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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Uncle Jimmy is 92!

Planning celebrations is what I do as a professional, but it is also what I do for my wonderful family members like my Uncle Jimmy, who turned 92 this month! Jimmy has made some wonderful friends in the Palo Alto area where we live, and last week I invited about 15 of them to our home in Palo Alto for pizza, pasta, puzzles and lots of cake and ice cream!

Uncle Jimmy was born deaf, as a result of his mother having German Measles when she was pregnant with him. In 1918 when he was born, deafness was considered a handicap which required constant care, so Jimmy was not able to go to public school or college and he never married because his family thought he would not be able to support a wife.
As it turns out, Jimmy became an amazing carpenter, took care of his mother the last years of her life in the Boston area. Rather than needing care, Jimmy became the one to take care of others. When both his mother, and my mother died, Jimmy moved out here to California to be with me and my family. We are forever grateful that he did so because he has been a major part of our lives, spearheading 20 years ago the project to totally remodel our 1906 home, playing with my two children from the day they were born and into the present moments....Jimmy always makes us laugh with his slapstick humor and silly faces and comments about everything.

This group of neighbors, community store owners, friends from the Senior Center where Jimmy eats lunch daily, my daughter Kim and husband Jeff, all wished Uncle Jimmy a happy 92nd birthday and helped blow out the candles.

My daughter Kim chose an expensive bottle of well-aged bourbon for Jimmy's birthday gift...here he is making one of his familiar exaggerated grins to let her know how much he will enjoy the warmth of a good glass of whiskey on the cold winter nights ahead!

This photo exemplifies the way my Uncle Jimmy had found love in the community where we live; this hug is coming from the woman who works at the Senior Center, and sees Jimmy every day when he comes in for lunch. They tell me that he always has a smile and a joke for them at the desk. Without hearing a sound for 92 years, Jimmy has learned how to communicate with humor and genuine care for others. I am so proud to be his niece!

This was the gift I gave Jimmy: a framed enlargement of his meeting with the clown and the clown's 1 year old son, at the Zoppe Family Circus, in Redwood City last month.

I wanted to take Jimmy to the circus because so much of a circus is entertainment without words...that is what a deaf person needs! The owner of the Zoppe Italian Family Circus noticed Jimmy's enthusiastic applause and intense involvement with every moment of the performance, and actually came up to Jimmy at the end of the show to give him a high five...again, communicating without words a connection that needed no words.
I wanted Jimmy to have this photo in his tiny house (he still lives on his own, just 5 blocks down the street from me) to remind him of our visit to the circus, and the new friends he made there.

I wonder if I inherited my sense of humor from Jimmy...I would love to think I also inherited his gentle heart and warm spirit. Happy Birthday, Uncle Jimmy!

1 comment:

tiffanycorinne said...

Jean, thanks for sharing this heartwarming and inspirational story of your Uncle Jimmy's life. And it's fun to see your amazing event planning skills applied to a family party :)