Uncle Marty was not really my uncle. He was a family friend, someone that my mom used to work with when she was a proofreader. He died when I was still fairly young. I remember him as a big, friendly man with a jiggling gut. He would sometimes come visit us, but often we would go visit him at his home. It was a bit of a drive, and I’m sure it did Mom good to get away from babyland for awhile. There are some audio recordings that have survived of one of our visits there. It’s interesting to hear a casual conversation from back then with mentions of new movies at the time, circa 1975-76. (There’s also sounds of a baby starting to get fussy on the tapes, gee, I wonder who that could be.)
Dad and Uncle Marty hit it off well. In just about every photo I have at Uncle Marty’s, a nice tall glass of beer can be seen, so I think that’s one of the ways they bonded. We also had the chance to enjoy the backyard on our visits, and the photo of the three of us was taken in Uncle Marty’s backyard on one such visit. We always lived in apartments and had to go to the park for some green space. (Just skip the picnic if Dad was along.)
Uncle Marty holds a special place in my memory because my parents didn’t have a lot of family friends, and their relatives were thousands of miles away. I’m sure they both missed their families, but especially Dad, who was separated by an ocean from his siblings and mainly kept in touch via letters. I’m sure Dad enjoyed having a chance to relax, sip a beer and shoot the breeze with good-natured Marty.
All of the visits I can remember with Uncle Marty were happy times, simple memories that mean more as the days get darker.