Wednesday 5 January 2011

My Uncle; My Father.

My father's older brother (my uncle), in a typical pose. He would dress in different outfits simply to have his photo' taken. This I presume was 'Country Gentleman'.

And this is my late father. The photo was taken (before he was married) by his girlfriend at the time; the artist Elizabeth Crowe.

He, and his playboy older brother, were privately educated together in Sussex. But that's where the fraternal bond ends. My father became a reasonably hard-working businessman; his brother a 'Bullingdon' style dandy.

But my father, being a generous and kindly man, took his older brother's wild antics very seriously, and surreptitiously took out insurance policies on his behalf.

My uncle was sent off to the colonies to make his fortune, but illness forced his return (I've mentioned this before). He eventually calmed down and married, but sadly had no children. He bungled on and died in the early 1980's. On behalf of my father, who wasn't well at the time, I was asked to deal with the life-insurance policy, and I forwarded a healthy cheque (with an explanation) to his widow. The cheque was cashed, but we received NO REPLY.

I have always wondered what my uncle would have thought, had he known that his little brother had been so concerned for his (and/or his future widow's) welfare. Generosity is not always rewarded; but being a wastrel often is!

I would like to be more benevolent towards my late uncle, but never having really known him, I'm afraid that's impossible. And as for his widow not even saying 'Thank you'...

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  1. Isn't blogging a great medium for getting things off one's chest. There's no other channel that I know of, where one can let loose such entrapped steam as the above. I thank Mr Blogger profusely.

  2. I've never seen that photo of Dad before.......

  3. It's on the wall in my sitting room!

  4. And these blogs can introduce siblings to previously unseen family photos! I only met my father's brother once when I was a kid, because they fell out during the war. By that time, he was a publican in Devon, who spent his last 10 years in an armchair downstairs - too big to get up his own staircase.

  5. I'm reminded by your story Cro, of a friend who takes care of his wife's brother in much the same fashion. I know little of the brother, except for his apparently selfish lifestyle. I can only hope things all balance out by the utmost respect I have for my friend's husband for the gracious way he thanklessly takes care of another human being.
    I presume your father was that kind of man too. It's comforting to know that people like them exist(ed).

  6. It's funny how you described both men, and how well their pictures match your descriptions. I don't know if you planned it like that, but I just found it fascinating.

  7. My parents took an insurance policy out on me without my knowledge when I was an adult. I was furious! I'm outliving them ALL!

  8. Dear Cro, I am so pleased that your father was such a big-hearted man. I'm not remotely surprised by the shabby behaviour of your uncle and his wife; families seem to throw up contrasts that are painful to live with and to recall. Thank goodness they didn't procreate!
    (My father dressed very much in the style of your uncle, but happily there any similarity ends.)

  9. Cro _ I think that is so sad that your Uncle's widow could not even say 'Thank you!'

  10. Rude, rude widow. I have a step-grandmother who is very much the same.

    Wonderful pics!

  11. Willow, this was somewhat inspired by your huge archive of family photos, and tales.


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