I decided to try a writing challenge this month and it instantly reminded me of the two decades I spent writing letters to my Uncle James.
Uncle James was my grandfather’s youngest brother. We met one summer at my Aunt Myra’s house in Enterprise, Ala. I was about 9, and he was 59 or 60.
He walked in and greeted everyone. When he got to me, he paused and said, “You have my face!” And he was right.
We began writing letters to each other later that year and we kept it up well into my 20s. My exchanges evolved from report cards to job offers. He’d send me newspaper clippings and tell me about his grandchildren — my cousins in California who I had never met. (Uncle James was helping me connect with family long before Facebook came around!)
At our family reunions, we’d pick up where we left off in our letters and our conversations often ambled down unbelievable paths. (He told me he didn’t speak until he was four years old because a
little she-devil childhood friend dropped him on his head).
The last correspondence I got from Uncle James before he died was a Christmas card, signed simply and lovingly.