This man is not my dad. I wish with all my heart that I had a picture of my dad holding his granddaughter, just like I wish I had pictures of him walking me down the aisle all those years ago.
This man is holding his niece. He is my father’s identical twin brother and today is their 71st birthday. This is the 22nd year we’ve only been able to celebrate with one brother.
They were born in Poland in 1940, and my grandmother raised them solo for many years as my grandfather had joined the Polish Army in September 1939. For years my grandmother lived in fear, shielding her young sons, until finally they escaped, made their way to England and they finally met their father when they were 7 years old. From there they emigrated to Canada, to the prairies, where mention of their life there made my grandmother weep. Not years of Nazi rule, fear, war and terror, but their first year in Canada and the harsh conditions they lived in as the hired hands on a farm.
The next year they moved to Kemptville (or Oxford Station if you need to get picky) where they farmed until ‘the boys’ were ready to further their education. They then moved to Ottawa, where shortly thereafter my father got a job in the mailroom at an insurance company. The brothers both had an affinity for computers and technology, with one eventually looking after the networks at government research lab, the other working in the data centre for that same insurance company.
My uncle married first, in 1966, my parents a year later and I am the oldest of ‘the boys’ children. Between the two of them they have 5, alternating, and a year apart (more or less).
My uncle is now retired (or so he claims) and lives on his farm and orchard, with his wife and my grandfather. I get the distinct impression they keep him hopping.
Happy Birthday Uncle T. Have a wonderful day filled with love and family.
And Dad, I still miss you so much, your dry humour, quiet observations, that little teeny touch of redneck and the occasional kick in the butt when I needed it. I wish you were here to see what became of your punk-ass teenager.