This is Nick...aka Uncle Nick.

This is Nick...aka Uncle Nick.
94th Birthday... We went easy on the candles!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who is Nick and why does he deserve my best effort?

Bottom-line upfront is because he paid it forward and I'm extremely grateful and I promised.  The details are as follows: 

Uncle Nick is my mother's Uncle.  My Grandmother's only brother.  As a young woman my Granny Ellen was one of my favorite women.  She encouraged me and was always my lead cheerleader!  We'd day-dream that someday I'd make enough money and keep care of her in her old age.  We’d travel and have fun! Unfortunately, she passed away from lung cancer in 1986 the year I graduated college.  My Uncle and Grandmother were extremely close and I promised her I'd take care of him.  In 2001 I made the same promise to his older sister, Mary, on her death bed.

Youthful, naive promises aside... Uncle Nick also gave my mother the opportunity to provide a safe clean home for her and her three girls post her 1972 divorce.  She was only 28, had three girls (7, 4, and 3 years old) and a strong desire to achieve her degree, work and provide for us.  Uncle Nick rented her one side of a two family house he owned which included three bedrooms, a basement, a yard and garage for over 20 years and never increased her rent.  We started out fine at a time when divorce wasn't vogue and many systems didn't know how to help single moms.  We were warm and safe and getting an education and went to church, etc. etc.

BTW - there were several other tenants over the last 60 years he helped including The Two Ladies!  The two ladies occupied the second house, a converted chicken coup on the farm.  I now live in the coup with my two schnoodles and will write more about that later.  Anyway - the two ladies were sisters.  Wonderful robust German women! The older sister was a tall bodacious realtor in Hunterdon County and widow of a wonderful world known book illustrator and less known painter.  The younger stood 5'2 and weighed less than a bird.  She might have been more petite but tall with life and energy.  She drove to her weekly bowling league through her 70's and into her 80's.  Both women died from dementia and Alzheimer’s.  The disease took the oldest sister within four years and the younger spent 13 years at home on the farm with my Uncle as the primary caregiver.  HE PAID IT FORWARD.

And finally, I am grateful because as he lived he provided a role model and gave me a safe haven in many different ways.  I used the haven and his example several times during my young adult and now middle age years.   

I realize there is a lot to say!   Enough said for now. 

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