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My uncle, my dad’s little brother, died sometime this week. I hadn’t had much contact with him for some time, which I regret. He was christened Granville John and though in the family he was known as Granville, he preferred to be called John.
Because he travelled so widely, he was only around from time to time when we were growing up and my knowledge of his life is patchy (and could quite easily be inaccurate). As far as I knew, he was a professional full-time musician, playing tenor sax, primarily, but also clarinet & flute. I believe he started off playing in military bands while in the Army, then theatre (often for shows the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham) and cruise ships. He was also a keen amateur painter. His paintings were hung proudly on Grandma’s walls. I’m sure there was much more to his life than this, perhaps we’ll uncover stuff in the coming weeks. As he was away so much, I don’t think he really moved out of his parents’ home until they died. As a child, I remember many hours being allowed to pore over his insect and stamp collections when we lived just round the corner.
Though my father’s relationship with him was never hugely close, and musically, John was much more of a modernist, I have very happy memories of seeing them play together.
It’s a bit of a shock so soon after losing my last grandparent. John is the first of that generation in my family to go. It’s a reminder of how little time we have here and how suddenly things can change. I’m resisting thinking about death coming in threes.
Nipped into Woolworths in Epsom today. This corner was part of my Saturday morning ritual for quite a while. Every week, the small Davises and I would go to McDonalds for lunch and then into Woolies to spend their pocket money. This corner was the Barbie corner – every week, we’d decide whether R wanted to save her money for something bigger next week, or have another Barbie. Pretty much all of the time it was another Barbie, but it took a lot of thinking and a lot of walking around that corner, looking at everything that was on offer. Now it’s gone.
Worth re-reading the first bit of Cluetrain. The first words (the title of this post) were ringing in my ears while I walked around.
As a bonus, my feed reader had this christmas cracker from Nick Booth. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! (and like all the best posts it’s gotten richer with the range of comments – read ‘em all)