Sunday, October 21, 2012
The First Time I Met Lenny
It's Fall. My favorite time of the year. All my life I have always loved this time of year and I am reminded of the very first time I ever met my father's older brother Lenny.
My dad was the youngest of three children. The oldest brother was Eddie (aka the "Golden Boy" so coined by my father), then came Lenny and my dad was the baby of the family. I never met my grandfather on that side of the family. He was long gone - god knows where and my dad's mother (my grandmother) raised three boys on her own. Her name was Helen. She was a tough old bird - smoke, drank and was completely the opposite of my mother's mother Eva. Where grandma Haxton seemed rough, Eva was softer and easier to be around.
It just dawned on me why they were so different. Can you imagine being a woman who would have to go to work and struggle to raise three children in the 1930's and 1940's? It was tough enough with the depression and all if you were a solid family unit with two parents. Odd that I should think of that now.
Well I've gotten off the beaten track here, haven't I? But a bit of family history revealed is not a bad thing. To that end, my Uncle Lenny lived out on the west coast in California. When I was somewhere around nine or ten years old Lenny decided he was coming back to Connecticut for a visit.
It was quite a big deal and of course my dad wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. What my memory recalls is that it was a stunning fall in Connecticut and Lenny was thrilled to have witnessed mother nature's glory. On one of the days during his visit we all went to Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. The foliage up there was as bright and colorful as in Connecticut.
Unlike my Uncle Eddie, who was a heavy drinker and very obnoxious, Lenny was quieter, softer and gentler and easy to be around. When my mom met Lenny she finally saw a more "normal" and well rounded part of dad's family. Mom took care of making Lenny feel welcomed and prepared some wonderful welcome here meals. Of course I don't exactly remember what - I just remember sharing good food and there was plenty of conversation.
Lenny returned to California and I don't believe that it was more than one more time and I would see him again. My parents had divorced, my dad remarried and Lenny would visit Connecticut and meet my dad's second wife. At that time I was living with my dad. I was older and in my late teens. Oddly enough I do recall what dinner my father prepared for Lenny's visit. It was a baked ham dinner. We sat around the dining table for an extended period; enjoying the food and between my father, Lenny, myself and my stepmother Peggy told many jokes and stories. Tons of laughter, good food and family I still barely knew.
Well it's been many years since that time and this year because of the bright blue skies and colorful back drop of fall foliage I retrieved a memory from a long time ago. A time when good things came about and special moments were shared around a dining table laden with good food.