Archive for the ‘unca rob’ Category

And I say,

August 28, 2013

When I was 5 I had a plastic phonograph in my room. I would carry in my mom’s stack of albums, push the stubby black spindle through the Apple sticker on Magical Mystery Tour and sit back, eyes closed, to enjoy Baby, You’re a Rich Man and Fool on a Hill.

My mother, who attended a Beatles’ concert in the 1960s, also has a thick piano book called ‘The Compleat Beatles.’ Thanksgivings of my childhood meant Uncle Rob and Chauncey standing behind her with their guitars while her fingers scooted around the keyboard.

Uncles Monty and Hot Shot and all the wives would be gathered around singing. We would shout requests until 3 in the morning. Nobody made me to go to bed and miss all the fun.

I know Uncle Hot Shot’s favorite is Run for Your Life, Monty’s is Martha My Dear, and  Mom hates to play Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.

I know all the words in that thick book.

Someone always wants to sing Here Comes the Sun.

Now we’re getting to the point of this post.

This is a beautiful song.

But I can’t stand it.

I would never say the sun was coming up. I don’t say the sun rose or set or went behind the mountains.

The sun is holding still.

I always say we’re turning away from or toward the sun.

I try to sing along, but I sound silly singing “Our part of the Earth is turning toward the sun, little darling.”

It’s not all right.

The haunted apartment

May 28, 2013

As long as I’m poaching Unca Rob’s blog posts, I might as well go all the way. I’m taking the big one.

This is my family’s classic ghost story.

You can read the account straight from the guy who saw the ghost, so really, you don’t need me. My version will be more condensed, and from my mom’s perspective. She remembers some of the details differently.

My mom had a boyfriend with an apartment in a nearby town. His room was on the second floor.

One night he told her he was awakened by the front door’s opening and closing. He thought it was his roommate.

He said he heard the usual vibration of the iron stair railing as someone ascended, but didn’t get an answer when he called his roommate’s name.

Then he saw a figure walk into his room, stand over the bed a moment, then disappear into the closet. Scared the heck out of him.

About a week afterward, my mom was in Auntie Martha’s living room with her brother (Unca Rob), her cousin (Uncle Chauncey), and Chauncey’s wife, Dena.

They were telling ghost stories, but nobody believed any of them.

Then Mom told what was happening in her boyfriend’s apartment.

Mom says Chauncey’s eyes got real wide. He asked for the address.

He said he lived in that building two years ago.

Uh huh. This is the same guy who told mom and Rob Frankenstein lived behind the university.

He described thinking his roommate had come in. He heard the iron railing vibrate. A figure came in the room. It disappeared into the closet.

Dena was nodding. She remembered it all. My mother wasn’t liking this.

Chauncey said, “It was Apartment 45, wasn’t it?”

According to Mom, “Everyone was freaked out.” A legend was born.

The refrigerator story

April 17, 2013

My favorite uncle has a blog too. He e-mailed me the other day calling dibbs on the refrigerator story.

I respect dibbs as much as the next guy, so I ruefully considered the episode off limits.

Then I had three thoughts. 1) Unca Rob hasn’t written a post since before the Superbowl, and that one appears to have been deleted. 2) I have now given him seven days to use his dibbs, which everyone knows expire after three. And 3) He already got the haunted apartment story. Family lore should be fairly distributed.

So here it comes. Remember You hate to hear it? You have not yet begun to cringe.

My great-grandmother had a small refrigerator in the ’50s. It had one of those handles that attached in the center but continued up like a spire to the top of the door.

One afternoon during a family party, all of the children were playing hide and seek or tag or something. Unca Rob would know.

One of the cousins climbed on top of the fridge. He was a little boy.

At olly-olly-oxen-free he slid off. But he aimed poorly.

The handle went up through his anus. He hung there, legs adangle, until rescuers were able to slide him up and off.

He had to go to the hospital.

He’s fine now.

But I’ll bet you’re not.

Frankenstein Road

March 2, 2013

Today is my Uncle Chauncey’s birthday. Uncle Chauncey is an imp.

He used to take his little cousins, my mama and Unca Rob, to a narrow road in town, where he said Frankenstein’s monster lived.

They were afraid. He was amused.

This road has an oft dry creek running alongside. It’s dark — lined with oaks and eucalyptus trees. It’s creepy.

He showed where the scientist’s plane crashed, stranding the monster. He showed them the propeller.

He said it was called Frankenstein Road.

Naturally, when I was a kid my mother did the same to me.

And you can bet I’ve taken my children monster scouting on that road during thunderstorms.

This family has many imps.

The hemorrhage story

October 21, 2012

My grama tells this story all the time.

It’s basically about guilt.

When Unca Rob was a little boy, Nana had some kind of small surgery on her uterus. Then she went to his spelling bee.

While she was sitting in the audience, something inside her snapped, and she hemorrhaged all over herself. Grampa had to carry her out of the elementary auditorium.

Unfortunately, this happened when Rob spelled his word wrong.

She found out after he became a man that he spent his lifetime thinking  it was cause and effect.

I’m sure he lived with the guilt of his misconception better than she’s living with the guilt of giving it to him.

