Companion thread to this one.
In this thread I’d like to have a look at the opposite: people who were not members of your biological family but who were still considered part of it.
Uncle Humphrey was part of my life from the day I was born until his death 28 years later. I knew that, although I saw him every day at my grandmother’s house, he was not my grandfather. When I grew older, I learnt that after she was widowed several years before I was born, she had a fling with Uncle Humphrey. Their relationship didn’t last but their friendship did. So, every single day he’d come to her place to spend the afternoon with her and chat. They’d also bicker like an old couple. They’d go on holidays together, driving down to the same place in France every year. Me, my brother and my parents went with them a couple of times.
And he was the kindest person I had ever met. He always had sweets in his pockets for us. Or toys. In the summer, when his workplace was closed for the holidays, he’d often take me and my brother there and let us roam through the premises all day. That was a wonderful playground. He would tell us stories on how he fled to England in 1940 then got injured during the Invasion of Normandy four years later.
If there was a family reunion, even a small informal one, there’s no way he would have been left out. That would have been unthinkable. He was always invited, plain and simple even when some relatives were not.
He died suddenly about twelve years ago. My grandmother survived him by more than 10 years. As I arrived at the funeral home where her wake was taking place, I glanced at the sign near the entrance that showed the names of the dead and there was only one name apart from hers. It was a certain… Mr. Humphrey.
That made me smile.