew something was the matter. It was so quiet. I called out a few times, but no one answered. I put the milk and eggs on the kitchen table, and walked into the living room. Sitting on the sofa was my mom and her boyfriend Rich. They were crying. I didn’t know what to say. I was scared. Something bad obviously happened. I managed to say “what’s wrong”? My mom looked at me and said that my Uncle Fred was dead. He had been in a bad car accident. A semi truck ran into the back of his car, causing it to explode. I could not believe what I just heard. I was in shock. My mom grabbed me and pulled me too her. I just sat there, stunned. I did not cry at first. I think I wanted to deny it. I sat on the sofa with my mom for a bit, then I said that I needed to get out of the house and be alone. I hopped back on my bike, and rode around aimlessly. I decided to go to my Grandma’s house. When I got there, a police cruiser was sitting out front. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, he was really dead. I could not hold the tears back any longer. I cried and cried. I lost the only father figure that I ever had. A ton of memories kept flooding my mind. I would never have a chance to make new ones with him. This is when I learned that nothing lasts forever. My Uncle was given a military funeral. Guns were fired and Taps was played. And that was that. I had lost one of the best people in my life. To this day I still think about him. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. I miss him so much. R.I.P Uncle Fred