My Uncle Lou and Me and You…
They tell us, I reference of course, the proverbial “they”. That it is a lie. That its not true and that it is nothing more than the figment of someone’s imagination. I speak of course about the “American Dream”. We are bombarded, lately with “enlightened thinkers” who choose to cast their wisdom upon us. Specifically about how many of our thoughts about this country and the ideas it was formed on are incorrect or a lie. They choose to inform us, or teach us their “enlightened version” of what this country “really was” or what it should be. As a fervent advocate of free speech, I welcome everyone’s opinion on every subject matter including if the “American Dream” exists and what that may mean.
I know the “American Dream ” is real because I have seen it with my own eyes. I am not saying, of course that this dream can only happen in this country. But, what I am stating is that this dream did happen in America. So, the American Dream is possible. We have all heard stories, great ones in fact, of a person’s climb from poverty to greatness. While that is a tremendous example of an American Dream, the dream I am talking about is one much more simple in nature…but one just as grand.
Not too many years ago, my Uncle Lou..a giant of a man who may have stood all of 5 foot 8 inches tall, passed away. He passed away after being married to his wonderful wife, my Aunt Clair for over 50 years. Uncle Lou and his wife, Clair lived the American dream. They lived the stuff of legend…or fiction, unless, of course you live in America, because it all actually happened.
At the outbreak of World War 2, Uncle Lou joined the Navy. Before leaving for training one day, he hopped into a cab to take him to Brooklyn from New York City. When Uncle Lou entered the cab, he noticed that a library book was left on the seat. He opened the book and found the name that the book was checked out to. Once back home, Uncle Lou opened up the phone book and started dialing every name that matched the one that was on the last page of that library book. Eventually, my Aunt Clair picked up the phone, and they spoke for the first time. As happens from time to time, conversations led to a meeting (to return the book, of course) and they started to date. While not dating for a long period of time, Uncle Lou promised my Aunt Clair that he would ask her hand in marriage once he came back from the war. You see, with Uncle Lou, their was no ifs…there was only looking at things with positive determination…he knew he would come back to her…and he did. Uncle Lou, saw action in both Europe (D Day) and the Pacific Theater (Iwo Jima), as a Sea Bee.
After the war, Uncle Lou lived in California and quickly married my sweet Aunt Clair. They had a son, and moved back east to be around their families. Over the next 50 plus years, Uncle Lou and Aunt Clair lived the American Dream, and I was fortunate enough to watch them do it. What is this american dream I speak of…loving your family, working hard every day, knowing you may never get rich in dollars (Uncle Lou never did), but when you accept a pay check from some one you should show pride in your work and do it to your best ability. Uncle Lou would walk or drive with Aunt Clair to church every Sunday, then watch his Yankees (okay, so he wasn’t perfect) on TV and talk baseball into the evening.
Uncle Lou always wore a suit because it was the respectful thing to do. He played cards after dinner, and always, even when I was 7 years old, asked me how I was doing and you could tell…he cared.
During my last year of playing college football, I was fortunate enough to become one of the captains of the football team. Uncle Lou went out of his way to shake my hand and tell me he was proud of me…a World War 2 vet is proud of me for playing a game? It humbled me to the core.
I can go on and on about great things and big tragedies that happened during those 50 plus years they were married, but that is not important now. I leave you with an example from late in his life that to me, proves that he lived the American Dream. You see, I never knew about his service at Iwo Jima or D Day until the last time I saw him alive. It was at a party for a member of our family who was setting off for another tour in Afghanistan and the Middle East. You see, Uncle Lou while proud of his service, never talked about it.. simply put, he served and fought…because you don’t boast about doing the right thing…you just do it.
Uncle Lou and Aunt Clair lived the American Dream…the dream of living and contributing by being the best people they could be.