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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Picture has nothing to do with this post

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.      


  1. You are still and will always be Uncle Joe to me. And don't tell Uncle Chris, but my favorite uncle, too. :)

  2. Thx M.
    I'll bet you say that to all your Uncles!

  3. My Dad was an Uncle Joe to many. We never demote the Aunts and Uncles in our family.. though one cousin's daughter calls her own dad by his first name. I have had uncles who were really cousins or family friends. They still retain their title. My ex's adult nieces and nephews (with kids of their own) still call me Aunt Hilary. My own nieces call me Aunt Hil (ant hill). I'm looking forward to the day when my sons become uncles. I'm so ready to be called Grandma now.

  4. I like the Auntie and Uncle Titles, and still use them now....I even call my parents neighbours, auntie and uncle even though they are no relation - it seems less formal than calling them Mr and Mrs, but still respectful if you get what I mean.. However, I ask all my children's friends to call me Louise, not because of informality, but because being called Mrs Bradt makes me sound too old for my liking.....All 7 of my nieces (I have no nephews)call my Auntie Louise or Auntie Lou, and yes that does make me feel kind of special....

    Lou :-)

  5. I was raised to use titles and could never give up on referring to people as Aunt or Uncle, or Mr. and Mrs. I once had a boss who was a year younger than me and I had difficulty not calling him Mr. even though he insisted.

  6. I never called anyone uncle, except my actual uncle, but a very close friend of our family was called Aunt Lexy.

    When I met my husband's family, I was introduced to someone named Bill. When I addressed him as such, he corrected me and told me he was Uncle Bill. There was Uncle Joe, Auntie Lou, Auntie Emma, and so on. I thought this must be a whole 'respect your elders' sort of thing. Then I met someone named Charlie, so I called him Uncle Charlie. After I'd called him Uncle Charlie numerous times, Husband asked me why I keep calling Charlie, 'Uncle'. I answered that it was because he was older than us. Husband informed me then that Charlie is merely a cousin and that we called all those other people 'Uncle' and 'Auntie' because they were actually my husband's uncles and aunties. Apparently husband's mum came from a family of 12 children.

  7. I realized I recently have been calling my Auntie Allison, just Allison. Wonder how she feels about it? I think maybe it is that now that I'm almost 50, callng her Auntie seems strange. But that makes no sense. LOL! You made me think about it!