Ok, so I have one of these posts partially written talking about how my Dad got me into geeky shit. And well, considering I’m already wrecked over my uncle, I may as well just keep going with this.
This is far more confessional than I usually get here, I think. I mean, it’s possible someone’s going to just find a way to reply to this with a raised eyebrow emoticon at that statement. But anyway…
We left Michigan when I was 10. We returned to the Midwest (Ohio, and oh Lord do not get me started on the “Are Michigan and Ohio ‘East’ or ‘Midwest’ argument. I have had this conversation multiple times, and everyone thinks everyone else is wrong. So fuck it) when I was 16. We were only back for 9 months, but three of those were summer, so I spent a lot of time up in Michigan visiting family. This was just after my Uncle Dennis had moved out again between wives 1 and 2 I think. Yes, he was with wife 2 during that Christmas, so he had just moved in with her.
While up there, I stayed in what was “the Boys’ room.” All three of my uncles had slept there all together, at least until my mom moved out to go to college. It had a single bed, a bunk built into one wall with storage underneath it, there had been a second twin bed in there, too, but that was given to a cousin when I was small, and the head of a ten point buck over the bed.
I have told you about my family before.
That summer, while I was up there, I found a cache of my Uncle Dennis’s SF/F novels, mostly Dragonlance and Piers Anthony. He said he didn’t care if I swiped them because he’d read them and was probably just going to sell them at the used bookstore. Everyone in my family are voracious readers. Dennis read almost as much as I do. So, I snagged them and fell in love the Incarnations of Immortality and Xanth.
Ok, that said, I have realized, after an abortive attempt to reread A Spell for Chameleon as an actual grown up, Anthony has more ‘issues’ than National Geographic, and the books do not bear a reread. I’m absolutely refusing to reread the Incarnations because I desperately loved those books, and would prefer to hang onto my memories. Only recently did I really find out how, um, icky, some of the man’s personal views are. But at the time, I loved the books.
There were other books in there, too, but those were the bulk of what I found.
So, yeah, my uncle Dennis is in no small part responsible for what a gigantic nerd I am.
Because of him, my grandparents’ bookshelves were full of interesting things. I read a biography of Baron von Richtoffen (the Red Baron) around the same time, because of my uncle’s interests. None of the rest of my family are particularly into SF/F, just Dennis and me. This was part of the Black Sheep-ness that set us apart from the rest of the family.
We didn’t have a whole lot else in common, apart from a love of history, and the fact that the rest of the family looked sideways at us a lot, to be honest. But we did share this, and the history. We could talk history for hours. He was a Civil War re-enactor, Union side, and a collector of WWI and WWII memorabilia, but not limited to those two wars. Seriously, his house would make many of you drool, I’m sure.