Friday, May 9, 2008

Uncle Jack, I'll Miss You

My Uncle Jack died yesterday. We are not blood related, but I have very few people closer to me, in my heart than Uncle Jack and Aunt Leonette.

Claudia, his daughter, my heart sister, emailed late last night and I saw the message early this morning. I feel kicked in the head, yet again.

We were neighbors from my earliest memories. We walked to each others houses, crossing another neighbor's property all the time. In those days, it was no big deal.

We spent holidays and weekends with each other.

We helped restore the first boat that Uncle Jack owned. Uncle Jack, a red head, always burnt in the sun, but he didn't care, when we were out on the boat. Fishing, crabbing, clamming, wind in the hair, carefree spending time during the summer, down at the Jersey shore.

Uncle Jack was always like a father to me, especially, when my own father wasn't able to deal with a defiant teenage daughter. They loved me unconditionally and never judged stupid teenage choices.

He and Leonette are known as Pop Pop Jack and Noni to my children. They are grandparents to my children.

They were and are the only parents I have left.

I feel like an orphan, yet again.

Uncle Jack, I love you and I'll miss you.

4 comments:

Krysta said...

Janelle, I'm so sorry and sad. I'll be thinking about you.

Witchy Woman said...

I'm sorry!!!! HUGS

chellewhois said...

Dear Nellie,
I will print this tribute to Uncle Jack and read this at his memorial service. I would like to add that when we first went on that special boat, I was with Dad, Mark, and Uncle Jack (always with the guys and not at the beach with the girls for some reason) on the boat when we had to stop on the shore for me to pee! Dad put his foot through the front of the boat, and I stepped off the boat and cut my foot on a sea shell. Then to top it off, Mark's crab ate the legs off of my crab. Still remember these things as clear as the day it happened. We were at Aunt Ella's house in Barnegat. The mosquitto's were so bad we had to wait for the trucks to come threw spraying the (what ever the chemical in that day to ward them off) before we went outside. I can also still smell the cinnamon buns baked in the morning. The big ol dept. store down the road was as big as the Empire State Building when we had a dollar in our pockets to spend. Remember? Those were the days.
Uncle Jack would come up after church every Sunday for a Bloody Mary with Dad. I would sit outside with Dad as he commented "I love to watch those sinners go to church" No offense intended, but I still have to chuckle when I think of Dad with that never ending sheepish grin (when he is bad).
More to come I'm sure, as I sit outside in my garden bringing my green to life in NH.
I can't not bring back the memory of Scott kicking me in the chin with those brown leather shoes. Scott maybe you can refresh my memory regarding what I may have said or done. I have forgiven you by the way. Uncle Jack would comfort me when Mark teased me and would not allow me to be a part of the "club" membership out in the shed. He had a way of drying up my tears without the whole world knowing that I was probably the most sensitive girl in Milford NJ. God bless him. I was telling my daughter Ashley and my son Peter about my fathers '57 green Chevy, which Aunt Leonette, Uncle Jack, Mom and Dad decked out with cornstalks one Halloween, and went out trick or treating, at least that is what we thought. What a hoot.
I have never felt more embraced, as I have with Jack and Leonette Moninghoff. Even though I am up in NH now for the last 11 years, they will always be a very special part of my life, and are the foundation of my most precious memories. God Bless you Uncle Jack. We will always love you. Michelle Minder Ward

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