This would have been a better story if the word he missed had been ‘hemorrhage.’

Yet another phrase of our own

October 20, 2012

My Unca Rob is flying in for a visit today. I pick him up at dentist appointment time.

If you live at my house, you know this means he lands at tooth hurty.

I tell time in tired old riddles.

If you ask me to do anything at 6 a.m., I will write it down as pig’s tail time. . . ,

. . . because it’s twirly.

The really big poop story

October 7, 2012

On the same vacation as The road trip fight story, we stayed in Rogue River, Oregon at the Weasku Inn.

My Unca Rob lives nearby, and kept calling it the Whydon’tyoucome Inn. Unca Rob is either getting old, or he’s still got it. Who can tell?

This place is a dream. Instead of motel rooms, you get an A-frame cabin with bedrooms and a living room. The soaps in the bathroom smell woodsy. We had a fireplace and a back porch over the river.

To eat, you walk across a lawn my son called the Frisbee park to the lodge. There was a big dining room, a billiard area and a community bathroom.

That’s where I saw it.

I spent the whole drive home from work today trying to think of adjectives to describe the size of this thing. It was just smaller than a loaf of bread.

I had gone in to pee. When I found it there my eyes went wide. I ran out and called in everybody to see it. Would you believe they came running?

Normally I would have worried they’d think I had made it, but not this time.

My husband said, “Someone feels really good right now.”

There was no flushing it. The diameter of the toilet’s hole was too small by half.

My husband went to alert an employee.

I spent the rest of our stay trying to figure out who it was, but none of the large men was walking funny.


September 10, 2012

Years ago my Unca Rob started a football pool. He invited Uncle Chauncey, Mike, my husband, my biological father, my sister’s husband, more of my uncles and a couple of other people.

My husband hadn’t watched football since I’d known him, and he doesn’t like betting on stuff, but I’m game for anything, so I asked Unca Rob if I could join in his stead.

Unca Rob never tells me no.

In the beginning he had set up a non-existent player named ‘Dumbass.’ Dumbass was going to generate random picks. It was an experiment to see if studying statistics did any good.

I pointed out that I had never seen football, and would be voting for teams based on colors, mascots and whether I had good memories in the towns they played for.

My husband told me with exasperation that I was not influencing the game, and to please stop calling it voting. 

It was unanimously decided that I would suffice as the team’s Dumbass.

I did very well that year. Apparently nobody else was as savvy as I  about dolphins’ being cuter than rams, or pirates’ being more fun at a party than saints.

But the best part was the banter.

It was smart, razzy and hilarious. I saved every posting.

One of my cousins was quiet — and got hounded for it — before he quit the pool at the end of the season with the comment that he didn’t know there was a minimum SAT score required for participation.

My husband said, “I can see how being in a chat with you, Rob, Chauncey and Jan would be intimitating.”

He was clever to include me in that list, even though we both know I’m not in that league.

No one considered putting Mike on that list.

Mike is our whipping boy. (Watch the comments for Mike’s two cents. He will point out that he wins the pool every year. As if that matters.)

The next year Rob kicked everyone out who wasn’t chatty — even his son, whose sole posting, after a round of ‘What the hell is a seahawk, anyway?’, was “You people are clogging up my inbox. P.S., a seahawk is a breed of osprey.”

Last year my birthday goal was to start watching the games.

Now I’m addicted.

Though we had a teaser game on Thursday, tomorrow is the meaty beginning of the 2011 season. I’ve waited 9 months. It was agony.

Don’t call the house. I’ll be wearing my Chargers jersey and cheering my dumbass head off.

Unca Rob scares himself

August 5, 2012

Today is Unca Rob’s birthday.

It’s impossible to me that Rob is not still in his 20s, smelling like patchouli and driving his dark green VW bus with the curtains on the windows.

When I was a little girl I idolized him and his hippie ways. Now I idolize him for his artistic talent and political savvy, but most of all, because he is so damned funny.

Someday I will share with you the funny he brings so quickly and easily. Today I share a time he was funny by accident.

It loses it a lot in the absence of my mother’s facial expression in the telling. She tells it well. It’s one of my favorites.

One afternoon my mom was in the house doing whatever perfect little girls do when they’re in the house. She heard the back door slam.

Suddenly her little brother Robbie ran past her in a blur, grabbing a book en route to his room. He jumped onto his bed, landing in a lounging position, opened the book randomly, and appeared instantly to be immersed in the story.

My mom grew suspicious — in her smart and responsible way — and scooted the curtains aside to check out the yard where Robbie had just been playing.

The lawn was on fire.

A sad announcement

February 23, 2010

Nana died last night.

She was diagnosed with lymphoma a month ago, and it was aggressive. We were with her when she went.

Many of her friends and most of our family came in the past three weeks to say goodbye and tell her how loved she was, which was an extraordinary lot.

She had her mind all the way through, and though she became difficult to understand, was cracking wise and professing love until yesterday, when she was unable to talk at all.

She was a strong spirit and active matriarch of our family until only just. Her absence will be big.

We haven’t got a date for the service yet, but Uncle Rob has set up an e-mail alert system for those who want to be sure to be notified to enter their address at