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Uncle Chuck was our 'go-to person'

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 12:01 am

Almost every family has one. Kind, soft-spoken with a hint of mischief behind the twinkle in their eyes. That is your “go-to person.” Our family’s is Uncle Chuck. He is the person who will have our backs when pushed to a wall. He is the kind voice on the other end of the phone call listening to you bawl your eyes out.

My sister Peggy and her husband Phil recently had an addition to their garage. I went over one day and saw my not-so-young-anymore uncle on the roof. He casually commented, “Everybody is on a break and these shingles ain’t gonna get nailed by themselves.” I just looked on in amazement as he hammered away.

Each one of us in my family has wonderful memories. I have dementia, and to have a legacy like Uncle Chuck to hold onto is a blessing for me.

My earliest memories are going to Bryan, Ohio, (where he lives) and having huge family gatherings. His children were like brothers and sisters to us.

My sister will remember the not-so-friendly dog every time she sees the scar on her leg., yet she will also have the memories of Uncle Chuck sleeping on her couch and getting up at the crack of dawn to work on their garage.

Terry will remember the Thanksgivings he spent at his house. Always the life of the party.

Tom will remember the trip we took to Brown County with our family, Granny and Uncle Chuck’s family. It was his first-ever experience with Shake ’N Bake.

Uncle Chuck has decided to retire to Virginia to live with my cousin Bruce, a retired Navy man. He will be leaving soon, and I wonder how my mind will wrap around this. He is only a phone call away, but we all know it is just not the same.

To my Uncle Chuck aka Uncle Charlie Brown, your Peppermint Patti will always try to hold onto the memory of when I needed you most. Walking the long hall between Lutheran Hospital and the old Moellering Unit, your arms were the first arms I fell into on the day they pronounced our mother, your sister, legally deceased.

Thank you for being our counselor, friend and protector. No one can ever take your place. Enjoy your retirement. You so well deserve it.

Patti Hagadorn is a resident of Fort Wayne.