A tribute to my Uncle Tom

I was commenting on a friend’s blog today and I quoted my Uncle Tom. Afterwards I realized that I do that a lot. See, my Uncle Tom doesn’t have a college degree. He didn’t graduated from high school. He achieved his GED years after dropping out to raise a family. But my Uncle Tom is the smartest man I know.

I don’t agree with him on many issues. He’s a republican; I’m a democrat. He’s a conservative; I’m a liberal. He voted for George W. Bush; when the election results came in, I woke up my husband in tears and asked (seriously) if we could move to Canada. He’s Catholic; I’m, well, it’s all explained in this 5 part blog!

You get the idea!

None of that matters. As a child I remember having conversations with my Uncle Tom (he was Uncle Tommy then) about anything and everything. I don’t remember the specifics about those conversations. I do remember that he always treated me with respect and let me know that my opinions were valued.

After my mom passed when I was 16, I moved in with my Aunt JoAnne and Uncle Tom. (Oh, and just because this blog is about my uncle, don’t be mistaken about my aunt – My Aunt JoAnne is as awesome as they come, and I’ll be writing about her soon!) One night my aunt and uncle were invited as VIPs to a club in Center City (they had helped the owner with a new business on our block). They were interviewed on the radio. I sat in the living room with my 3 cousins and my Uncle Tom said, “I want to say hello to my kids: Kristin, Justin, Timmy and Dayle.”

He never singled me out. I was one of his, and the feeling that gave me, I can’t describe.

I danced with my Uncle Tom at my wedding reception. I chose a special song, “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant.

My uncle is one of my daughter’s grandfathers. She calls him Nuno (which I always thought was Italian for grandpop, but after looking it up to verify, realize that that’s wrong – oh well, que sera sera 🙂 ). I hear the conversations that he has with my daughter and it brings me right back to his living room floor all those years ago . . . .

I’d have my coat on. My mom and step-father would be standing by the door. They were ready to go home. No doubt that my aunt and uncle were ready to settle in for the night. But something would possess me to ask a question. That question would spark a conversation. An hour later I’d finally shuffle out of the door with no recollection of how our conversation progressed from where it started to where it ended.

That progression is still one of my favorite mysteries.

Uncle Tom, I want to thank you for the generosity, the love and the honesty that you gave me. ❤


13 responses to this post.

  1. This is an awesome post. But for some reason, everytime I hear the name Tommy, I think of Rugrats. My girls are obsessed with that show lately. Until recently, anyway. Now they are grounded from the TV.


    • Thanks, Shawna!

      I love the Rugrats! And I’m reminded of a story . . . .

      When I taught preschool, one of my kids, Charley, had a little brother, Tommy, in the toddler class. His mom was also expecting another baby, a girl this time. When we asked Charley what he wanted his sister’s name to be, he’d say, “Pickles!” For the life of us, we couldn’t figure where that came from . . . until we heard his brother’s teachers call his brother “Tommy Pickles”!


  2. Aw, this is beautiful. I’m sure he would be so touched to read this! Good job, Dayle. 🙂


    • Thanks Jen! My Uncle Tom is pretty awesome! I texted him this morning for his email address so I can send him the link 🙂 . . . . . He called and left me a message (I was at my daughter’s school concert) telling me that he was accepted into the Deacon (sp?) program. I’m so happy for him 🙂


  3. Posted by Uncle Tommy on May 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Well young lady, what and honor. Hey I love to cry just as much as the next guy! I would like to say, that the only reason you said all those nice thing’s. Is because it’s true! LOL!!! What a gas! Dayle Lynne, I am sure that the words do not exist. To say how I feel about you. I will try. First thank you for sharing this. It means so very much to me. My love for you starts, with my love for your mom. Like you I love her and miss her so very much. The same, yet different. From day one I always thought of you more as my own. What we have is pure holy love. Which I feel is a gift from God. A wonderful and great blessing to both of us. You must admit, that we have always known this. I am so very proud of you. I love you with all of my heart. And always will. I respect you more than you may know. And that’s a short list for me. You make this world a better place. You bring such joy to my heart. Let me end with this. I may not be your dad. But you sure are my daughter. I love you honey. UT


    • My turn to cry ::Smile:: . . . Happy tears, of course! A gift from God, a blessing . . . absolutely!

      I have an image now of my mom up there smiling 🙂

      I love you!


  4. What a beautiful tribute! I can’t even imagine what that would have been like…to lose your mother at that time in your life…:( My heart goes out to you!


  5. […] Aunt JoAnne and Uncle Tom were talking about this post last week. My uncle asked my aunt if she was jealous and she said, “No, mine’s coming!” Well […]


  6. […] and do you remember that blog I wrote about my Uncle Tom and what he said on the radio? Well, my oh-so-awesome cousin taped it when it first aired (I had […]


  7. […] beautiful to me because of the sentiment they express – the love I have for my family. “A tribute to my Uncle Tom” and “A tribute to my Aunt […]


  8. Posted by Anne Katherine on September 18, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    What a gem you have for an uncle. I cried just reading his comment. Oh boy. Why oh why do bad things have to happen to such extraordinary people??


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