My paternal grandfather, Julius Lund, died at 73 in 1933, sixteen years before I was born and I greatly regret never knowing him, but my paternal grandmother lived on, long enough even to attend my high school graduation in 1967. Grandma was a wonderful lady, full of love, and she even taught me how to say "I love you" in Norwegian.
I was so excited going with my parents to visit Grandma in Everett, Washington. But upstairs in her house we occasionally heard someone walking, and I was told it was Uncle Charlie. At times I overheard mention that he was probably drunk. My older siblings had actually seen him, but I don't remember ever having the experience.
Last week my cousin Pat shared a photo of our family members on Facebook that included all of my siblings a couple years before I was born. Being of the maternal side of my relatives, she wasn't sure who the man on the right was, but I recognized him by old photos as being Uncle Charlie. I then messaged my youngest sister, Linda, and said, "Cousin Pat doesn't know who Uncle Charlie is. How do I explain him?"
Linda replied: "I want to say he was Julius' son from a previous marriage, and he was close to Grandma's age. But I don't think so, because that would make him Dad's half brother, and that would've been easier to remember. It's funny, because while I was looking at that picture, I asked myself the same question." Then she added: "Tell her we'll try to find out for sure. I know he lived upstairs in Grandma's house for awhile. But he also lived up over some stores/shops on Hewitt St. in Everett, too. Somehow she always seemed to try to make sure he was okay. I think he was an alcoholic."
So I emailed my oldest sister, Eunice, and she confirmed it: "Uncle Charlie was Dad's half brother. He was from Julius Lund's first marriage (don't know name of first wife). Charlie was one year younger than his stepmother, Gina [our grandma]. Charlie never married. We (Paul and I or I with a friend) liked to 'visit' him at his poor little apartment because he always gave us a box of chocolates he had won on a punch board at taverns I think. At one time, he brought a lady he was planning to marry to meet the family, when we were living on Rucker before going to Japan, but she had an epileptic seizure and the marriage was off. Uncle Charlie gave us Curly, the little black cocker spaniel."
I loved Curly. He was the first pet I ever had. The oil man ran over him in the alley, and, at about four years of age, I ran down the alley and balled out the oil man for killing my dog.
For the first time, in reading Eunice's response, it hit me that my Dad, Clarence Lund, had a half brother! His full brother, Henry, died when Henry was only three, but suddenly I was ashamed of myself for never knowing Uncle Charlie, even though I was fourteen when he died! To me he had been only mysterious noises upstairs in Grandma's house accompanied by murmurings that he was probably drunk. My Dad was a Methodist minister, against drinking, and so perhaps wasn't all that proud of his half brother and didn't want me to be influenced by him.
I have a familiar old photo of the house Dad was born in at Silvana, Washington. In front of it are his parents, Julius and Gena, and Grandma Gena is holding my Dad as a baby, and off to the right is Uncle Charlie with their horse. I knew I must have more pictures of Uncle Charlie, and so today pulled out the old family albums and found many! I also searched out a bit of genealogy today online, and found that Charlie's full name was John Charles Lund. He was born in Norway on September 5, 1884 and died in Everett, Washington, on October 20, 1963, at age 79.
May you rest in peace, Uncle Charlie. I miss you.
|My Dad (standing) and Charlie (sitting, left) with their dad, Julius Lund|
|Charlie, with father Julius and stepmother Gina|
|Gina and Julius and Charlie|
|Grandpa Julius, my Dad Clarence, and Uncle Charlie|
|Uncle Charlie with girlfriend|
|Recently shared picture that sparked our curiosity. Uncle Charlie is on the far right. I would be born a couple years later.|
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