Last night saw the end of a generation. My father’s last surviving sibling, Theodore, passed away. Uncle Ted was one of 9 children born to my grandparents, Philip and Ada. Two of the girls died in childhood, but the remaining seven all lived into their 70’s and 80’s mostly.
When I heard of Uncle Ted’s passing, I immediately thought of an old memory of him and two of his sisters, Dot and Laura, and what they did one afternoon in my grandparent’s driveway and backyard. It was some sort of family party that, as usual, spread out between Grandmom and Grandpop’s house and Aunt Dot and Uncle Bud’s house across the shared driveway. Ted, Laura and Dot erupted from Aunt Dot’s place – all three of them wer in bathing suits. And not just any bathing suits – Old fashioned, cotton, striped suits, with bloomers, matching caps and ruffles all over!
The three of them proceeded to chase each other all over the yard, tossing buckets of water on each other. My grandmother was ‘tsk-tsk’-ing away, everyone was yelling, laughing and ducking the water. Then, Uncle Ted grabbed another bucket and turned to throw it at my grandmother who was now highly indignant. And he threw it! It was all shredded paper. It goes without saying that my grandmother, like Queen Victoria, was ‘not amused!” (Keep in mind that all three of the principal players were adults 30-40 years old!)
Well, this turned out not to be a one-shot deal. You could pretty much count on it, that if you had an outdoor, or a pool party, and the three of them were invited, you would spend the party looking over your shoulder to allow yourself time to duck it they started throwing water around!
The last time I remember Ted, Laura and Dot doing something as outrageous was at the Reinhard Family Reunion, in Egg Harbor City, at the fire house. Suddenly, during a break in the music, a Mummer’s band came marching in! Cool! But, sure enough, right behind them came Aunt Laura and Aunt Dot in those goofy swimsuits, this time with parasols, doing the Mummer’s strut! Naturally, chaos promptly erupted as Uncle Ted charged out after them (this time in a MODERN woman’s bathing suit) with a bucket, chasing them around the fire hall! He threw the bucket, we all ducked — PAPER!
Uncle Ted, I hope there is a pool party in heaven for you to enjoy! I love you and miss you.