Uncle Joe

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tommclaughlin
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Joined: 10/26/2007 - 5:27am
Uncle Joe

It 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.

The rest is here.

KennyRoberts
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Joined: 01/18/2005 - 1:01am
Tom, your writings are

Tom, your writings are brilliant, informative, and a delight to read, however, the main reason I am here is because I thought you were writing about the other "uncle Joe", Stalin.

I'd be curious to see how many other AMGers had this first impression, or can I use my reply here as a script to get a room with a view at Dorthea Dix's motel.

Roger Ek
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Joined: 11/18/2002 - 1:01am
I had an Uncle Martin. He and

I had an Uncle Martin. He and his brother Gunnar built and flew an airplane in the 1930s. It had a Henderson motorcycle engine. The Civil Aeronautics Board told him if he didn't quit flying low over the town they would put him in jail. He took the wings off the plane and sold it as a powered ice boat on runners.

He later flew with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific. When he got home he let me cast my first lead bullet in 1946. He bought me my first deer rifle. He was a pilot all his life. At the age of 75 he could no longer get a waiver on his flight physical so he took up skydiving. When he died he was buried on a ridge in Oxford, Maine. I spoke his favorite poem at his funeral.

The pantoscope of a former day
was a cockpit windshield crazed anb grey
from the summer's heat and the winter's cold
and soot from a rust flaked manifold;
but pilots could see that a time would be
when the wing grew strong to lift men free
from the narrow prospect of scenes nearby
till his mind remolded in his eye
and rested no longer in calm content
that his destiny was as his feet were bent
in a labyrinth of ways which always led
back to the days of the past he fled.

And thus as he saw, it has faded away,
that pantoscope of a former day,
and the heavens resound to the passing of man
who travels in sonic caravan
with cheek light pressed to the windowed scene,
the white of the peaks, the prairies green
The God-made whole and the man made bits
where the great hills tower and the village sits
the length and the depth and the breadth in one
vast vista of earth and sky and sun!

And pilots must ponder what they have wrought
in the panorama of human thought.

Not seven league boots but seven league sight
it seems to me is the heart of flight.

Gil Robb Wilson
(as written by the author)

tommclaughlin
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Joined: 10/26/2007 - 5:27am
Thanks Roger. That was nice.

Thanks Roger. That was nice. I have to give a eulogy at Uncle Joe's funeral Saturday. Not sure what I'll say. Some of the things I've written here at least, and other remembrances.

It's daunting to be charged with summing up someone's life, especially someone like Joe Haggerty.

BlueJay
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Joined: 04/18/2005 - 12:01am
What a nice thread this is

What a nice thread this is with nice thoughts of good people. I wasn't sure what it would be about, but the title led me to first think of Joe Kennedy for some reason. LOL. Hardly as upright a person as the men you both have spoken of here.

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