I remember Uncle Mike was always around when I was younger. Uncle Mike wasn’t actually my uncle, not by blood anyway. But Uncle Mike was my parents’ best friend, which meant he was family to us. All throughout my childhood, I can remember Uncle Mike being single. I think he was married and divorced before he met Aunt Kathy, but I’m pretty sure everyone hated her. I can remember one of his favorite songs was “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” by the Spin Doctors and the lyrics were something like “…since the bitch left town.” I think he liked this song because it was his angry divorce song.
Growing up, Andrew and I adored Mike. He was the cool uncle who always played with us whenever he came over. We nicknamed him “Monkey Bars Mike” on account of the fact that we would hang on him and crawl all over him and under his legs. I don’t know how he never got tired of us…I know I would have.
As long as I’ve known him, he’s always had a beard, or at least a goatee. I’m pretty sure that’s his thing. As he’s gotten older, he’s changed, as everyone does as they age, but he still looks like the Uncle Mike I remember from when I was a young girl.
When Uncle Mike met Kathy, he knew she was the one. She brought out the best in him, and she was just so gosh darn funny! What I loved about her is how honest and blunt she was. I was about 13 when Uncle Mike met Kathy. She was the “cool aunt” who told me all the stories from her teenage and college years. She didn’t treat me like a little kid, which I appreciated. When he realized he better hold onto her, they got married. I can remember going to their wedding. I wore a dress my mom made me. I think it was the tan one with white polka dots and the white collar (what was that thing called?) with lace trim. My mom curled my hair and I got to wear a touch of makeup. At the wedding, we danced all night, and I even flirted a little with Aunt Kathy’s younger cousin Mark, who was a little older than me.
A few years after the wedding, Jason came along, and boy was I enamored with him! He was the cutest little kid ever, and I loved to play with and take care of him. When I was in my final year of college, Uncle Mike and Aunt Kathy let me move in with them. I was student teaching in Clear Creek and since they live in Baytown, which was 45 minutes from my school, they let me live there for about 5 months. I loved living with them. Jason would come in early every Saturday morning to wake me up by jumping on my bed, Aunt Kathy gave me a lot of grief for my way too messy room, we went to Shipley’s Donuts on the weekends, and we had dinners together in the yellow kitchen that Kathy hated. I’ll always be grateful for them taking me in.
We lost Aunt Kathy last August to Covid. I still can’t believe she’s not here.