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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I first became an Uncle at the age of eighteen. I like being an Uncle. I am proud of my brothers. I am proud of my brother’s children. I liked being called Uncle Joe. There was something special about a toddler crawling on my lap and calling me Uncle Joe. I liked having a title.
Somewhere along the road, about the time my niece turned eighteen I lost my title. I was suddenly just Joe. WTF? What did I do to be demoted? I never thought of the “Uncle” title as representing any superiority or even respect. It was just a title. I really didn’t do anything special to earn the title, but still it made me feel special.
I never demoted any of my Uncles. I lost Uncles through divorce, I stilled referred to them as “Uncle.” I had Uncles who drank too much and were not always favored family members with my mom and dad. They still retained their title.
I still don’t know how or why I lost my title. I am still very proud of my niece and nephews. They are all very accomplished. Somehow I am now just Joe.
I have had neighbors who I grew up with and always called Mr. or Mrs. tell me, “you don’t have to be formal, just call me Mike…or Mary. I couldn’t do it. They would always be Mr. or Mrs. to me. I guess I just like titles. Apparently lots of people do not. I lost the Mr. Hagy title with several of my children’s friends and became Joe. I hated that. Of course now any new friends of my children call me Joe. Anything else would seem awkward. Some of their friends called me Mr. H. For some reason I liked that.
Mrs. Cranky calls all her relatives by their title. Some of her aunts are called auntie by Mrs. C and her siblings, some are called aunt. No one seems to know why. Aunt Catherine who owns the shore house we are staying at for three weeks used to be Auntie Catherine. Now she is Aunt Catherine. I am guessing that from Auntie to Aunt is a promotion in her family.
Mrs. C has an uncle, Uncle Lou who is Aunt Catherine’s brother-in-law. He is currently visiting at the shore from Canada. I like Lou; he is the salt of the Earth. I was introduced to him four years ago as Lou. I just found out that I am actually one year older than Lou.
He just got promoted to Uncle Lou.
It makes me feel younger.