I am a traditionalist and still believe in the idea that you respect your elders. The elders I am referring to came from a different time (in my case most were of the World War 2 generation). Jack Stuart Patrick was no exception. Like all men, he had parts of his life that he lived with little fanfare. While he lived during World War 2, Jack never went away to war. He tried, but they kept sending him back to his job. I know it was hard for him because of all the other men like my Dad who were sent to far away places. But his job as a machinist in the industry around McKeesport kept him from going anywhere.
In later life, he was a stand up guy who raised a beautiful family. His religious beliefs never needed to be displayed, they were lived. He was humble and quiet and never revealed anything too much about his work. Some things I found out later (after his death of course) was his contribution to this country. He worked at Westinghouse at the Bettis facility. Without his work, the USS Nautilus (and all other boats that followed) would not have been completed with such a high level of efficiency. He never once bragged about it, even on all the boats I rode before retiring.
Thanks for your example Uncle Jack. Funny thing, I can never think about calling him anything else, even years after his death.
For those of us with nephews and some nieces in the next generation…
I have some not so good news for you. While I have a few nephews/nieces who are very deferential and respectful, I had one remind me last night that the old bonds no longer mean much to some of them. One of my “next generations” got married recently and announced it happily on Facebook without formally letting any of the rest of us know in a more traditional way. I thought I had the right to mention in a private note that he was not being very thoughtful in the way he chose to announce it.
It only took a little while for him to respond on his mobile device that I was not only completely wrong but I should wait until I had my own children to offer anyone any advice and that in the meantime I should get my head out of my ass.
Since he had such a manly response (he’s 28 now going on twelve) I responded in a very unkind way and have decided that my services as an uncle are hereby officially discharged in his case. Its not the first time I have been blasted by one of the next generationers. In the past few years I have found that I must have slept through their entire childhoods since anytime I have tried to offer a few pieces of what I thought were obvious pearls of wisdom, it has resulted in other hurtful outbursts. Apparently with a few exceptions, the next generation is the most intelligent, insightful, knowledgeable and sensitive people that have ever lived. (Note to the actual most intelligient and caring ones… please accept my humble apologies… its not about you).
The part that kind of irritates me is that I was there the day he was born.
I was there through much of his pre-teen years in one way or another and our walls and albums at home are covered with pictures of the kids. We babysat them (for free) while Mom and Dad were off in other places, we took them to ice skating shows, movies, dinners, camping and on and on. We never once asked for any payment or rewards. It was just part of being an uncle and aunt. It was a joy for us, especially since we were never able to have kids of our own.
By this time in our life, it is a simple understanding that we were given different tasks since biologically (even with operations) we were not able to have kids. There were a lot of sleepless nights along the way, a lot of pain from the surgeries, and the typical sadness from not having someone to carry on our name.
After last night, I am kind of glad.
If I had ever heard that any son of mine had told a relative to get their head out of their ass, I am not sure what my reaction would be. Probably not good. Instead, I am just as glad to never have been a father than to have raised someone with that little regard for people who have done so much for him along the way.
God Bless the Nephews and Nieces that have brought so much joy to our lives. God bless them for letting us add a little good to their lives. Things have a way of coming around to those who have failed to learn life’s little basics.
Note to self: Facebook seems to empower people to do stupid things. Maybe its time to check out and it certainly is time to start narrowing down the list of people you may once have called “Friends”.
4 thoughts on “One of the greatest men I ever knew… Uncle Jack”
I understand your Uncle Jack’s feeings, Dad too was essential in his job, and it bothered him for the rest of his life.
As to the young’uns, unfortunately, I agree, for the most part I am no longer willing to be bothered. That’s so sad, for me, and for them, hopefully they’ll all have a collision with reality and learn.
Thanks for all the great notes and feedback from my readers. Monday is actually turning out to be a great day. 3800 students from the FBLA showing up to show us old folks how to do things right!
Terrible how kids these days are turning out….I guess it is not ALL the parents fault…except I cannot imagine a child of mine uttering such garbage and still having teeth to chew with. Also amazes me how often folks like us hear something like “…until you have kids of your own…”, when any idiot can see what we speak of, and know it is wrong!!! You don’t have to have kids to know the basics of making a productive, useful, and respectful member of society. Rest assured your life’s achievement has earned you respect and honor from those who know the meaning of those words!!!
Garry, thank you for your words and thoughts. I am indeed humbled.