Tom McLaughlin: Uncle Joe
Wed, 04/11/2012 - 9:17am
Posted by tommclaughlin
t had been a while since I lost a close family member. Lately, however, I’m losing several and others are seriously ill or injured. It’s less difficult with the older ones, but some are younger. A couple of friends and acquaintances have passed too.
Joe Haggerty was my favorite uncle and my last surviving one. He was part of the “Greatest Generation. He did things for me no one else took time to do. He took movies of us kids growing up - Hours of 8mm film chronicling two decades that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for him buying a camera and then pulling it out so many times as we were growing up. Joe taught me to appreciate music and art. He explained what caused the Great Depression. He taught me to sail. He organized a surprise party when I finished graduate school. He encouraged me and everyone else to strive and to savor life. He was an example of someone who did both.
Joe lived on a lake. That was wondrous to me as a kid. Go swimming or fishing any time you want? Amazing. When he took his family on vacation somewhere else, he invited our family of eight children to stay there, even when knowing that some of us wet the bed. He brought his family to our house every Christmas Eve. For the first few years he and Aunt Pat gave each of us a pair of pajamas. Practical. Then one year he said the heck with the pajamas and gave the whole family a ping-pong table.